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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Capital At Risk

A couple of huge favorites in the middle of Sunday's card at the Big A. And though they were both easily victorious, to me they still beg the question of who exactly bets on horses like these at such prohibitive odds? And who exactly are "they" in these cases? Is it the whales? Or the cumulative effect of relatively unsophisticated small-timers piling onto a sure thing which may not look that sure to smart guys like us. Sure, Wild News ($2.90) had run very well in her debut. But that came on a sloppy track that her 388 Tomlinson suggested she may like; and there were several first time starters from capable first-out barns. I myself couldn't imagine betting $200 to win $90 on this one (though I wouldn't mind having the exacta, with 43-1 EZ Passer, at $70.50. Wild News is by Forest Wildcat, out of a winless Seattle Slew mare whose own dam is a half-sister to the Belmont winner Bet Twice.

Capitalism at Risk, the ultimate hunch bet for the tea party set, finished 7th; though Fox News showed the clip of when she ran second in her debut instead.

Idle Gossip ($2.70) was even more imponderable at an even cheaper price. Last seen running 4th at Saratoga, her fifth effort in state-bred maiden specials, here she was dropping into 16K maiden claimers in her first race in ten weeks, for trainer Carlos Martin. I know, she won for fun and might look easy in retrospect. But the drop in class has to raise questions; little surprise that she went unclaimed. (And how many times do you see a 1-4 shot head a $1,262 triple?)

- Empire Maker is down to $50,000 in 2010, from $75,000 this year. And this is a successful sire, at least on the track. He's the leading third crop sire, 15th on the overall sire list, with seven stakes winners. However, in the sales ring in this down market, his yearlings have gone from an average of $251,000 to $135,000. That didn't leave much of a profit margin for buyers. Empire Maker will now be available for half of the $100,000 he stood for in 2004.

- Mike Smith is coming to the Big A to ride Stardom Bound in her return to the races in the G1 Gazelle on Saturday.


Anonymous said...

There is a reason for everything, and Empire Maker has actually been quite a disappointment considering the quality mares that have visited him.

4% SW, 2.24 AEI, 3.95 CI

Median Yearling Sales Price, lifetime, $170,000 with declining results in bad market = $50,000 fairly priced.

But I guess it is true that, when the market was in full bubble mode, his advertised fee would likely not be reduced this much.

Since he himself was a late developer it is quite possible he might rebound and be hot by the time 2011's foals are sold so not a bad speculative play at this price.

Anonymous said...

Today would be BC pre-Entry day if the powers that be would adopt my first Saturday in December permanent date.

No baseball, NFL races quite boring, meaningful NCAA football pretty much over until the big bowls, no golf or tennis, doldrums of the NBA and NHL seasons, quite a void in the back pages of the newspapers.

Betcha even the networks could find a time slot to squeeze racing into.

Anonymous said...


Aqueduct article is in the NY Region of the NY Times today

Alan Mann said...

>>Aqueduct article is in the NY Region of the NY Times today

Got it, thanks! (see the next post.)

Steve Zorn said...

Empire Maker's stud fee should probably be on the order of $25,000 for breeders to have a fair chance in today's market. Overall, the gross at the Keeneland November sale this year was down 65% from the height of the market two years ago, if one excludes the Overbrook Farm dispersal. Since stud fees were clearly too high back then, they need to come down by about 65% just to stay even with the rest of the market. Lots of mares not going to be bred this coming year, which is, all in all, a good thing.

More detailed stats on Keeneland November on my blog,