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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pork For Horsemen, Peanuts for Bettors

- A couple of commenters referred to the $289 billion farm bill passed by Congress and awaiting a promised veto on the president's desk. It should be pointed out that the measure has broad bipartisan support, more than enough for an override in both Houses.

It also contains a provision favoring Thoroughbred racehorse owners; sarcastically labeled an "important project" by the liberal blog Think Progress. The provision is said to provide tax breaks worth $126 million over the next 10 years by providing that all racehorses are depreciated over three years for tax purposes, regardless of when the horses start training.

The current tax code doesn't reflect the entire length of a horse's racing life, according to a National Thoroughbred Racing Association analysis of Jockey Club racing data. [Lexington Herald Reader]
The clause was inserted at the behest of the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican from Kentucky, who said that horse racing's "economic impact extends well beyond the borders of the commonwealth." However, the provision is clearly intended to win favor back home and benefit the industry there. Earlier this year, Senator McConnell voted in favor, though reluctantly it seems, of a one year moratorium on pork barrel spending (he won $185 million in such projects for his state for 2008). The tax break may not technically fall under that category....but you know, if it smells like pork, it must be bacon....or something like that.

Both Senators Obama and Clinton are in favor of the bill, but Senator McCain supports the president's veto.

- Following up on the detailed Hong Kong race report in the previous post (definitely worth checking out), here's a couple of horses running at Belmont today on which the public could certainly use more information to make an informed decision. In the third, Wonforthegoodguys was vanned off the track on March 21, and then returned to the races on May 10. But why exactly was he pulled up and vanned off the track? Bettors had no idea, so they let him go off at 20-1, even though he was 7-2 in the aborted effort; and he ran second. I'm sure a lot of exacta bettors were cursing after that one. You gotta love, though, the move up in class today for trainer David Jacobson, who spots them where they can win, and is off to a fine start at Belmont with a record of 14-4-5-1. Red Hot Dawn is an IEAH horse who hasn't yet paid off like Big Brown. He drops in claiming price, though up in conditions, after winning at 4-5 last time out; your move. Civil Suit drops far more sharply for Contessa; your call again.

In the 7th, Go Michelle goes first off the claim for Contessa. She had won under similar circumstances for Dutrow, for a 35K tag two races back. But she then appeared for a tag of 25K, dropping sharply off the win, and proceeded to run 4th at odds of 1-2. Why did she take such a drop off an easy win with a career high Beyer? What was the explanation for such a poor performance as the prohibitive favorite? Your guess is as good as mine. Now, Contessa drops her further, in for 16K! WTF!? You can bet this horse as the favorite if you'd like and congrats if you win; but Wildbutable and Mt Langfuhr (Gomez with a rare ride for Joe Imperio) look like more legit dropdowns to me.

7 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Alan,

What do think of your guy Obama for supporting the farm bill.

It doesn't look good.

By the way,I put my wallet in front of me while visiting your sight so as not to check it that often.

Glimmerglass said...

Just curious, but I'm sure someone might know the answer - did Yum! offer the $1M bonus ("Yumfecta") for the winner of the Kentucky Derby who took the victory by more then 6 1/2 lengths just in 2007 alone?

Flashback: USA Today May 2007 "Derby sponsor ponies up $1 million winner's bonus"

HRTV suggested today (although I suspect it was really a CDI floated trial baloon) that Curlin's connections might be looking at the Arlington Million.

That raises a point - maybe I've missed it, but has he ever done a turf start? It's interesting that so many have assumed he'll be a monster of the turf 'just because'. Jazil had turf written all over his pedigree and yet I was there at the Elkhorn for his turf start - finishing 12th.

alan said...

Anon - The farm subsidies in the farm bill certainly seem wasteful considering the price of food commodities these days. But it includes increases food stamp programs that many people could use right now, and which appeal to welfare state liberals such as myself. It's also a bill that he probably needs to support in terms of his general election chances. I have mixed feelings about it, but it's not something over which I would vote for McCain over. And by the way, I have a lot of respect for McCain...I'd even almost say that I l-l-l-like him. I just don't want him to be president.

And by the way, if you bet the horse I mentioned in the 4th today, your wallet might be doing better!

Glimmer - I haven't heard of that Yumfecta being offered this year.

Brian said...

glimmerglass -

I think the context of him running on the grass has been to do that instead of synthetics for the Breeders' Cup. Although, yes, if turf breeding supposedly improves running on the rubber, then what's the difference?

My guess is Curlin flopping on the grass isn't as damaging as on the poly, which is still considered part of the dirt division, for some reason...

Anonymous said...

Alan,

Good call in in the Third race.

What's your ROI?

alan said...

>>Good call in in the Third race.

What's your ROI?


Hey, thanks for noticing! I haven't kept ROI figures, so I'll start now. Guess it's $4.90.

Anonymous said...

One reason to root for Casino Drive, from Thursday's Daily News (Bossert);

Casino Drive will not race on any medication for the Belmont as he did in his Peter Pan victory.

"No medication," Tada said. "He runs to the best of his ability without medication."

Dutrow admits to giving Big Brown the steroid Winstrol on the 15th of every month because it is legal in New York.

"I don't see it being a problem," Dutrow said.

Tada thinks steroids are a major concern in the sport.

"There are no steroids in Japan," he said. "For the future of the industry it's a problem. We keep the horse natural. We want his natural ability when he becomes a stallion."