Mark Binkley – Graduate Program Member

  1. What attracted you to the horse racing industry?

I believe it was a combination of several things.  First, I was born and raised on a tobacco farm in Tennessee.  We had mules to work the fields and, later on, my father bought me a horse to ride.  Thirty years later when my kids were growing up, I decided to buy both of them (and one for me) horses that we could ride together.  Second, I’ve always been a sports nut.  I use to enjoy playing and now enjoy watching all kinds of sports.  Lastly, horse racing has always fascinated me.  But I have always lived (until now) in places that were a day’s drive from a track.  Watching races on tv simply made the industry seem more distant and impersonable.  Finally, a few years ago my wife and I stopped at Keeneland as we were passing through.  The hospitality there was incredible and we decided to stay in Lexington another day to visit some retirement farms for horses.  Seeing the people caring for those horses and being able to be around some retired race horses provided that personal touch that made me decide to get more involved in the industry.

  1. What aspect of horse racing do you enjoy the most?

There are probably three answers to that question.  First, like most people, watching a horse race knowing that I own part of the horse is an incredible feeling!  Second, it is hard to beat getting to see the horses firsthand.  Thanks to TK, Jacob, and Jesse, my wife and I were able to see several of our horses train at Pimlico and then see Force The Pass (and watch his “peppermint stomp”) one day last year!  Lastly, I enjoy the excitement of the horse auctions and the claiming process, especially with WVS telling us what horse they are looking at so we can follow along in hopes of getting the horse.

  1. Why did you join the Wasabi Ventures Co-Owner Club?

Truthfully, I joined WVS Club because I’m cheap!  Once I made the decision to start making some investments in race horses, I started shopping for what syndicate I thought had the best deal.  Being new to the game, I didn’t want to start off buying 10% of a horse and then having monthly bills.  I liked the model for the race horses that WVS offered.

With that being the reason for initially joining, was I ever shocked and surprised to find out what I was really getting into!  Of all the things I like about WVS, the best is undoubtedly the communication.  Not only being able to communicate with hundreds of like-minded people from across the country, but knowing that I can type a message to TK or Michele and know I will have an answer within minutes!  That is unheard of!  I am so grateful that I choose WVS … where else in one year could I do the following all within one group … buy into numerous race horses and watch more than one win a race, buy into numerous broodmares and see the new foals, buy into a stallion and watch video of him in action, buy into yearlings and watch them grow up and even get to name one, become a part owner (20%) of a yearling, be involved in horse auctions, be involved in horse claims, ride along on TK’s group bets, enjoy playing over/under games, participate in an auction to support horse retirement homes … and even play in a fantasy football league!!!

  1. Who is your favorite horse?

My two favorites were Affirmed and Alydar.  The head-to-head competition of these two great horses was incredible.  It was like a seven game World Series in baseball watching these two square off!

  1. What issues in the industry would you like to see addressed?

This was actually the easiest question to answer … in general terms, the overall care for the horses.  More specifically, the doping of horses to enhance their performance while masking injuries.  This is another reason why I like WVS so much … I am 100% certain that they will base every decision they make on the wellbeing on the horse.

  1. What is the best part about being in the graduate program?

Being new to the graduate program, I’m still learning everything about it.  One thing that I’m looking forward to is actually seeing my company listed as a part-owner and perhaps even having the horse (Wow Factor) wear my silks in a race!