In the fall of 2016, a conversation with friend Samantha Bussanich at Keeneland began the initial spark of what would become Nexus Racing Club. We had the common goal: bring young people closer to the sport. With help from Sophie Shore, we spent several months developing this idea. Two years later, we have grown into the only racing club for the younger generation that offers a connection to the sport through ownership experiences. With more than 50 members coast to coast, as well as Canada, Nexus Racing Club has offered race day experiences and behind-the-scenes access that has previously not been accessible to many young fans. In this manner, Nexus has the vision to help grow the sport to the next generation of horse racing enthusiasts, whether they may be future owners, industry leaders, handicappers, or casual fans. Below, meet a few of our members and learn about the experiences they have had through Nexus Racing Club. –co-founder Dare Sutton
Name: Michael Domabyl
Location: Richmond, Va.
Why I Joined Nexus: The first time I heard about Nexus I knew I was going to join. I couldn’t wait to try to gain a network of young people who are fans of the sport and have connections to the industry.
What It Feels Like On Race Day: I attended one of our horses’ races at Churchill Downs on Breeders' Cup weekend and it was one of the coolest experiences I’ve been a part of in racing. Being able to walk up to will call and get box seats for the event, go into the paddock and talk with the trainer and jockey of your horse, cheering the horse on with other club members, and talking post-race with the connections about the future race plans are all priceless experiences.
What People My Age Enjoy About the Racing Experience: Personally, I enjoy the sport for the handicapping side as I believe horse racing is the most exciting gambling game in the world. For the younger generation as a whole, I think it’s all about the social experience and atmosphere. That’s why I think you see the demographical shift on days like opening Day at Del Mar and at the Kentucky Derby. Making the atmosphere friendly to beginners and having them mentored throughout the day by a friend who knows what is going on provides an opportunity to create a new racing fan.
My Favorite Part About Ownership: Racing ownership as an investment is not in my financial scope at the moment, but Nexus has been able to provide me with a risk-free introduction to the feeling of horse ownership and has allowed me to connect with other young people in the industry as well as meet our fabulous trainers and interact with our horses.
Why I’d Encourage Others To Join Nexus: If you are a young fan of horse racing, there is no reason not to join Nexus! For less than the cost of a year’s Netflix subscription, you can be a part of a stable of horses with established owners and trainers and network with countless industry professionals. The race day experience is exhilarating and the founders of the club do a good job of allowing you access to scenes you would never be able to be a part of as a casual fan.
Name: Emma Peterson
Why I Joined Nexus: In July, I was approached by Hannah Mathiesen from the @nexusracingclubtb Instagram page. She informed me about Nexus and instantly, it grasped my interest. What drew me in the most was being a part of the racehorse’s career, discussing with other horse racing enthusiasts, and making new connections.
What It Feels Like on Race Day: There aren’t words to describe what race day is like. It’s a flood of emotions from stoked to anxious, from worry to exhilaration.
What People My Age Enjoy About the Racing Experience: People my age enjoy following racehorses’ careers from start to finish and supporting them through and through.
My Favorite Part About Ownership: My favorite part about ownership is watching the horse’s progress. It’s a beautiful experience and being involved is such a blessing.
Why I'd Encourage Others to Join Nexus: I’d encourage others to join Nexus because of the people and the experience. It’s incredible, and in the few months I’ve been involved, it’s granted me amazing opportunities.
Name: Macy Rowan
Location: from Valdosta, Ga., and currently going to school at the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga.
Why I Joined Nexus: I was looking for a fun way to get more involved in the sport, and Nexus was perfect for me! I wanted to experience another aspect of racing besides just being a casual fan. Nexus also gives me a chance to be an advocate for horse racing in my home state of Georgia!
What It Feels Like on Race Day: As a member, I haven’t been able to attend any of our race day events yet, but it is still exciting to watch from my computer. There is already so much anticipation on any race day, but to have partial ownership in a horse running makes it so much more exciting! Race day is great for Nexus members, because we are so diverse in our locations. No matter where a horse of ours runs, there is bound to be a member there!
