B. Wayne Hughes is in many ways the stereotypical race horse owner. A billionaire, having made his money in real estate, he owns Spendthrift Farm, which recently saw Authentic, a horse in which it owns a majority stake, win the Kentucky Derby.
But Hughes, who purchased Spendthrift in 2004, has been working to open race horse ownership to anyone, selling part of his stake in Authentic to MyRaceHorse, an online company that allows anyone to purchase micro-ownership in a race horse.
The move received praise from some of Authentic’s other connections, including trainer Bob Baffert.
“He has so much passion for the horse business,” Baffert said in a news conference after the Derby. “What he does, and letting MyRaceHorse come in and everybody buying shares.”
MyRaceHorse owns a 12.5% stake in Authentic. The company’s founder, Michael Behrens, said that when he explained the concept to Hughes, he was immediately receptive.
“He told me, ‘The reason I do this is because the sport is better than the NFL. We just got to let people know.’ ” Behrens said of Hughes. “So he wanted everybody to compete at the highest level. He wanted to do it in a way that had never been done before.”
According to the MyRaceHorse website, the company is sold out of shares in all of the horses it owns — about 50, according to Behrens. The 12,500 shares of Authentic went for $206.
Those who got involved with MyRaceHorse included prominent celebrities, according to Behrens and Baffert.
“I have family members, Jill [Baffert], everybody,” Baffert said. “We've got [Olympic skier] Bode Miller, he was checking in before, "How is our horse looking?' Walker Buehler from the Dodgers, ‘Hey, how we looking?’ ‘If they give us the lead, it's adios.’ So that's what happened.”
Eric Gustavson, president of Spendthrift, said Hughes was the driving force behind getting MyRaceHorse involved with Authentic.
“Wayne really took to the idea of being able to bring horse ownership to every man,” Gustavson said. “literally every man and woman, any economic stratus, race, anything. There's no limit because anyone, literally anyone, can buy in, and he loved that idea.”
Behrens said many of MyRaceHorse’s other horses are owned in conjunction with Spendthrift, including Thousand Words, who was scratched just before the Derby after rearing up and falling in the paddock.
Although none of Authentic's connections had been able to get into contact with Hughes at the time of the post-Kentucky Derby press conference, they were sure he was thrilled that one of the horses he had a stake in and helped to democratize had won the sport’s biggest race.
“He deserves to win this race," Baffert said. “I feel prouder — to me, I feel, like, prouder to win it for him, that he can say he won the Kentucky Derby now. Especially when you live in Kentucky. That is serious bragging rights.”