"When you split the costs eight or 10 ways, it's really not that much at all. That's where you can really get an average guy in," Pons said.
Interest in belonging to partnerships has risen since Funny Cide's victory, said Keith Chamblin, senior vice president of marketing and industry relations for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
"There are businesses that put together partnerships, and they have seen a spike," Chamblin said. "I'm sure Smarty Jones will help too."
Water Cannon, a Maryland-based long shot in the Preakness tomorrow, is owned in partnership by three Washington lawyers operating as Nonsequitur Stable. A decade ago, they each contributed $10,000 and have not needed to invest more while the stable has grown from two to 12 horses. Water Cannon won the $100,000 Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico on April 17.
Racing has long been dominated by major players investing millions. Society owners have been joined more recently by British industrialists such as the late Robert Sangster and by Arab royalty such as the late Prince Ahmed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia and Godolphin Racing's Sheik Mohammed al Maktoum of Dubai.
They're still going to dominate, said Paulick, noting that someone like the sheik has spent hundreds of millions trying to win the Derby and isn't likely to give up until he wins.
"It comes down to a game of numbers most of the time," he said. "The more horses you have, the better chances you have."
That's what makes the "little guy" victories so sweet, Pons said.
"It proves good horses can come from anywhere," he said.
If you go
What: The 129th running of the Preakness Stakes
When: Gates open at 8 a.m.; first post time, 10:30 a.m.; Preakness post time, 6:15 p.m.
Where: Pimlico Race Course, 5201 Park Heights Ave.
Getting there: Take a shuttle from Metro or Light Rail stops or a bus from Park & Ride lots (call 1-866-RIDE-MTA). Or drive and park in one of 12 lots with 7,522 spaces.
Tickets: Infield $42; Clubhouse $18 and Grandstand $15 (standing room only).
Information: 410-542-9400 or www.marylandracing.com