What He's Doing:
What's better than plunking down $2 on a sure bet at the track? Owning the horse. At least that's how celeb chef and thoroughbred-racing fanatic Bobby Flay sees it. The star keeps several horses in his Lexington, Ky., stable and can boast of a few big victories. But Flay, who has reportedly spent upwards of $600,000 for a horse, says he's not rolling in the dough just yet. Instead, he's focusing on breeding, hoping to profit from his horses' potential to produce would-be Secretariats. "I expect returns very soon," says Flay.
How He Does It:
Flay has been sizing up horses at auctions and says he tries to stick to a set strategy: buying fillies with a solid bloodline. But when it comes to bidding, a lot depends on luck, especially since, Flay says, he doesn't have the money to compete with the billionaires in the business. "I'm hoping that the guy who is really going to be my competition gets a sandwich" when it's the time to bid, he says.
Keep in Mind:
Flay may sound like he's on solid ground (er, turf), and his racing partner, veteran horseman Barry Weisbord, says Flay could sell his stable "at a somewhat significant profit" if he wanted to liquidate today. But even Flay admits that horse ownership is a pricey game that few can win at, since annual expenses food, stable fees, training can easily top $40,000 per animal. (And that doesn't include stud fees, which can be in the tens of thousands of dollars.) Chris Wittstruck, an attorney who works in the racing industry, frames the expense issue more bluntly: "It's a never-ending sieve," he says. But Flay says there are reasons beyond the financial for staying in the race: "I love going to the barns in the morning."