Born and raised in Chicago, Bob Donati grew up attending Arlington Park with his father and family. Being up close and personal with racehorses—and, of course, winning the occasional $2 bet—gave him the racing bug—a bug that has never gone away.
Bob’s wife, Elyse, has joined him in his passion for Thoroughbred racing and the couple ventured into ownership with a local Chicago partnership. When the opportunity to become a part of the WinStar Stablemates Racing syndicate arose, the Donatis jumped at the chance.
“My wife and I found this to be a unique opportunity to be involved with a world class Thoroughbred organization and fillies with high class pedigrees at a very affordable price point,” Bob said. “This was a partnership unlike any other we had seen before and it gave us a chance to add to our own partnership portfolio.”
In December 2020, the couple relocated to Lexington, Kentucky: the Horse Capital of the World. Surrounded by horse farms and just a quick drive away from Keeneland, the Donatis are enveloped in the sport that has become their passion. And their involvement in Stablemates has only added to that, particularly with special performances from the syndicate’s fillies.
For Bob, the moment that has stood out to him since joining Stablemates is one that many members pinpoint as their most memorable as well:
“It would have to be screaming at the TV as Paris Lights and Crystal Ball battled head to head down the Saratoga stretch to finish 1-2 in the CCA Oaks. It took a few days to come down from cloud 9 after that one.”
That stretch battle between two of the syndicate’s fillies was a prime example of what has made Bob fall so head over heels in love with the sport of racing.
“I love the purity of competition exhibited by the horses and the heart-pounding excitement of a good stretch duel,” Bob said. “The second [reason I love racing] would be the majority of people involved in the sport, as they are really the salt of the earth.”