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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Verdict Is In

- Big marketing push on the stallion Closing Argument, who moved from Sequel Stallions in Florida to Hill'n'Dale in Kentucky, and had his stud fee raised from $10,000 to $12,500. There's a four page spread ad for his services in the Breeders' Cup issue of Bloodhorse. You'd never know by looking at it that he won only three races from his nine career starts, with one graded win, that in the G3 Holy Bull. When it comes to stallion marketing, little things like not winning that much don't really matter.

Take Wilko, for example. Recently acquired by Frank Stronach to stand at his Adena Springs farm in Florida, we know that he was 0-18 after his Juvenile win, with seven third place finishes the best he could do. But in stallion marketing-speak, that becomes: "He made every dance and was durable." And you know what, I guess there's a lot to be said for that! Wilko will stand for $10,000.

Closing Argument retired after getting beat by 26 lengths in the Preakness. The Bloodhorse ad, of course, emphasizes the good things, including his SECOND IN THE $2,000,000 GRADE 1 KENTUCKY DERBY, ahead of Eclipse Champion Afleet Alex. He was almost home that day at 71-1, and looking back, that race could be viewed as a springboard of sorts for the careers of the horse's trainer and jockey. Kiaran McLaughlin had a fairly high profile, but a distinctly lower win percentage back then as I recall; and Cornelio Velasquez was not considered to be amongst the top tier of the NY colony. Looking back through the LATG archives, I see that I wrote the next day: I imagine the Derby was a bittersweet experience for a successful, but unheralded jockey who has no guarantee of being back in a Derby any time soon. He was back the next year on Showing Up, and this year on Nobiz Like Shobiz, so he's either come a long way, or I didn't know what I was talking about.

The weanlings of Closing Argument have apparently made a good impression. Ten of them sold for an average of $41,600, and he topped the fall sale at Ocala with a colt which brought $185,000 from a pinhooking venture of Lewis Lakin and Terry Finley. The Verdict Is In... proclaims the ad, which contains a far more attractive photo of the weanling colt than the one in the Thoroughbred Times article linked to above. Closing Argument has already closed the deal with 307 mares in his first two years at stud.

- I don't know who Kathleen Feron is, but I do know that she's won with four of her first six starters at the Big A meeting; most recently with Them There Eyes, who recovered from a poor start and swept by the field in the Scoot Stakes on Friday. This improving three-year old filly stepped up from state-bred company and returned $25.60 with Samyn on the green. She's by Holy Bull out of a mare by D'Accord (Secretariat); and her second dam is a full sister to Bailjumper, a classy Damascus colt who won the Dwyer and Saranac in 1977 for Frank Whitely and Pen-Y-Bryn; and to Honorable Miss, a great racemare who won consecutive Fall Highweight Handicaps in 1975-76 for the same connections, during a time when that meant a great deal.


Anonymous said...

So I just saw something on Bloodhorse about a horse who may actually be standing for too LITTLE...especially compared to some others like Wilko and Stormello. Exclusive Quality - $4,000. Somehow I was unaware of his existence until now. Won 3 out of 4 lifetime starts, set a 7F track record, and defeated Bernardini, Songster, Diabolical, and In Summation!!! Anybody know anything else about him?

Late Scratch said...

Alan - Re you rpost of Nov. 9 - Go back and re-read the Paul Post article. He interchanged Excelsior and Empire a few times. He meant to say that Excelsior's continued involvement was questionable. As for Empire, I don't think the fat lady has sung quite yet. I do believe much will be made clear in the next two weeks.

Good seeing you at the Big A yesterday. I spent much of the day in the Equistris and roaming around the top floors and I must say it is quite nice up there. And the food wasn't bad either.

Anonymous said...


Starforaday has been taken down! Starforaday won an allowance on the Travers card -- race 11. Odds were 27-1. Donna Wormser has been fined $1,000 and given 30 days for a Starforaday's clenbuterol positive.

Trainer Rick Violette was all smiles as he entered the winner's circle to pat the horse. He had formerly trained Starforaday.

Anonymous said...

Who ran second in the Starforaday race?

Probably had the winner.

Teresa said...

I wrote about Starforaday in my blog yesterday...I tried to find the results but couldn't something like this at this point by subscription only? You can pay some service and have unlimited access to past performances/results?

I read on another blog that the horse was pulled up and vanned off from a race Oct. 17th. Nice. Another great day for racing.

alan said...

A 22-1 shot named Executive Search was second in the race for trainer Rodrigo Ubillo. (via the Form's National Simulcast Weekly, a paid service. Yes, you pretty much have to pay to see results charts that go further back than the week or so that the Form and BRIS carry them for free.)

Valerie said...

Shoot! Alan just beat me :)

Executive Search ($20.40 place, $7.30 place) finished second in that Starforaday race; Darley's Blue Sky God ($2.80 place) was third.

I found the info via Google ("Starforaday Saratoga Equibase"). Google is God ;) jk

Anonymous said...

Maybe Andy Serling from the DRF will chime in to add a comment.

Serling was incensed after the race. He bellowed, "That horse should have been 27,000-1!"

Violette did indeed fly into the winner's circle, giving the horse a big pat on his neck.

What is another trainer doing in the winner's circle?

Teresa said...

I put into Google about seven different combinations and STILL didn't get the results. "Equibase" was clearly the magic word...