Industry Profile: Track Owner Belinda Stronach

Santa Anita eyes April 2 for horse racing fans’ returnBelinda Stronach leaves her mid-town Toronto home by 7 a.m. most days for an hour-long walk. She dresses in black athletic gear for her neighbourhood rambles, occasionally a ball cap, and eschews earbuds and podcasts, preferring to soak in the sounds of a city waking up.

Her route varies, day to day, and is plotted to avoid streets scheduled for garbage pick-up. Should she have time before heading in to work at The Stronach Group (TSG) offices in a spacious Victorian-era house near the Royal Ontario Museum, the family company’s chief executive will grab a cappuccino at a favourite Italian haunt. And if she comes across a historical plaque anywhere along the way, she will stop to read it, local history being an area of personal interest.

Stronach’s home is also in a heritage conservation district, while the house itself was built in 1878. For anyone counting, that’s five years after the inaugural running of the Preakness Stakes, a historic Maryland horse race in a historic sport, one that the 56-year-old Canadian owner of American racetracks is aiming to revitalize before horse racing becomes fodder for the plaques.

Stronach, mind you, is no nostalgist chasing the resurrection of the grand old days. Rather, TSG, branded as 1/ST in thoroughbred racing circles, is chasing new fans, not to mention a fresh generation of bettors, and the core pillars of her approach will be on display, for both racing fans and industry players, in north Baltimore for this weekend’s 147th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course…

More on Stronach, the future of horse racing and the connection to sports betting

 

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with Brisnet.com and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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