Fallout from the Medina Spirit doping dispute has brought additional attention, if not positive, to the messiness of the physical horse racing industry ahead of Saturday’s 146th Preakness Stakes. Meanwhile, the Preakness is taking its first trots into the world of blockchain racing, partnering with Zed Run on an NFT drop this week.
Seventeen one-of-one NFTs will be sold—14 of which are video clips of historic races, while three others are digital objects that come with VIP physical prizes and experiences. Saturday’s race will be minted as one of the NFTs. Each will come with the rights to a Z10 Zed Run horse, which currently often sell for $500 to $800 on OpenSea, the peer-to-peer cryptocurrency marketplace. The horses will also have a Preakness-branded skin. Virtually Human Studio, the makers of Zed Run, will get a portion of proceeds from the auctions, which run through Sunday and Monday evening.
“What’s blown my mind quite honestly is the rapid pace of adoption you’ve seen on Zed Run,” Pimlico and Laurel CMO David Wilson said. “They’re doing very well at what we’re striving to do, which is to attract a younger audience.” One recent study found that the average horse racing fan in 2016 was 63 years old, older than the average fan of every other measured sport except golf.
The Preakness brought in Medium Rare—who previously developed NFT products for Rob Gronkowski and the Golden State Warriors—to help create the collection. Artist Black Madre also created an open edition NFT depicting Justify and jockey Mike Smith that will go on sale for 24 hours starting Sunday.
“When we did Gronk it was bootleg,” Medium Rare co-founder Adam Richman said, an early foray into the space without NFL marks. This time, the company had all of the Preakness’ assets at its disposal. The videos share some similarities with moments sold by NBA Top Shot, which has expressed an interest in selling historical plays as part of its future offerings.
For the Preakness, more Zed Run integration could be coming.
“This is a bit of a litmus test,” Wilson said. “To be quite clear, my hope is that this is the first of many forays into working with Zed Run.”