Will new marketing schemes pay off for stud farms?

  • click above & share!
    X
  • click above & share!
    X


  • click above & share!
    X
  • click above & share!
    X

As mare owners browse more than 2,000 Thoroughbred stallions looking for that perfect match, stallion farms have become more creative about how they attract–and keep–their clients’ attention.

Most breeders say a hot young stallion generates enough buzz in his first couple of years at stud to fill his books. By year three or four however, most of the buzzing has moved on to fresh blood, and a lower- to mid-level young horse has difficulty attracting the ladies.

To combat this problem, farms have implemented marketing techniques that get their horses noticed at minimal cost. They have also launched breeding incentive programs to keep mares coming back to their breeding sheds.

Advertising has moved away from the expense of using full-page print ads, and toward direct or lower-cost alternatives. One stallion on a limited marketing budget is Wintergreen Stallion Station’s new sire Bullet Train, who is a three-quarter brother to Frankel.

“At the Keeneland [January] sale, we were handing out envelopes to buyers of mares that nicked well with him,” said Sean Feld, head of marketing and sales for Bullet Train. “We’re trying not to spend an obscene amount of money. What we did at the sale was relatively inexpensive, and generated some buzz.”

WinStar Farm placed a Bodemeister billboard on New Circle Road in Lexington for the entire month of January, spending less than it would have cost to run a full-page print advertisement. The sign was aimed at reaching the attendees of Keeneland’s January Horses of All Ages Sale who would have otherwise seen the information on the page of a trade publication.

Others have upped their participation in social media. Feld launched Twitter and Facebook accounts for Bullet Train, in an attempt to reach the increasing number of breeders using the platforms.

“I want to be more interactive. Bullet Train has fans worldwide,” said Feld. “I probably know about ten breeders that are on [Twitter], and I’m hoping that in the next couple of years, it’ll turn into 1,000 breeders. [Right now] Facebook is more likely to get seasons sold.”

Taylor Made Farm prefers direct marketing, according to stallion nomination manager Travis White. The farm, also known for its sizable sales division, maintains a detailed database with contact information and buying activity for its customers, and sends emails or print materials straight to its target audience.

This month, Darley launched an eBay-style auction called Bid For Glory, (also referred to as “eNeigh”) for seasons in Medaglia d’Oro, Lonhro, and Hard Spun. The auction is open to any breeder with a mare under the age of 18 who has delivered at least one live foal.

Once breeders attract the attention of mare owners, many offer incentive programs to keep stallions’ books full past their first two years at stud.

Spendthrift created the first program designed to stave off this drop in business with Share the Upside. Breeders booking to a new stallion for two years could pay a fee that guaranteed them future lifetime breeding rights. Those rights could be sold by the breeder. Bloodstock agent Tom Clark said the ongoing program has the potential to pay off in a big way, as it has in the case of Into Mischief.

The son of Harlan’s Holiday entered stud in 2009 for a $12,500 fee. After a stellar freshman year in 2012, Into Mischief’s stud fee has increased to $20,000 in 2013. Suddenly, Clark says, program participants are sitting on a profitable lifetime breeding right. While he had been selling Into Mischief for well under his $10,000 fee in 2012, the demand has grown so high that he estimates lifetime breeding rights to be worth around $70,000.

Other farms, including Darby Dan Farm and Taylor Made Farm have launched similar programs for select stallions. This year, breeders to Bullet Train have the chance to purchase lifetime breeding rights, gaining up to seven bookings within the sire’s first four years at stud.

In another move designed to attract mares for unproven young sires, Spendthrift also started its Breed Secure program. Commercial breeders are not required to pay their stud fee until after they make a baseline profit at auction.

“What we’re recognizing there is that somebody, in choosing to breed to an unproven horse, is taking a little bit of risk,” said Spendthrift general manager Ned Toffey. “If the horses aren’t well-received at sale, if they don’t run, the breeder is going to have a foal that’s more limited in marketability because of the timing. Basically what we’re saying is that we’re going to take that risk with you.”

New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry
  • Onthefly

    We took a five year break from breeding so this is the first year we’ve made extensive use of the internet and facebook to research and study stallions.  In fact, we don’t even have a Bloodhorse Stud Book which used to be our “bible.”  Winstar and Three Chimmneys have stallions at the top of our lists – I suspect in large part as photos of their stallions and babies keep popping up on my facebook feed.

  • Onthefly

    We took a five year break from breeding so this is the first year we’ve made extensive use of the internet and facebook to research and study stallions.  In fact, we don’t even have a Bloodhorse Stud Book which used to be our “bible.”  Winstar and Three Chimmneys have stallions at the top of our lists – I suspect in large part as photos of their stallions and babies keep popping up on my facebook feed.

  • Go with NY Breds

    New York Breeding Program has been phenomenal. The son of Giant Causeway, aka Frost Giant is the freshman leading sire in 2012. Some very nice sires have taken advantage of the great NY Breeders program and moved to New York.  Check out the incentives yourself. With the casinos supporting racing, check out the NY purses.

