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Horse Racing’s Loudest Critic Is Favored in Its Biggest Race

In the world according to Mike Repole, everyone involved in horse racing is a dummy. Except him, Mike from Queens or the Commish, as some of his followers on X call him.

Stuart S. Janney III, chairman of the nonprofit Jockey Club, is clueless and tone deaf and has run the sport into the ground, Repole says. Churchill Downs Inc., which hosts the Kentucky Derby, is cheap: The $3 million purse for America’s most famous race should be much more, and the racetrack treats Repole and other owners badly.

Forget about John Stewart, a new owner bringing fresh energy and big money into the game. He is “arrogant, free spending” and such a rube that he has an “$8 haircut.”

All the above, and many others, are among Repole’s frequent targets on social media and various podcasts. Repole, a prominent horse owner who made his fortune in the beverage industry, says he is merely trying to disrupt an industry (often punctuated with profane Bronx cheers) that he likens to the Titanic heading inevitably into a looming iceberg.

“You want real or you want fake??? You want loud or you want quiet??? You want intensity or you want passive??? You want better or you want worse??? Love me or Hate me,” Repole posted on X in January, summarizing his credo for remaking the racehorse business.

Repole, right, with Fierceness last week. In seven starts, Repole-owned horses have yet to win a Derby. Two more were late scratches. Credit…Matt Stone/The Courier Journal — USA Today Network

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