- Todd Pletcher sent out Chilean Grade 1 winner Isola Piu Bella for her U.S. debut in the non-graded Banshee Breeze Stakes at Gulfstream yesterday, and she was sent off as the even-money favorite by the bettors, including only 5,571 cramped into the temporary on-track facilities on a clear and sunny Sunday, without Blondie or Three Dog Night performing in the now non-existent concert facility. [DRF] Pampered Princess (Indian Charlie) held off uncoupled stablemate Adobe Gold for the win; both are trained by Marty Wolfson.
Pampered Princess was one of two non-graded stakes winners for Indian Charlie yesterday, the other being Lead for Speed, who took a 3 yo stakes at Turf Paradise.
Speaking of Chile, the country is often cited by supporters of President Bush's proposed Social Security privatization, as it switched to private accounts in 1981. The inflation-adjusted returns since then are reported to be a bit over 10%, which would be impressive, except for reasons cited in this column by San Francisco Chronicle columnist David Lazarus.
Peter Diamond, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who studies overseas pension plans, said many of the original goals set for Chile's system have been accomplished.
For example, privatized accounts have helped the country's financial markets develop and have fostered a new regulatory framework.
But Diamond said such changes are not required in the United States. Moreover, he observed that Chile was able to fund its costly transition to private accounts with government surpluses, whereas the Bush administration would be forced to borrow up to $2 trillion.
"The new system has accomplished a lot of things in Chile compared to what's going on in countries comparable to Chile," Diamond said. "Essentially, all of that is irrelevant to the United States." He also pointed out that the relatively high rate of return for Chile's private funds is not a reflection of the merits of the new pension system. Rather, it reflects only that Chile's economy has been unusually robust for the past 20 years.
"It doesn't mean we would have similar returns in this country," Diamond said.
- At Santa Anita, 8-5 favorite McCann's Mojave (Memo[Chile]) finished last as Saint Fleet (Northern Afleet) took the Grade 2 Palos Verdes Handicap. [Bloodhorse] Northern Afleet is also the sire of Kentucky Derby hopeful Afleet Alex.
- As reported in the Thoroughbred Daily News, Todd Pletcher is aiming Cigar Mile winner Lion Tamer for a start in mid to late March; Ashado for the Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn on April 9, and Illinois Derby winner Pollard's Vision is a possibility for the Donn at Gulfstream on Feb 5.