    • Thevoiceoftruth69

      Then read the NYRA task force report on NYRA and rethink…

    • Don Reed

      Nice press release.  This worked in 1991.

  • Go with NY Breds

    New York Breeding Program has been phenomenal. The son of Giant Causeway, aka Frost Giant is the freshman leading sire in 2012. Some very nice sires have taken advantage of the great NY Breeders program and moved to New York.  Check out the incentives yourself. With the casinos supporting racing, check out the NY purses.

  • Joe Scurto

    Excellent article!  How can you have any product and not initiate a marketing plan that extends past the first couple of years.  Social media is a godsend for the breeding business and if deployed strategically can pay huge dividends.  Digital advertising, E-mail marketing, and providing good research are all activities that should be on going. 

    P.S. I see Wintergreen advertises on the Paulick Report which is always a good idea!   

  • FIVE2_THREE

    Well, they have to advertise something, they can’t advertise their race record. running only 6 to 8 times before breaking down is not very attractive

    • Watcher1

      The biggest marketing scam is the use of so-called “nicking” products.  Ever study the methodology behind all this snake oil?  Science–no.  Gimmick–yes. 

      And now that the Blood-Horse (owner of True Nicks) is the only act is town who but Ray Paulick can expose the marketing abuses of this cottage industry?

      • FIVE2_THREE

        Tessio must be rolling over in his grave. the fact that anybody has the gaul to advertise a “system” that allows you to magically mate a stallion and mare and out pops a number or a grade is noting but a sham. the sad part however is that people rely on that stuff.

        • Guest1

          Tessio has been rolling on his grave for a while. He must be also rolling his eyes WTF and TF awarded Frankel the greatest flat horse ever. Basically a miler that skipped the Epsom Derby. The great derby that has no influence on the european breed today.

          • Tinky

            “The great derby that has no influence on the european breed today.”

            Boy, you must be a real student of the game. The best middle-distance (10-12f.) sire in the world over the past dozen years has been Galileo, winner of the very race you disparage above in 2001. He is also the sire of Frankel.

            The next best sire in the world in that category was Monjeu, a winner of both the French and Irish Derby (same distances as the Epsom Derby).

            Aside from the two above-mentioned sires and the brilliant Sadler’s Wells (sire of both of them), the best sire in the world over the past 25 years was Danehill. He was a sprinter/miler, lacking the stamina (shown by Franke)l to win at 10 furlongs. 

          • Guest1

            I suggest you get a clue…those were the words by Timefarce….er I meant Timeform when questioned why  Frankel a non-classic distance horse has been given a 147 at Queen Anne….when that Ascot mile is not even close to the tough course at Epsom where agility and stamina is required.

            So ARGUE WITH THEM….their exact quotes was
            “The Derby does not have the influence anymore on the breed”

            WHy do you think they hype Frankel?

          • Tinky

            For future reference, when you quote someone, it’s usually a good idea to – you know – use quotation marks.

            As to Frankel, he was a transcendently brilliant racehorse, and showed very well that he could overcome serious obstacles in the final start of his career.

          • Guest1

            Frankel is a straight running horse….never shown aGility or can go 12 furlongs….that is fact….he was campaigned to avoid all the prestigious 12 furlongs race in europe….derby. King George Vi and the Arc…those are facts…
            facts that Timeform have verified….
            he is just not a Epsom or Longchamp kind of a horse…..

          • Tinky

            It’s absurd to suggest that he lacks agility. The reason that he didn’t run in those races is because he wasn’t likely to be suited by 12 furlongs, not because he wouldn’t have handled the courses. There is zero evidence that was other than an athletic freak. Oh, and he did race around turns.

            Now, if you want to make the silly argument that a horse must be capable of winning at the highest level at 12 furlongs in order to be assessed as an all-time great, then I would suggest that you study the history of horse racing. It’s laughable to argue that the likes of Brigadier Gerard and Frankel weren’t among the greatest to have ever raced.

          • RHYGOS

            Brigadier Gerard was a relative bust at stud. I suspect Frankel will be as well. I really dont know why it is but it takes a good staying horse to produce good 2-turn runners. 

          • Tinky

            BG had a very modest pedigree, which explains his poor stud record. And there are many examples of top sprinter/milers which became important “two-turn” sires. Danzig and Danehill, to name just two.

          • Mybooandme03

            i guess you forgot about Mr. prospector,who never was a stayer but could Sire stayers.Or even Bold Ruler your remarks lack any truth and are rubbish on your part.    

          • FIVE2_THREE

            A really good staying horse ? have you ever heard of Sadler’s Wells ? track his stud record and see if you still reach that stupid conclusion you came to.

  • FIVE2_THREE

    Well, they have to advertise something, they can’t advertise their race record. running only 6 to 8 times before breaking down is not very attractive

  • LongTimeEconomist

    That Share the Upside program really is a clever idea that I would take advantage of……assuming I was still foolish enough to own and breed mares.