What People My Age Enjoy About the Racing Experience: For my generation, racing has become such a social experience. You can go to the track on the busiest of days to join in on the festivities or you can go on the simplest of days just to spectate. Unlike football or basketball season, horse racing lasts all year long. There is always something going on, so it’s fun to keep up with!
My Favorite Part About Ownership: My favorite part about ownership is getting to see all the work that goes on behind the scenes. It makes you appreciate each individual who works in the sport even more, no matter whether his or her job is considered big or small. As members, we are constantly updated on our horses’ condition, works, and race possibilities. The owners who have partnered with Nexus put in so much effort, and getting to tag along for the experience as a member is inspiring. We are so grateful for our partners!
Why I'd Encourage Others to Join Nexus: The small cost you have to pay to be a member pales in comparison to the overall experience and benefits. You don’t have to pay thousands of dollars to get plugged into the sport! I’ve met so many people through Nexus, and people are recognizing the good our organization is doing for the sport every day by giving our generation a way to get involved. Nexus is constantly offering both professional networking opportunities and social opportunities for all members to enjoy. People should join, because this is only the beginning of Nexus Racing Club!
Name: Garrett Martin
Location: Louisville, Ky.
Why I Joined Nexus: Because of my growing interest in the sport along with my blossoming relationship with co-founder, Dare Sutton.
What It Feels Like on Race Day: Race day is my sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The company of my closest friends and family is what makes it special – whether it be Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs or a hot summer day at Ellis Park, like all things in life it’s about the people.
What People My Age Enjoy About the Racing Experience: The pageantry of a day at the races. The paddock, post parade, the thrill of a race coming down to the wire. And of course the characters from all walks of life that find their way to the track.
My Favorite Part About Ownership: Going in the paddock followed by watching the race on the rail.
Why I'd Encourage Others to Join Nexus: The reality of horse ownership is the endless money out there that accompanies these amazing animals. Joining Nexus is only $100, so you will not find a more affordable ownership experience across the globe. You’ll have the opportunity to “stand on the sidelines” at the most prestigious racetracks in the country from Saratoga to Del Mar and any major track in between. Having this type of access in any other sport is unheard of.
Name: Cheyenne Zoechling
Location: Encinitas, Calif.
Why I Joined Nexus: I have worked around horses my whole life, and going to school at the University of Kentucky introduced my love for the Thoroughbred industry. My high school friend Hannah Mathiesen told me about it and I became interested immediately – I really like that this was a group centered toward young people interested in racing because we have the same questions and the same desire to see our horses thrive. I like that we receive weekly updates and events that allow us to grow our knowledge of what it means to be an owner and take part in this incredible industry.
What It Feels Like on Race Day: It's definitely a nervous feeling! It's like your child – you've watched it grow to be successful and you want to see that on the track when it comes race day. You want to see your kid put forth its best effort out there and you're excited for the opportunity to even be there and take part in the whole experience.
What People My Age Enjoy About the Racing Experience: I think what people my age enjoy most from the racing experience is the ability to make connections with people and learn from one another about what makes this industry so remarkable. It’s fun to be able to join together at events and watch what we have been putting our efforts into thrive and flourish.
My Favorite Part About Ownership: My favorite part about ownership is being able to have that ability to meet the trainers as well as to personally be able to cheer on a horse that belongs to us. It's so thrilling to be a team member that helps make contributions toward what you finally see on the track and be able to say "I helped create that team!"
Why I'd Encourage Others to Join Nexus: I'd encourage anyone to join Nexus! This is a completely different and innovative approach to ownership and it is especially welcoming to those who may have never had a background or any previous knowledge of the racing industry. Our members are truly dedicated to helping us grow as an ownership community and their goal is for us to become passionate advocates for not only our horses, but the industry as a whole.