It's an interesting move as it allows both sides to hedge their bets. For Martin and Taylor Made, it provides some ready cash now and will soften the blow if the horse flops as a sire. It also guarantees that Chrome will get good early mare support, as a condition of the shares' sale was that each purchaser pledge to send the new stallion two or his or her best mares. Even if Martin and Taylor Made allow the remainder of the horse's book to be filled by mare owners buying individual seasons from them, Chrome should have enough quality in his harem to give him a fair chance to make it as a sire, especially if demand is strong enough that they can pick and choose among his potential mates.
For the new shareholders, the timing of the deal offers a chance to get some of their money back before Chrome ever sets a hoof in the breeding shed. Chrome's projected dance card includes the US$10 million Dubai World Cup and the US$5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, and if he can win both, the shareholders will recoup about $145,000 each less expenses.
Taylor Made is no stranger to marketing stallions, and between this initiative, the new silks the horse is sporting and the new California Chrome website (www.TheChampIsBack.com), it looks as though they are doing everything possible to keep Chrome in the public eye and promote him as a potential stallion. It's a gamble---new stallions always are---but if Chrome comes through on the racing front in 2016 with another championship season, it's a gamble that everyone involved will win.