By Mari Ballinger
It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Canterbury Park with a crowd of 19,000 fans, basset hound races, and families celebrating Father’s Day. And just when the day couldn’t get any better, gelding Factory Made won by eight lengths in a five and one half furlong maiden claiming race.
Factory Made is owned by Run TMC Stables, consisting of Todd McDonnel, Matt Ouska and Chris Frederick. The three men have known each other for 20 years and each has their own unique story as to how they became interested in the racing industry.
Todd McDonnel, who puts the T in TMC, originally lived in California. He would make frequent trips to Bay Meadows to watch horse races, where ironically Canterbury’s very own Paul Allen was announcing at the time.
Matt Ouska, who puts the M in the stable name, wishes he had an elaborate story about a childhood revolving around the racetrack, but his love of horse racing developed on its own- it’s as simple as that. When Ouska was young, he had a subscription to Sports Illustrated that sparked interest in all sports. At 21, Ouska picked up a bartending job at Canterbury where he could conveniently see the track from the beer keg.
Last but not least, Chris Frederick, who does indeed put the C in TMC. From small-town Arkansas with no previous background in the industry, he now has a cultivated interest. McDonnel and Ouska would make annual trips down south where the three friends would attend the Arkansas Derby. Frederick’s brother now works in the finance department at Oaklawn Park, home of that race, in Hot Springs Arkansas.
After spending time at the track, they began to dream of what owning a horse would be. Ouska started researching the process and with a push from McDonnel and Frederick, they reached out to Bernell Rhone in 2012 to get things moving along. With no luck on securing a horse that season, Run TMC Stables connected with trainer Valerie Lund in 2014. In July 2014, they claimed their first horse, Paradise Rock, for $10,000.
In 2015, the group added two more horses to their stable, Dun Dancin and Plenty of Sun. Both are Minnesota bred horses, from breeder Ron Thompson, that Lund said was a “heck of an opportunity”.
Three-year-old Factory Made is the latest addition to Run TMC Stables, bringing in their fifth win as a stable this past weekend. “Owning a horse is such a special experience,” said Matt Ouska. “I love how hard the horses work during races, it is so exhilarating to watch. But, I think my favorite thing about having horses is sharing that experience with my three kids.”
Today, Run TMC Stables has only Factory Made racing but they love Minnesota bred horses and have plans to open up their budget and have some fun next summer.