California Chrome took the nation by surprise three years ago when he made a run at the Triple Crown. Winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, Chrome was named American Horse of the Year in 2014 and 2016.
Now the public has the chance to be a part of Chrome’s journey again, but this time it will be his successor. Two unlikely teams have joined forces to invite the public to choose the mare for Chrome.
Chrome retired to the breeding barn back in January. He now stands at the elite Taylor Made Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. Duncan Taylor, President of Taylor Made Farm, and Geoffrey Gray, a New York Times bestseller and the founder of digital magazine True.Ink, partnered together to bring the public this rare opportunity.
Fans can sign up as paying members of The People’s Horse racing club to have the chance to pick between three mares and choose the one who will breed with Chrome.
“What we plan on doing is to treat all of the members just like they’re the owners of those three mares,” said Taylor. “All of these people are going to get the experience just like they are owners.”
“You’ll have a chance to have a say in the breeding, which is really kind of rare,” said Gray. “And then be able to actually see the life of a horse from the beginning to hopefully an incredible racing career.”
The mares are owned by Taylor Made Farm and were picked specifically for this exciting experience.
“All three of these (mares) were purchased within the last two years with the specific reason that we liked something about them to be a mate for California Chrome,” said Taylor.
While all members get to vote on the mare, there are three levels of memberships that range from $100 to $500. There is the Barn Founder, the Barn Boss, and the Barn Champ.
“One of the things that everybody will be invited to is an annual barbecue at the barn where all of the members get together, and we have bourbon tastings and a party,” explained Taylor.
For Barn Champ members, there will be horsemanship clinic offerings and tours of the Keeneland race track in Kentucky.
“One of the things I like about this is attracting new people and having a reason to get involved and start becoming interested in the sport of horse racing,” said Taylor.
This whole idea originated when Gray first got to meet a racehorse.
“You know we really got into horse racing by accident. We were in Saratoga in route to see a friend and we were in the supermarket check-out line and meet a guy who was a gambler,” explained Gray.
Once Gray learned about this gambler’s sick horse and got to know more about horse racing he was instantly hooked.
“Then we meet the horse, and there was no hope,” said Gray. “Once you actually get to meet a horse and feel its aura and then to watch it race, the emotional thrill is so strong and so intense that as a journalist you want to share that with everybody.”
So, Gray set out to find a way to give everyone a chance to have a real emotional tie to a horse. After asking around Taylor’s name was brought up often.
“Duncan has a reputation for being a real innovator in the horse world and as we got to talking over beer cheese in Lexington, Kentucky it was an ideal alignment.”
“He’s looking for new ways to introduce people to horse racing and horses, and we’re looking for new ways to engage the audience and engage readers in a new kind of relationship.”
Together they are bringing the world a foal that will be known as “The People’s Horse.” After the foal is born and checked out, it will hopefully have a career on the racetrack, in which shares of the foal will be offered to a limited number of paying members.
“Equity in a racehorse is really a dream for so many people and we wanted to offer it in a way that was really affordable and in a way that you could feel invested in a racehorse, but not necessarily have to feel like it was a huge financial commitment and also carry the burden of caring for the horse as well,” said Gray.
What better way to offer people their dream than with the racing champion that has proved dreams do still come true.
“Chrome is not a typical racehorse, not the typical champion,” said Gray. “Chrome was the people’s champion when he emerged from very humble origins to achieve the greatest things in racing. I think as a horse he shows that hard work, perseverance and with dedication, you can achieve great things, and that’s really the message of the people’s horse.”