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From Coast to Coast

Michael Phelps could be a boost for Racing

Michael Phelps may be through with competitive swimming after this year's Olympic Games, but the most decorated Olympian of all time will not likely be leaving the spot light. Phelps told Yahoo in an interview that he was quite serious about buying a race horse with his longtime coach Bob Bowman. In fact, Phelps has already approached trainer Bob Baffert about possibly conditioning a horse for him and Bowman. 
 
So what would happen if the greatest Olympian ever and the Silver Fox were to team up? Nothing bad, that's for sure. Hall of Famer Bob Baffert is one of the most popular and successful trainers in the sport, but that is nothing compared to the fan base Phelps commands. Should Phelps pursue owning and racing thoroughbreds, he could bring a whole new set of fans to our sport, especially if he is as charasmatic an owner as he is a swimmer.  
 

Yes, horse racing already has a number of high profile owners: weight loss guru Jenny Craig, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, and Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, to name a few. But even though these high profile figures are involved in the industry, they have brought few new fans with them, probably because they have not been overly vocal with their involvement with the sport. Of the three I mentioned, Jenny Craig is probably the most successful and outspoken about her position in the industry, but that could never compare to what Phelps could do for the sport. New fans = renewed interest which could boost horse racing past the image of a dying sport with very little new, young fans. I would say that's a win-win situation. 

 

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Older Comments about Michael Phelps could be a boost for Racing...

Where did Yahoo news get the idea that Bode Miller own Bodemeister?
Melanie, I do not disagree with any of your statements; however, I do think that a lot of people do pay attention to the full connections of a horse. Armada made a very good point, one with which I agree with wholeheartedly. It all comes down to a matter of perspective, though.
I think a lot of famous people have owned horses from time to time. Any interest in the sport, new or old, cannot be bad. I do agree that if Phelps gets in, and comes to watch his horse, it could be a good spark!
Innovative horse trainers are using filtered altitude environments treating horses like Olympians. Michael Phelps employs this 100% legal healthy tactic himself. http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/london-olympics/swimming-legend-michael-phelps-becomes-the-bubble-boy-with-altitude-chamber-bedroom/story-fncv3r68-1226432327008
A famous owner can bring fans in, but Unless he has a top horse, they may not stay.
I think a famous owner can do good things. Fans of Phelps could read about it and may not know much about horse racing. So they look into it because their idol likes it and there is a chance they become fans of it as well.
I saw one last week at Saratoga that Wes Welker was listed as the owner. I believe it was in a maiden race.
Ok I partly take that back, I DO notice when a horse is owned by WinStar Farms, Juddmonte Farms or Darley! Ha. Other than that the last thing I care about is having NBC still obsess about Michael Phelps at horse races!
Speaking for myself, I hardly notice who the owners are until they get interviewed in the winner's circle. The best thing that could happen to horse racing would be to get the TV coverage back on ESPN (better commentary/coverage), and get them to show more horse races on TV other than the big 3 Triple Crown and Breeder's Cup. The trainers/jockeys are the ones who do all the work anyway, just because a famous person decides they want to buy a horse doesn't mean it will amount to a hill of beans when it races.
It would be interesting to see him get involved in our beloved sport. And as a fan of Phelps for many years it's nice to know he shares an interest in horse racing. And he couldn't of picked a better trainer than Baffert. I'll be eagerly awaiting news on if he goes through with it.
A great horse many times makes an owner great. Howard with Seabiscuit, Riddle with MOW, Mosses with Zenyatta etc.
I think fans liked Penny Chenery and still do because she owned Secretariat. I doubt most racing fans even knew who she was before Riva Ridge and Secretariat. After all Meadow Stable was run by her father and he was listed as the owner of all of their great horses before Riva and Red.
Yes, our sport needs a great horse, but an owner that people adore (like Penny Chenery) and can relate to could be just as beneficial. Besides, any boost is a good boost. My husband made a good point when he said that many lifelong fans start as bandwagon fans.
I think it could boost on track attendance if he shows up to watch his horse race. I heard Del Mar got an attendance pop when MTV's Rob Didrek would tweet about going to track to watch his horse (Weemissfrankie) run.
What the sport needs is a great horse, not a famous owner.
It would be quite fitting if Phelps' horse was a mudder.
hopefully it'll do better than Joe Pesci's
His horse should like a wet track. Phelps likes to gamble, as he spent a good bit of time playing poker after the 2008 Olympics. He did well in some Vegas poker tournaments.
Bobbie Flay and Andrew Lloyd Webber are two others who come to mind as celebrity horse owners
I'll bet his horse will be a great "mudder". :-)

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Meet Ashley Tamulonis
  
 

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, and it was her love of reading and horses that led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few short years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and get to personally meet and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

 

Before joining Horse Racing Nation, Ashley created her own blog Wired with Ashley Paige. The idea to venture into the world of blogging came to her when she realized that she had much to say about horse racing and no one to say it to at the time. Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation blogging as The Florida Filly. Using that moniker, she mainly covered racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues, and from time to time offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. A move north to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the new From Coast to Coast blog for HRN, which is simply a revamped version of The Florida Filly. Don't let the new look and name change fool you, though. Ashley still brings to the table the same great coverage as From Coast to Coast as she did for The Florida Filly. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

 

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband Chris and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.