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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dubai Bailout (Part 1)

I'm reading about the $10 billion bailout extended to Dubai by fellow emirate Abu Dhabi, but not in the racing press. There's a story in the Times, another at CNN, and here at the Financial Times. There is coverage by John over at The Race Is Not Always to the Swift; but that's a blog, not the press as we know.

Of course, the story belongs in the financial news; it's just another fine mess. But I dunno, seems to me that any hint that the fortunes of the Sheikh may turn bad enough so as to curtail his participation, even just to an extent, as a buyer of Kentucky foals alone would be worth a mention on, wouldn't you think? And that's not to mention the fact that his various stables are a major force in the sport worldwide, his World Cup bonanza has become a singular goal for many horsemen internationally, and the phone calls of his representatives to lucky owners of impressive two-year olds have become part of the American racing dream.

Even the Paulick Report defers to the optimistic view: SURGING: DUBAI SHARES SHOW LARGEST INCREASE IN THREE MONTHS. Those guys over there are all hepped on their Paulick Derby Index, featured on, but, sadly, not quite as manly as before.

Of course, I'm sure there's probably nothing to worry about. And I imagine that the Sheikh has sufficient assets that are not directly tied to the fate of his emirate. But then again, I can't help but think that with real estate prices there reported to be down 25%, it would seem there's a lot of room for further decline. Work has stopped on the Meydan racecourse - John noted that the construction cam on the website is stuck on last October. The contractor was fired after completing 70%. John says that they were only paid 30%; I don't know how he knows that, maybe he's a real reporter after all. Bloomberg reports that the bailout "threatens to cost Dubai its autonomy and the free- wheeling economic system that helped establish it as the Middle East’s main business hub."

And, most ominously to me, bailouts seem to come in twos (or threes) these days. One is always followed by another. And another. And with each subsequent rescue, the rescued gives up more control.

So who can say with any confidence that the Sheikh will be a buyer this summer and fall? Maybe he'll even be a seller. Imagine, he could team up with Frank. That would be one doozy of a dispersal.


Anonymous said...

Don't worry the great one will take care of everything!

Anonymous said...

I am here in Dubai. Actually going to Nad Al Sheba tomorrow night. It is a mess here. All planned construction has been halted incluiing the new race course. The son of the Crown Prince ran out of money on his latest 55 story development. It got to 15 stories and they tore it down so not to embarrass the family. That being said they are still horse crazy. Imagine how many people you would get out at Aqueduct on a Thursday if you could not bet on the races! The only legal bet is the pick 7 with the pool put up by Sheikh Mohammaed.
Andrew (30for60)

Anonymous said...

alan said...
Remember that a bet made on NYRA's ADW is like a bet at the track in terms of retention NYRA has every incentive to have the live video. Don't blame Hayward here, I'm sure he's as frustrated as anyone else. NYRA can't stream until the OTB's approve it, and that won't happen until the OTB's have it, and that won't happen until the racing and wagering board approves it.

Hayward should be at least partly blamed. A significant portion of fans, taxpayers and NYRA supporters are being shut out. If this was entirely confined to Albany and Manhattan there would be a more vocal outrage. People have their OTB accounts and the shops are better managed than in districts such as Western NY OTB. Also, the live video is on cable systems to these parts as well. Imagine having the Rangers' games blacked out because the games are not sold out (think NFL). Correlating this to racing, that is what has happened to a large chunk of New Yorkers, mostly those from Syracuse westward. It actually resembles the NFL Network contractual dispute with cable companies --- if you want to watch NFL on Thursday nights, you better go get the dish packages because your cable company and the NFL Network can't come to an agreement. There's always a consolation thrown to those in New York. When the Giants played the Pats in the season finale two years ago, the game was allowed to be broadcast on the local nets and the NFL Network, which the rest of the country was left to. If your cable company didn't have the NFL Network you were not going to watch the game.

Anonymous said...

The Paulick index is long overdue for this industry, these are the simple and obvious concepts which provide exposure to other sports.

The world today is stat crazy, they demand numbers to grasp any sport.

Racing stats need to be dragged into the 20th Century (intentional), with winning percentage replacing total wins as the defining stat of trainers and jockeys, similar to batting average, something simple the novice can grasp.

These types of stats should be available opposite the pp's in the program for the specific distance of that particular race. Easily accessable, something to get the novice to actually start looking at more than the names of the horses.

Nationally the same stats can be used for graded stakes races only and could be published at and USA Today. The same stats that are already available in Formulator can be presented to the public in leading trainer/jockey/ and yes even owner format.

It can be done, all it takes is the will and some creativity.

As a side note kudos to NYRA/drf for pushing the Formulator numbers in their race analysis segment, this truly educates the novice sitting off track or at home watching the simulcast. You would not believe the number of questions I get about these stats as the resident in house "expert".

Steve Zorn said...

Sheikh Mohammed's representative, John Ferguson, did buy one horse, for $180,000, at last week's OBS select two-year-old sale. He's never been a big buyer at that sale, though; the real test will come at next week's Fasig-Tipton sale at Calder, where Ferguson has been a major presence.

Alan Mann said...

>>Sheikh Mohammed's representative, John Ferguson, did buy one horse, for $180,000, at last week's OBS select two-year-old sale

Steve - I'm sure that the workers that are abandoning their cars and leaving the country in order to avoid being jailed for missing payments would be thrilled to hear about that.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Don't worry the great one will take care of everything!

12:35 AM

And I'm sure McDingleschmuck and the Alaska hick would have solved everything by now...

Anonymous said...

I'm fairly certain they wouldn't have spent my grandkids money bailing out the Wall Street shylocks.


Anonymous said...

I voted for McCain but must point out he voted for the original bailout, the one with absolutely zero restrictions, so do not be so sure.

They are all playing the same game.

Anonymous said...

George Bush spent your grandkids money on Iraq. Did you notice the deficit he racked up in his eight years?

Anonymous said...

In your blog you mentioned that John said "work has stopped on Meydan Racecourse." This is not the truth, in fact it is the complete opposite of the truth. I am in Dubai at present and have personally witnessed around 4000 workers at Meydan during the daytime and 1500 at night. There should be a law against people like John writing such utter rubbish. It is misleading to tell lies and he should not be allowed to publicly post articles like this if he cannot get his facts straight! This comment from John was not a small mistake, it was a huge factual error!

Alan Mann said...

>>In your blog you mentioned that John said "work has stopped on Meydan Racecourse." This is not the truth, in fact it is the complete opposite of the truth.

Duly noted, I'll get to the bottom of this and post a correction, along with the latest story on the lawsuit being filed against Meydan by the former contractor. Thanks for the note.