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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Missed It By That Much

- Michael Iavarone told 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 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!


jk said...

Eklund says the Rangers will sign Mats Sundin. Lottsa luck on that one.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what Bruce Brown looks like, but some man watching the race from the theater just off the paddock, and the woman with him, were none too pleased with Dominguez as the filly went to the wire. "Oh, Ramon, what are you doing?" they cried. "She's done! She's tired! Why are you hitting her?" They kept it up, their disgust clear, on the way to the paddock after the race.

Hold All Tickets said...

IEAH needs to reexamine their books and report more of a lose on their "investment", then they could become eligible for a slice of that congressional bailout pie.

Keith - Triple Dead Heat said...

Love the post and an insider description of a race that shows how the Form can often have gaping holes.

Nothing replaces actually watching the race.

Best of luck with the filly.

onecalicocat said...

Give Smarty a little more time.
One of his offspring nearly broke a track record but unfortunately broke down at the finish. So that's one piece of bad luck.
Rockland looks promising.
I saw Keefer win a race this summer and he looked like he had potential.
I would say that Smarty has been "spotty" as a sire so far, but I wouldn't write him off yet.

Anonymous said...

Any more from Iavaronne on the alleged death threat incident if something happened to Big Brown on Belmont Day? I found it odd that NYRA's head of security Ken Cook "knew nothing" and the Nassau County police detective "had people involved."

Glimmerglass said...

I believe going back to the 2005 Preakness we can all see the patented Ramon D. right handed windup blowing the chances of Scrappy T as he came out of the final turn. Aside from shying him into Afleet Alex it effectively knocked 'the game' out of Scrappy. It was unnecessary.

While IEAH was slow to execute - or more likely people paused after the press of slick Michael Iavarone - the other mega syndicate fund (Legends Fund) with Lukas, Baffert, Zito raised the $70M+ in funds without much fuss this summer. They've got the ammo in reserve and have fired a few round with buying power.

Why pay more for Smarty Jones over a breeding session with Birdstone at $10k? He's delivered solid results at Wal-Mart prices. Just look at the filly 'Livin Lovin' sired by him!

El Angelo said...

Iavarone also got Joe Drape convinced that Benny the Bull was worth $10 million at stud and that Kip Deville was worth $20 million at stud. Let's just say he's not the most credible source on earth.

onecalicocat said...

Mine That Bird is another great 2-year-old from Birdstone. He's won three stakes this year.

Anonymous said...

Iavarone and Bernie Madoff would make a good pair, wouldn't they? Penny stock hustler meets Master Ponzi schemer. They all live on BS down on Wall Street. Love to hear about the promising Birdstone progeny at bargain prices! /S/greenmtnpunter

Anonymous said...

Alan you are such a worm for not posting my comments.
It was just an observation on your horse. I can understand why someone is sending you nasty comments. your lack of knowledge really shows through. jason

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking of breeding a mare to Birdstone this year, bargain, but then again there will be plenty of those out there.

alan said...

Jason -

I haven't rejected any of your comments. Perhaps it got lost in cyberspace somewhere.