Life does not get much better than it is now for Brian Doxtator and Chase Chamberlin, co-founders of Commonwealth Thoroughbreds.
They had the savvy and good fortune to sell microshares in Mage after they took a 25 percent stake in the Good Magic colt as an unraced 2-year-old. Then they watched him blossom into a Kentucky Derby winner.
“It’s just a dream, baby!” Doxtator all but shouted into the phone during an interview.
Strategic partner Preston Troutt said of 15-1 Mage’s triumph in only his fourth career start and its potential impact on Commonwealth and the microshare movement: “It’s as big as it can get.”
Only time will tell how much of a boon this will be to Commonwealth’s business. Early indications are encouraging to them. According to Doxtator, about 10,000 people have expressed interest by creating accounts since Mage rallied from far back to provide an emotional victory for trainer Gustavo Delgado and jockey Javier Castellano, both of Venezuelan descent. He said current partners are expressing interest in investing in additional horses.
“I think absolutely this is a massive breakthrough. I think this is a huge moment on the microshare side,” said Troutt. His father, Kenny, owns WinStar Farm. The world-renowned breeding operation played a key role in the early stages of Commonwealth’s development as an initial partner in the spring of 2021.
Mage is not the first good horse to run, in part, on behalf of Commonwealth, which also is known as CMNWLTH, as listed with The Jockey Club. Those who took shares in Country Grammer, the winner of the 2022 Dubai World Cup (G1) who has twice run second in the Saudi Cup (G1), already have gotten back about 10 times what they put in. Country Grammer has amassed $14,897,320 in earnings. They previously offered shares in We the People, who finished fourth in the 2022 Belmont Stakes as a beaten favorite.
There is nothing like the Derby, though, to command the public’s attention. And it was fortuitous that Commonwealth held 30 watch parties across the country that drew about 1,000 fans. Beyond that, there could not have been a stronger advertisement than the beaming Commonwealth investors in the crowded winner’s circle. Three hundred and ninety-one people bought shares, with $50 as the minimum. About 90 of them attended the Derby and left with an unforgettable experience.
“We can’t always roll out the red carpet, but often we can,” Doxtator said. “We had $50 shareholders in the winner’s circle at the Kentucky Derby.”
He sees Commonwealth as taking the next step after a strong move toward racing partnerships, which are now the norm. Mage, for instance, has four equal partners. Commonwealth was the last to join the Delgados' OGMA Investments, bloodstock agent Ramiro Restrepo and Sam Herzberg’s Sterling Racing. Restrepo hurried to line up partners after he and Gustavo Delgado Jr. far exceeded their budget by purchasing Mage for $290,000 at Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale.
“Microshare and fractionalization, it’s just the evolution of partnerships,” Doxtator said. “We still have our big heavy-hitter investors who want to come in at what looks like a regular traditional syndicate level. We just also add another 200-plus people at lower levels. It gives us this incredible reach.”
Mage is among 17 horses running, in part, under the Commonwealth banner. It is particularly encouraging for racing, desperate to alter its too-gray demographic, that the average age of the Commonwealth investor is 36. Many of those invited to Derby watch parties had little or no knowledge of Thoroughbred racing.
“We are one of many new actors who are trying to bring a new wave of fans, help people engage in a new way,” Doxtator said. “We can open up this sport to a lot more people.”
If Commonwealth, MyRacehorse and similar entities flourish, Mage’s Derby score might be the seminal moment.