- Michael Iavarone told CNBC.com that Big Brown not winning the Belmont cost IEAH some "$50 million to $60 million." (Thanks to reader jk for the link.) That may be true. But hey, it's not like he lost the race by a nose or something. So that's like saying that the Lions would be in the playoffs if they weren't 0-14. And seriously, who cares anyway?
On the other hand, there's Rap Tale, who missed out on black type by a head when beat out for third just at the wire in the Ladies Handicap. No, that didn't cost us $50 to $60 million. It did mean $4,105 less in purse money. More significantly, the black type, earned by finishing in the money in a stakes race (no matter how weak it may be), cost us much more in terms of the filly's value. One knowledgeable person put it in the area of $50,000.
It was a real opportunity to enhance the broodmare value of a filly who is clearly a cut below stakes material at this stage. What makes it even more frustrating is the way she lost the show spot. The pan shot shows that she had slowed to a virtual walk at the end, and the chart simply notes that she had nothing left to offer. But, while that may no doubt be true, if you look at the head on, you can see what really happened.
Rap Tale was clearly tired and fading inside the 1/8th pole. But it didn't help matters when Borrowing Base bore in, lightly bumping Nijinsky Bullet. In the chain reaction, Rap Tale was also crowded, and Ramon Dominguez checked her just slightly. Dominguez then straightened her out and she was apparently still on her way to hold third, until the jockey hit her right-handed, at which point she veered in a bit towards the rail. And then, Dominguez hit her right-handed yet again, causing her to slam into the rail and take a couple of awkward steps. Dominguez was pulling her up from that mishap at the wire; thus the appearance that she had completely stopped.
What the reasoning behind the late whipping was, I can't really say. Perhaps he was being earnest in trying to save the show spot, knowing that that was really the main goal. But it was unfortunate in any event. Would have been nice to get that business over and done with and move on with a filly who we believe can improve at age four. She came out of the race fine.
- Ex-stable horse Highland Cat keeps plugging away; he's down at Calder once again, where he ran his usual close second on Monday. (Thanks to reader onecalicocat for keeping us posted.) He ran in a Starters Allowance for horses who have run for a claiming tag of $12,500 or less in 2007 or 2008. The purse was all of $11,200; his share was $2,352. Last week, Kasey K ran King Mobay at the Big A in a Starters Allowance for horses who had run for a tag of 10K or less in 2006-08. The purse? $30,000. That gives you an idea of just how pitiful the purses are down in Florida right now, particularly as the still-slotless Calder. Wow.
- A couple of other notes on the Iavarone interview. He tells reporter Darren Rovell that, had Big Brown won the Triple Crown, they would have gotten $300,000 a pop for him!! Yeah, do you think so? Even if the economy was sound? Seems to me that it's overambitious stud fees like that that's partly responsible for the reductions we've seen for next year.
Iavarone also points out that Smarty Jones' fee has been made private after three years at $100K. The 2004 Derby/Preakness winner has had eight winners from only 28 starters with his first crop, and had his first stakes winner over the weekend....in Puerto Rico. He ranks as #31 on the rookie sire list. Smarty better either shape up, or brush up on his Korean.
- Just to show you that I'm at least occasionally right about something, check out this, which I wrote on July 2:
Sean Avery in Texas for four years? Ha. I don't think he'll make it through half of that contract, and he may very well once again wear Broadway Blue, in time for the 2009-10 playoffs.Well, don't know about the second part, but it sure didn't take long for me to be right about the first!