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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Rookie Sires

- The yearling auction season gets under way with the Fasig-Tipton July sale next week. There's a good preview of the sale in the July 7 print edition of Bloodhorse. The first two days of the sale, on July 16-17, are dedicated solely to first and second year sires, and naturally, they'll be a lot of attention paid to the former. Bill Graves, who, as the director of yearling sales is the man in charge of selecting the sales yearlings, tells Bloodhorse that it's confirmation that is king in July, whereas Saratoga is more of "boutique" sale in which pedigree is paid more mind. One bloodstock agent, Mike Akers of Dapple Bloodstock, says of the first-crop progeny: "If you've got several making that sale, they're in there for a reason....Having that many by a particular stallion means he's throwing a nice-type horse."

The two new sires at the top of the list in terms of number of progeny for sale are Lion Heart (21) and Chapel Royal (20).(A complete list of all the sires that are participating is here.)

Lion Heart stands for Coolmore at Ashford for $25,000 (down from $30,000 in 2005-6). Undefeated Grade 1 SW Juvenile Grade 1 Winner and Classic Placed at Three. That classic placing was his second place finish in the Derby, which ruined my exactas and triples, and for which I still haven't forgiven him. He won two Grade 1's, the Haskell and the Hollywood Futurity; and you can watch those and his two other stakes wins at Coolmore's site here. (Just click on the 'Video Footage' dropdown.) He's proven tremendously popular, with 158 mares bred in 2006. He's by the Storm Cat stallion Tale of the Cat, out of a Mr. Leader mare.

Chapel Royal, who was bred to 165 mares last year, also stands for Coolmore, he for $10,000. Brilliantly Fast Juvenile. The perfect outcross for NORTHERN DANCER, MR. PROSPECTOR & SEATTLE SLEW-line mares; that's the positive spin on 'you won't find any of North America's top stallion influences here.' By Montbrook, out of a mare by Cutlass, I can't imagine that anyone is anticipating any Derby winners by him. He won two graded sprint juvenile stakes - the Sanford and the Flash, in New York, in which he trounced two fields of nobodies by a combined ten lengths. That might show you the power of marketing, but he's obviously throwing some well-conformed horses. And again, you can watch his races on the Coolmore site.

Others with ten or more hips in the sale are Cuvee (14), Tapit (13), Toccet (13), Peace Rules (12), Even the Score (11), Medaglia d'Oro (10), and Omega Code (10). Two more that are said to be creating a buzz are Action This Day and Speightstown.

- Hmm, Terry Finley did not address my question. There's a surprise for you. As Jessica pointed out to me, his chat on was nothing but free advertising for West Point Thoroughbreds. I hope he at least sent Ray Paulick a bouquet of flowers.


Anonymous said...

Alan...Thanks as always for your interesting commentaries. Regarding Terry Finley's appearance in's Talkin' Horses (is this a shameless plug?), I'd like to take credit for his appearance and all the other great guests we've had appear since Mike Smith kicked off the feature after winning the 2005 Kentucky Derby with Giacomo. But all credit goes to our web team, led by Ron Mitchell and assisted by editorial and digital media staff. I think they've done a really excellent job of booking guests of interest and variety.

Visitors to have done the rest, asking good questions, and the guests have been really good for the most part. Not all questions are answered, and not all questions received are appropriate. Your question may be an appropriate one for a reporter writing a piece on the NY integrity report, but Talkin' Horses wasn't the right time or right place.

Terry was booked in the midst of a hot streak, so his appearance was timely. He was asked and answered questions about West Point, which is exactly what we expected (just as Cot Campbell was asked about Dogwood's operation).

Thanks again for your continuing analysis of the industry. It's all good.



P.S. - No, Terry didn't send me flowers.

Valerie Grash said...

I wasn’t aware that Talkin’ Horses chats were limited to only one aspect of a horseman’s involvement in the industry, such as, in the case of Terry Finley, only West Point Thoroughbreds’ “Ritz Carlton, not Holiday Inn Express” syndication experience. I won’t even touch that bit of malarkey used as an explanation for their ridiculous fees and relatively mediocre results over the past 16 years (although, for the sake of appearance, some people don’t care how much money they get screwed out of, or the bullshit shoveled at them…but I digress). Let’s just say, I prefer value for my money and Holiday Inn Express accomplishes the exact same result as the Ritz Carlton—I get a good night’s sleep when I’m away from home. Period. And in the end, that’s all I care about. But, fools and their money…

Since the bio that prefaced the chat transcript mentioned that Finley is “dedicated to all facets of the industry, serving on numerous industry boards,” I would assume that he should have been able and willing to address questions dealing with the nature of the industry today, which he did albeit in a very peripheral manner (before turning back to field softball questions from friends and, apparently, employees). More specifically, since he served on the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Board of Directors, his views on the future of New York State racing would certainly be of interest to Bloodhorse readers, and so too would be the possible financial interest he may have had in Empire Racing. His reference to “it never pays to sacrifice your integrity” rings hollow, in my humble opinion, considering the shenanigans prevalent in this whole franchising debacle and the lack of transparency by certain parties. Perhaps Alan’s question could have been less, shall we say “blunt,” but it was a fair and legitimate point to raise. It just wasn’t appropriate for a chat that, of all the chats I have read in the series, was the most unabashedly self-aggrandizing, content-weak dribble that glossed over very real issues that need to be addressed in racing today.

I’ll be more specific. When asked about the legitimate concerns raised regarding the questionable treatment of young horses at two-year-old sales—most specifically, the practice of short-burst timed works and the use of drugs to mask health and soundness issues—Finley rather fleetingly admitted the problems, but in the next breath says, “I will continue to purchase from these auctions.” A real industry leader would say, yes, what we do now is wrong for the horse and potential buyers, and as a mainstay at those sales, nay, as an entity that bases its entire business model around purchasing two-year-olds then syndicating them to partners, here is what I as a profoundly invested participant want to see changed. “We give most of our horses time to unwind at the farm after the sales” is hardily an attitude that evokes change; instead, it perpetuates an attitude of “oh, well, as long as our animals are fine…too bad for you all if it doesn’t work out.”

Sorry, Alan. I didn’t mean to ramble on, but the attitude that only real journalists should ask (or, more specifically, not ask) the tough questions pisses me off. As a former journalist turned academic, it’s that very attitude of the profession that turned me off the path of being a professional sports writer early on. But (pat on the head) your little blog and its analysis is "interesting"…just don’t ask the questions those who provide advertising dollars won’t want to answer.

Anonymous said...

Valerie...Please feel free to call me at the office if you want to have a discussion on some of your points. 859 276-6757.

Ray Paulick

Patrick J Patten said...

In the interest of Privacy Alan I think you can email that # to Valerie and delete it off comments, the last thing you want to see are a ton of phone calls. But WOW valerie, you rocked it.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, I have always felt the Bloodhorse and Mr. Paulick have not shied from covering the controversial matters in the industry.

The have fairly covered the dual agency and drug issues plaguing the industry, despite obviously deriving most of their advertising revenue from some in the industry that have profited over the years from these practices.

I am not sure they attempt to break stories like a true journist would, but then again they are first and formost and industry publication so that is not their responsibility.

What I am sure of is they do not shy from printing the controversial stories once broken by others.

The problem is that the non-industry print media rarely covers the industry anymore. Except for Andy Beyer or Bill Finley, or the local political newswriters when the industry overlaps with state goverment, there really are no journalists to break these stories.

Anonymous said...

Well, Alan, how does it feel to be the most important internet destination for intelligent discussion on racing issues? Congratulations. Well done.

Alan Mann said...

Steve D- Thanks!