Mike Repole, a 47-year-old native of Queens, N.Y., began betting races at Aqueduct and Belmont Park. “I’ve been coming to the track, mostly Aqueduct, since I was 13 years old,” he said. “I’d find the nearest old man, give him $2 to bet on a horse for me.”
Repole graduated from St. John’s University with a degree in sports management. His incredible business success has allowed him to become one of the leading Thoroughbred owners in the country. In 2009, St. John’s presented him with the President’s Medal, and two years later, Repole received an honorary Doctor of Commercial Science Degree.
Repole was the co-founder and president of Glaceau, the maker of Vitaminwater and Smartwater, which he sold to Coca-Cola for $4.1 billion in 2007. He returned to the beverage business when he teamed up with Lance Collins—the founder of Fuze Beverage and NOS Energy Drink—to start BodyArmor SuperDrink, and he is currently a majority shareholder in the healthy fast-food chain Energy Kitchen.
He bought his first Thoroughbred, Da Rodeo Man, for $22,000 in 2002. A life-long New York Mets fan, he used the team’s orange and blue colors to fashion his silks. In 2008, he purchased 27 horses at auctions as well as more than 70 claimers. “It’s no secret I want to be leading owner in New York,” he said. “To me, one win in New York is worth three anywhere else.”
In 2009, Digger gave him his first New York stakes winner that year when he captured the Gravesend. Uncle Mo, who capped an undefeated two-year-old season in 2010 with Grade I victories in the Champagne and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, became Repole’s first champion when he was named that year’s Champion Two-Year-Old.
Repole has especially enjoyed the success of horses he’s named for his family, including Stopshoppingmaria and Stopchargingmaria for his wife.