LOWER EAST SIDE — True Ink Magazine is rallying its readers to buy a collective racehorse through a crowdsourcing campaign, and to drum up excitement, the publication is hosting a pop-up speakeasy where supporters can generate ideas around their dream horse.
The True Racing Lounge will take over the Lodge Gallery at 131 Chrystie St. for three weeks starting Tuesday, creating an oasis for interested participants in the magazine’s ambitious project, known as The People’s Horse — a rare opportunity for magazine readers to have hands-on involvement in the ownership and training of a real-life racehorse.
“Our project is not necessarily to win the Kentucky Derby, although that would be great, but to give people the opportunity to be part of a racing stable,” said magazine founder Geoffrey Gray.
Gray on Tuesday will launch the crowdsourcing project, where participants can chip in $100 to get involved in the stable, which will be run similar to a membership club. The money will be used to buy a racehorse who will be trained, maintained, cared for and cheered on — all with the help of the magazine readers.
Once the horse is purchased, readers will be involved in choosing a trainer, and will be able to visit the horse at its home stable in Belmont, Long Island, said Gray.
“It’s a whole, complete, 360-degree experience of getting behind a horse for a very low price point,” he said.
The hay-strewn True Racing Lounge, in the meantime, will be a place for people to gather, discuss the project, and suggest names for the horse. It will be open Tuesday through Sunday from 2 p.m. until 4 a.m.
The idea first came to Gray as he was driving past the empty Saratoga Race Course and it grew from there. As he and his True Ink colleagues developed a friendship with a horse owner and his sick horse, falling deeper in love with the idea of supplying a racehorse to a band of adventurous magazine readers, he realized there was something special about the animals.
“Horses are very addictive animals, not because of the gambling but because they have a calming affect on humans,” said Gray. “We learned that horses have big hearts but a very low heart rate, so their auras make you feel happy. It’s a connection to something that has nothing to do with the modern world.”
The purchasing of the new horse will overlap with the Kentucky Derby, which kicks off in two weeks. Though the People’s Horse will not be in racing shape by that time, Gray hopes to enter the unnamed racer in the nest Derby two years from now.
Learn more about the campaign and how you can get involved at the project's Indigogo page.