Keeping track: Horse-management app, The Rundown, projected to attract big business

Cynthia Bent Findlay
For Columbus CEO
Chelsea Dexter, founder and CEO, The Rundown

Need to know how your racehorse did in its last training session? Now there’s an app for that. And that app could represent some big business.

The Rundown is the brainchild of Chelsea Dexter, a seventh-generation Indiana farmer who grew up in Upper Arlington with a love of horses.

Dexter says her parents indulged her passion when she was only six by taking her to Scioto Downs, and she instantly fell in love with the track.

“I wrote to the track manager to ask for a job at age six, and every year after that,” Dexter laughs.

Dexter’s life didn’t work out that way. She did take riding lessons throughout her youth, did a stint at Ohio State after high school, didn’t feel a fit and moved to Seattle and began working in high-tech sales.

But a life-changing bout with cancer in her 20s sent her back to Columbus for treatment. She discovered a connection with her oncologist—he owned racehorses. The two of them hit it off and shared long conversations about track life.

Racehorses are typically owned by anywhere from one to 30 or more investors—but most never touch the horse. Trainers manage the horse’s day-to-day care and career, but in a typical week a single horse may require the care of dozens of people, all who require appointments and a paycheck. Trainers manage those connections and bill owners, and owners hope the horses win purses and can pay off all those bills.

Dexter and her physician talked about how keeping up can be frustrating for owners, who often get addicted to the sport and own shares of multiple horses.

“Once, he said he found out one of his horses actually died and it took him three weeks to find out about it. His schedule just didn’t work out with his trainers, and they couldn’t get in touch with each other,” Dexter says. “We both said, ‘There should be an app for that!’ And then we decided—let’s do this!”

Dexter’s physician became her first investor. Dexter got to work brainstorming and sat down with local consultancy Big Kitty Labs. The result: The Rundown. The app allows trainers to communicate about each horse’s career to everyone who needs to know in their network. Trainers can report training times, horse health stats, jockey fees, and so on.

More: Big Kitty Labs' novel approach to developing software

The Rundown launched May 5, 2020. It charges trainers and owners a monthly fee for use, plus Dexter keeps a small percentage of bills paid through the app. It’s growing fast, too—she says she’d estimate the Rundown is already used by something like 30 percent of the thoroughbred racing industry. As the platform grows, she is projecting a $750,000 raise in the next year.

Cynthia Bent Findlay is a freelance writer.

The Rundown

Business: Racehorse stable management app

CEO and founder: Chelsea Dexter

Employees: 1

Investment to date: Private angel investment