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Friday, January 23, 2009

Attention Shoppers

Open up any newspaper on any day, and there they are - desperate retailers, especially those of the luxury category, offering their wares at just a fraction of their original retail value. Designer Sale - Now Up to 75% off at Barney's, itself said to be up for sale by its Dubai-based owners. Save 75% on every single one-of-a-kind handmade oriental rug at Bloomies. Fur Consolidation Sale and Clearance 50%-70% off plus an extra 20% off (sounds almost free) at Macy's. All Stores, All Floors, up to 75% off original prices at ABC Carpet & Home. It's pretty grim out there. The only shopping bags I notice on the streets these days are from Century 21 (happily opening a new store right here in Rego Park, and check out that groovy music on their website).

While the flea market at the Big A is closed until spring, shoppers can certainly find deep discounts at the races there. We continue to see a plethora of claiming horses dropping drastically in price, as owners seek to make a quick score of the generous purse money and/or rid themselves of unwanted and, perhaps, damaged goods. That leaves us horseplayers in the dark as to the real motives behind the markdowns, and we're just guessing, really. One reader has been advocating mandatory examinations and X-rays for horses dropping at least two claiming levels, meant both as a deterrent toward cruelty and as a consumer confidence builder for punters.

The tote board on occasion will provide a clear clue. Take Friday's 4th - Larrys Revenge, the 2-1 favorite dropping to cheap claimers for Zito - was stone cold dead on the board at 4-1. Steve in nc wrote: "Looking at the tote, Larry's Revenge is suddenly playable," but man, I throw those horses out faster than the president is discarding the remnants of the prior administration. The horse showed little and ran 6th. However, at least one bargain shopper wasn't deterred, as Jacobson took him for 20K on a lively day at the claim box. Volos paid $4.30, another winner for Asmussen; I knew the 3-1 ML was too good to be true. But nothing doing for Baroness in the 6th, and the barn had "only" that one winner out of four starters.

In the first, owner Mike Repole dropped two horses recently claimed for 30K down to 14K. One of the Best ($7.10) proved best, for trainer Greg DiPrima, who has also scored with dropdowns Kamboo Bay and True Rebel at this meet. But Sea of Trees, claimed by Scott Lake from Contessa last month, took an immediate 53% drop in price and ran over 20 lengths behind. Both were claimed, the winner by Chip Dutrow, the other by Joe Imperio.

In the 5th, Incanzaldo ($7.50), claimed for 80K last January at Gulfstream by owner Paul Pompa (nostalgic perhaps for a horse who ran in the only race in which he ever owned Big Brown), was in for 25K here in his first race since March. Transferred to the care of Kasey K's trainer Bruce Brown, slumming it here I see, he won off by more than six. Similar scenario to Larrys Revenge, but this one was bet down to 5-2 from his 5-1 morning line; though while the bettors were trusting, Incanzaldo went unsold. I think we'll see him marked up next time.

And in the 9th, Kiaran McLaughlin completed a sweep of the late double with Eldaafer ($7.70). This Shadwell homebred son of AP Indy was fairly impressive in his maiden win at Belmont in September. But after floundering in two dead-on-the-board allowance races, he was put on sale here for a mere $20,000. John Toscano was happy to oblige, claiming him for himself. McLaughlin now has 13 winners out of 39 starters (33%) on the inner track.


Anonymous said...

I know from an owner at Penn National many of these drop downs are owners exiting the business and needing the cash to settle their traing bills. The descretionary income is all gone.

It is also an indication savy owners/trainers realize significant purse cuts are just around the corner.

Anonymous said...

Purses will go down in 2009. How the NYRA was able to raise purses in 2008 while betting handle went down seems unusual? Maybe they used some of th state bailout money in bankruptcy for purses to show the public and the horsemen what wonderful operators they really are? To 8:29 Anon's point, PA's purses have already been reduced with more reductions in both purses and the breeding fund on the way.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is becoming too political and too much kasey k. I know your capable of better. you have been a little boring recently