It is easy for horse racing fans to see themselves in Chelsea Dexter. A love for all things horses and horse racing followed Chelsea throughout her entire life, eventually leading to her starting a business that she hopes will transform the horse racing industry for the better. This is the story of Chelsea and her racehorse and race stable management app The Rundown.
At as early as age six, Chelsea knew that she wanted to work in horse racing. She admired the “pony girls” she saw at Scioto Downs in Columbus, Ohio and dreamed of becoming one of them. Every year she would write letters to the track, asking to work there. She would get the same response each time: “Once you turn eighteen, you can work in the stable. You’ll be the first person we hire.”
Like many who find themselves lured by the racetrack, she could never get away. She began riding at her neighbor’s house by the time she was eight years old, working her way up to compete in Hunter Jumper while developing a strong love for Dressage.
Eventually, Chelsea began to work with Off-Track Thoroughbreds. Her first horse was an OTTB named Quincy, who Chelsea fondly remembers as being a great first horse.
Later on in life, Chelsea moved from Columbus to Seattle where she worked for a technology company and was ultimately promoted to the Los Angeles office. Even 2,000 miles away from her home, Chelsea couldn’t escape horse racing. Her boss owned upwards of eighty racehorses and would often take his employees on company outings to Santa Anita to watch his horses run.
Chelsea was diagnosed with cancer while living in Los Angeles and therefore returned home to Columbus to be cared for by her family. She promised herself then that she would return to school, so she began taking Computer Science classes at Ohio State University. She was also pursuing a minor in Equine Science, so she had the oddity of spending half of her days on computers and the other half training unbroken colts.
Though she eventually switched her major to Agriculture, those computer classes became worth their while after one fateful visit to her doctor’s office. Chelsea had become very close with her doctor during her cancer treatments and the two shared a love of horse racing. At one routine appointment, Chelsea’s doctor was feeling frustrated with the lack of communication from his trainer about a racehorse he had owned.
He was struggling to balance his time between work, family life, and knowing what was happening with all of his racehorses at a single time. He wished that all of his horses were in one place and that it was simpler to know what each of them were doing at any given time. That’s when an idea flashed into Chelsea’s mind – “I think there should be an app for that.”
Thus, The Rundown was born. “I wish it was in a more glamorous situation,” Chelsea laughed. “I guess you can’t really choose where you find your next brilliant idea.”
Chelsea went to a happy hour with friends after her doctor’s appointment, but couldn’t stop thinking about this new app idea. She began taking notes on a bar napkin.
“So if I have a trainer and I have an owner…and okay the owner has these ten horses but then these ten horses are associated with seven different trainers and these horses also have multiple owners…how is there a way to connect all of them onto a single communication platform?,” Chelsea recalls brainstorming.
Chelsea took her app idea to the Best of Student Startups (BOSS) Competition at Ohio State University. Though she didn’t attend the Fischer School of Business, she was still accepted to compete. Mentors and classes there helped her come up with a name for her app, “The Rundown”.
From the name came the logo, the fonts, and the colors. Things were beginning to come together. Though she worked tirelessly on her app idea, she didn’t do too well in the overall BOSS Competition. For a moment she put The Rundown on the backburner, until the support from her college advisor led her to apply for the Rev1 Ventures and become her own intern for her required internship credit.
Rev1 is a startup studio that helps startups scale and corporates innovate. They provide the funding, guidance, connections, and space these startups need to turn their ideas into a business.
Within three days, Chelsea got a phone call from Rev1. They loved her idea and were supportive of her being a woman entering into a male-dominated industry. She began her work on The Rundown once more, continuing to beef up her business. Her dreams and plans finally started coming together.
“When they (Rev1) announced me as Chelsea Dexter, founder of The Rundown, that to me was chilling,” Chelsea explained. “That gave me the rush of none other. I have never been introduced that way to people.”
While doing her market research, Chelsea got a clearer idea of what The Rundown would need. She created organized calendars where vet appointments, training, and race days could be tracked; a message system connected to a horse’s profile that would end the need for confusing group chats; a way for trainers to easily assign (and track) tasks to employees; and a place to upload and organize all of a horse’s medical records.
The app ultimately provides a single platform where nearly every aspect of working with racehorses, from assigning tasks to employees to chatting with owners, can be easily managed.
At the end of Rev1, The Rundown was voted “Crowd Favorite” of all the 28 startups she was competing against.
Owners, trainers, and stables can all make profiles with which they can be found within the app. The cost to utilize this useful app is broken down between Starter and Pro Packs for owners and trainers, with the Starter Pack allowing the app to be used for ten or fewer horses and the Pro Pack allowing users to manage an unlimited number of horses within the app.
Owners can download the Starter Pack for $9.99 a month or the Pro Pack for $24.99 a month. Trainers can use the Starter Pack for $34.99 a month or the Pro Pack for $99.99 a month. All of a trainer’s employees can use the app for free. Stables can also list themselves on The Rundown at no cost.
Like many who find themselves drawn to the racetrack, Chelsea had a dream to make her mark on the industry and to change horse racing for the better. After years of working tirelessly, Chelsea’s dream finally has a chance to come true. The Rundown is now available for download on the App Store and Google Play.
The reason behind the business name it has two meanings that work:
Since we have been a fan of racing for a while, we figured now is our time to do our part for the industry.
The Rundown App is built with the idea of you will be able to input information and/or see the information you wanted to see within a stoplight.
Yes, The Rundown App is a monthly subscription (or yearly for discounted)
The Rundown App has nothing to do with gambling.
The Rundown App will eliminate the hard to follow group texts with horse owners and trainers. As well as eliminate use of multiple apps and websites to get information on your racehorse. It will eliminate the barn white board full of tasks.