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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Derby Notes - April 30

- Joe Drape reported in the NY Times on Sunday that Nobiz Like Shobiz' owner Elizabeth Valando turned down an offer of $17 million from you-know-who after he won his first race; I don't recall seeing that figure reported before. In addition, Ms. Valando has refused to insure Nobiz because she does not want to profit from any injury. I don't think anyone would think any less of her for having coverage on the horse, but you certainly have to respect her for that as well as for turning down the Royal Checkbook Horseman.

Also in the Sunday Times was an interesting column by Jim Squires, the newspaper editor turned breeder who bred Monarchos and wrote a really worthwhile book about the experience. He points out:

Of the 35 most expensive colts from this year’s 3-year-old crop purchased at public auction, only the $1.5 million Cowtown Cat is still on track for the quest. And his early odds are 20-1 in the Derby. This means the other $88.5 million spent on 34 others may be hard to recover.
Squires writes that the popularity of certain bloodlines in the commercial market has kept breeders from producing in substantial numbers horses physically capable of enduring the Triple Crown grind. He names Curlin, Nobiz Like Shobiz, Street Sense, Circular Quay and Tiago as examples of products of matings planned without market considerations.
And breeders are finally realizing that stamina attributed to three leading modern sires — Storm Cat, A. P. Indy and Gone West — was for the most part inherited from their Secretariat dams and is most often passed on through their daughters — not their Triple Crown-nominee sons.
- And here's just a couple of ways in which times on the Derby Trail have changed:
Dust Commander won the 1970 Derby with a foundation of 22 starts. Cannonade won the centenary 1974 Derby after 21 starts. Spectacular Bid had 14, Affirmed, Sunny's Halo and Bold Forbes had 13 each, Secretariat, Riva Ridge, Gato del Sol 12 apiece, Foolish Pleasure, Swale and Spend a Buck 11. [NY Post]
Once upon a time, colts raced in the Derby Trial on Tuesday, then came back four days later and ran for the roses. Five times they won both races; seven other Derby winners made the Trial their last prep. [Lexington Herald-Reader]

5 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Great article, but I respectfully disagree with him on AP Indy, his sons do produce stamina.

Storm Cat has been a disaster for the breed. A few successful sons at stud early on with very little success since (especially considering he breeds so many classic mares). Even Giants Causeway is a disappointment if you really look at the numbers.

KY breeders have been getting rich off him ever since, selling his unsound but hugely hyped children and grandchildren to green rich owners who no nothing about racing but want to own a Storm Cat.

They are unsound due to bad knees, can not usually run on the dirt without breaking down, and are milers at best unless out of REAL stamina laden mares. Yet everyone that retires a quality broodmare wants to run out and breed to him becuase they know they can sell the offspring to some unsuspecting fool for $10 Million.

In the good old days that same mare would go to a sound quality racehorse type, now she is bred for the commerical market instead.

Then the resulting son breaks his maiden and goes off to stud somewhere allowing the unsound gene to further infiltrate the breed. And so on....

Anonymous said...

I looked back at the PPs for Whirlaway. He had 21 starts going into the Bluegrass Stakes. He ran in the Bluegrass, came back in 5 days to run in the Derby trial. 4 days later he wins the Derby, the Preakness one week later, and then runs in an allowance race between the Preakness and his Belmont win.

If Todd Pletcher wins a Derby I wonder if he'll skip the Preakness and wait for the Belmont because his "horses seem to do better with time off between races".

libby said...

Is that true about Storm Cat?

Anonymous said...

Not to be smarmy, but two years ago DONT GET MAD won the trial and almost came back to win that horrid '05 derby.

Erin said...

Libby-I won't speak in respect to everything said about Storm Cat, but he is known for passing on soundness problems, particularly bad knees as mentioned. I would also agree that, because his influence has been so widespread, he has really helped fuel and reinforce the American emphasis on speed (to the breed's detriment).