Like many New Yorkers, she came to the city from someplace else, aiming to go as far as her talent could take her. She was just starting out, and when she arrived from rural Florida, she moved into a small place in South Ozone Park, Queens, so close to Kennedy Airport she could hear the planes roaring overhead as she ate breakfast.
The Blue-Collar Thoroughbred
Her new home was not a studio apartment, however, but rather a hay-filled stall at the Aqueduct Race Track. This new New Yorker was a 2-year-old thoroughbred racehorse named Karakorum Starlet, a chestnut filly who has an inborn restlessness about her that even now, two years later, is evident to anyone who visits her home in Barn 3 at Aqueduct...
...Although she is far from famous, she has an avid fan base. Whenever she or any of her stablemates in the Karakorum Racing Team breaks from the starting gate, the horse carries not only a jockey but the hopes and passions of three dozen city residents, most from the boroughs outside Manhattan.
These New Yorkers track the careers of Karakorum horses not merely as bettors but as owners. In a once rare but increasingly popular arrangement, each Karakorum horse is owned by a commercial partnership in which up to 200 shares have been sold to people from all walks of life.
For an initial $499 payment and a monthly maintenance fee of $29, Karakorum — the operation takes its name from the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire, which conquered its enemies on horseback — will sell a buyer a one-half percent stake in a racehorse. This low threshold for ownership has made the sport of kings easily accessible to working-class and middle-class horseplayers whose involvement might otherwise be limited to yelling at the television sets in their local OTB parlor.