BY David Mattia

This fall 2017 Team Allard is totally, unequivocally and literally giving away 5% ownership in one of their yearlings.  Would you care to participate in their contest?   It's a really good deal, and it's free...but we bet you don't believe it, right?  


There's an old joke about a harness racehorse breeder in Kentucky who held a win-a-yearling contest.  First prize was one yearling colt.  Second prize was two yearling colts.  Do you get the joke?  If you do, you'll also get the other old joke about the harness owner who is asked, "How did you make a million dollars buying yearlings?"  The owner responds, "I started out with two million dollars."   


The general idea here, win or lose, is that it costs a whole lot of money to buy, own and train yearlings.  That's not so hard to figure out, right?   Apart from the incredible thrill of fame and fortune and winning one of the greatest races in the game, yearlings can be dead weight for eight months or more, and while watching your baby develop is an awesome thing, each anticipatory pacing or trotting step along the way to fame can leave your stomach in knots.  Sure, if you want to get into the game, you can go out and claim yourself something and expect to start generating income and fun from the get go, but with a claimer, you pretty much know what you're getting.   Claiming horses, the fact that they are racing's tough-as-nails foot soldiers who deserve every ounce of love and praise notwithstanding,  aren't usually the equine athletes that end up in world class events like the Meadowlands Pace or the Hambletonian.  


Yes, it's true that anyone could have claimed a horse named Historic Freight for a mere $52,500 less than one month before he went out and won the 1984 Hambletonian, but what are the odds of that ever happening again?   The prophetic truth is that the only way to strike rock solid gold in harness racing is to buy a yearling and hope that he or she blossoms into a World Champion -- but it costs a lot of money.  Every great horse you can ever think of was once a yearling in which someone invested a lot of time, faith, hope, emotion, and of course, money.  


But, what would you do if someone GAVE you part ownership in an expensive yearling?  Odds are that you, like any sane person, would probably back away slowly and carefully, assuming their offer had to be a trick or a gimmick.  


Webster's Dictionary defines the word "gimmick" as:  A trick or device intended to attract attention, publicity or business.  The word - which originated in the world of magic and illusion - often has a bad connotation because most gimmicks come with strings attached.  There's always a catch, right?  


"Open a bank account and get a free toaster!"  Yeah, but only if you maintain a balance of at least $2,000 for 99 years.  "Sign up with our cable TV company for a free 90 days of HBO!"  But, uh, we'll be needing your credit card number so we can charge you a fortune when you try to cancel.   You folks get the general idea.  Gimmicks are, by their very nature, gimmicky, and, like they say, there's really no such thing as a free lunch.


But what if a gimmick isn't really gimmicky or tricky?  What if a gimmick is 100% legitimate and well-meaning-- is it still a gimmick?   


This fall, Team Allard has decided to break the general rules about gimmicks when they dive head first into the yearling game. The internet might even have to change the nefarious definition of the word now that Rene Allard and his conglomeration of owners and investors have taken the gimmickry out of gimmicks.  Team Allard has re-invented the gimmick and started out on a new adventure -- and they want to take you along with them.


Here's the thing:  This fall, Team Allard will be giving away 5% ownership in one of the yearlings they buy at this year's sales.  That's it.  That's the deal.  No ups.  No extras.  No free toasters or cable packages or customer service calls.  No credit cards, no strings, no bills, no nothing.  Yes, it's true. 


To be eligible you simply go to their website -- and you sign up.  It only takes a few seconds.  Then, after the Harrisburg sale is over and Team Allard has assembled their lineup of shiny, happy, and impeccably bred yearlings for 2017, the lucky winner, chosen at random, will be given 5% ownership in one of them.  It's all 100% free.  With no strings attached, you get to be part owner of a horse who might be the next world champion -- and it costs you nothing -- nada -- zippo.  It's hard to believe, but believe it.  The folks who own the other 95% of the horse will pay the bills while you sit back and enjoy the thrill of ownership in a horse with a handsome pedigree.  Hopefully,  in June, or thereabouts, you'll start getting your purse checks in the mail.  They may be big or small or not at all, but you will at the very least be able to say that you own a racehorse and that you are an integral part of Team Allard.   It's kind of prestigious and exciting when you think about it.  


For years, trainers and breeders have been trying to bring new owners into the harness racing business.  It's not an easy thing to do because there's a lot of risk -- especially with the young ones.  Team Allard has decided that if the mountain won't go to Muhammad, it's time for Muhammad to go to the mountain.  It doesn't matter if the winner is rich or poor.  Every new owner, regardless of their checking account balance,  is a new boot on the ground, and they all know people who know people who know people.  If their yearling turns into a champion -- or at least a reliable racehorse --  one friend will tell another friend and so on.  That's how you generate interest and enthusiasm in harness racing.  Hey, maybe it's a gimmick, but it's a gimmick with a great intention.  It's great for harness racing.  There is really no downside to it.


But wait, there's more!


Team Allard will be giving away a whole lot of other prizes too.  Besides the totally free yearling mega-prize, you might win a set of Tim Tetrick's autographed colors, or any other of the great prizes that will be offered.   You've got to be in it to win it, and you've got to hurry up too.  Although the exact date of the draw has yet to be determined, the Harrisburg sale will be wrapping up before you know it.  Don't miss a chance to cash on Team Allard'sgimmick that's not really a gimmick.  Look for updates on Team Allard's website and don't forget to enter for your chance to get in on the ground floor.  See you in the Winner's Circle.