  • LongTimeEconomist

    That Share the Upside program really is a clever idea that I would take advantage of……assuming I was still foolish enough to own and breed mares.

  • Thevoiceoftruth69

    Then read the NYRA task force report on NYRA and rethink…

  • Don Reed

    “Interactive.”

    How innovative.

    How not now.

    How not NEVER.

  • Don Reed

    “Interactive.”

    How innovative.

    How not now.

    How not NEVER.

  • Don Reed

    Nice press release.  This worked in 1991.

  • Watcher1

    The biggest marketing scam is the use of so-called “nicking” products.  Ever study the methodology behind all this snake oil?  Science–no.  Gimmick–yes. 

    And now that the Blood-Horse (owner of True Nicks) is the only act is town who but Ray Paulick can expose the marketing abuses of this cottage industry?

  • FIVE2_THREE

    Tessio must be rolling over in his grave. the fact that anybody has the gaul to advertise a “system” that allows you to magically mate a stallion and mare and out pops a number or a grade is noting but a sham. the sad part however is that people rely on that stuff.

  • Tinky

    Over the next several years, fewer and fewer people will have the discretionary income to breed racehorses. That end of the business is in for some rough sailing, and further deflation.

    Much like the American real estate market, there will be anomalous pockets of relatively strong demand, but overall, breeders better fasten their seat belts.

    Creative marketing is one way to attempt to forestall further drops in revenue, but won’t have a major impact. 

  • Tinky

    Over the next several years, fewer and fewer people will have the discretionary income to breed racehorses. That end of the business is in for some rough sailing, and further deflation.

    Much like the American real estate market, there will be anomalous pockets of relatively strong demand, but overall, breeders better fasten their seat belts.

    Creative marketing is one way to attempt to forestall further drops in revenue, but won’t have a major impact. 

  • Guest1

    Tessio has been rolling on his grave for a while. He must be also rolling his eyes WTF and TF awarded Frankel the greatest flat horse ever. Basically a miler that skipped the Epsom Derby. The great derby that has no influence on the european breed today.

  • Tinky

    “The great derby that has no influence on the european breed today.”

    Boy, you must be a real student of the game. The best middle-distance (10-12f.) sire in the world over the past dozen years has been Galileo, winner of the very race you disparage above in 2001. He is also the sire of Frankel.

    The next best sire in the world in that category was Monjeu, a winner of both the French and Irish Derby (same distances as the Epsom Derby).

    Aside from the two above-mentioned sires and the brilliant Sadler’s Wells (sire of both of them), the best sire in the world over the past 25 years was Danehill. He was a sprinter/miler, lacking the stamina (shown by Franke)l to win at 10 furlongs. 

  • Guest1

    I suggest you get a clue…those were the words by Timefarce….er I meant Timeform when questioned why  Frankel a non-classic distance horse has been given a 147 at Queen Anne….when that Ascot mile is not even close to the tough course at Epsom where agility and stamina is required.

    So ARGUE WITH THEM….their exact quotes was
    “The Derby does not have the influence anymore on the breed”

    WHy do you think they hype Frankel?

  • Tinky

    For future reference, when you quote someone, it’s usually a good idea to – you know – use quotation marks.

    As to Frankel, he was a transcendently brilliant racehorse, and showed very well that he could overcome serious obstacles in the final start of his career.

  • Guest1

    Frankel is a straight running horse….never shown aGility or can go 12 furlongs….that is fact….he was campaigned to avoid all the prestigious 12 furlongs race in europe….derby. King George Vi and the Arc…those are facts…
    facts that Timeform have verified….
    he is just not a Epsom or Longchamp kind of a horse…..

  • Tinky

    It’s absurd to suggest that he lacks agility. The reason that he didn’t run in those races is because he wasn’t likely to be suited by 12 furlongs, not because he wouldn’t have handled the courses. There is zero evidence that was other than an athletic freak. Oh, and he did race around turns.

    Now, if you want to make the silly argument that a horse must be capable of winning at the highest level at 12 furlongs in order to be assessed as an all-time great, then I would suggest that you study the history of horse racing. It’s laughable to argue that the likes of Brigadier Gerard and Frankel weren’t among the greatest to have ever raced.

  • RHYGOS

    Brigadier Gerard was a relative bust at stud. I suspect Frankel will be as well. I really dont know why it is but it takes a good staying horse to produce good 2-turn runners. 

  • Tinky

    BG had a very modest pedigree, which explains his poor stud record. And there are many examples of top sprinter/milers which became important “two-turn” sires. Danzig and Danehill, to name just two.

  • Mybooandme03

    i guess you forgot about Mr. prospector,who never was a stayer but could Sire stayers.Or even Bold Ruler your remarks lack any truth and are rubbish on your part.    

  • FIVE2_THREE

    A really good staying horse ? have you ever heard of Sadler’s Wells ? track his stud record and see if you still reach that stupid conclusion you came to.

  • salthebarber

    Deleted by Sal.

  • salthebarber

    Deleted by Sal.

Twitter