Friday, March 26, 2010

Groping for Purchase in Louisiana and Thoughts about the Jockey Club Data

The Jockey Club has released data it has collected over the past three years. The rate of catastrophic breakdown for racehorses in North America is about 2 for every 1,000 starters. More than double the figure in Europe, Asia and Australia (pretty much the rest of the racing world). Why?
Gate-to-Wire riding?
Year-round glut?
All of these are somewhat unique characteristics to North America. The rate of breakdown did not decrease in training hours either, suggesting race-day drug violations may not be the culprit. Also, the figure for All-Weather is a lot less at 1.44.

So that's the bad news; now for the good. The Jockey Club had the courage to conduct the study and publish its results. And this is a huge improvement that will undoubtedly have very positive effects on equine welfare in the States. We all knew about this problem, but willfully relegated it to the bottom-tier tracks, the lowly claimers ... until Barbaro, George Washington and Eight Belles illuminated a very difficult aspect to the sport.

Now we just have to figure out how many pigs have to die for the sport of football so, as fans, we keep our superiority over those cretins.

The Louisiana Derby

Let's hope it's better than the Risen Star. The San Felipe and Risen Star were the two worst Derby preps to date. Both stolen on the front end. But with a nice injection of pace, the derby looks to have more dimension. Drosselmeyer draws lucky 13,  which doesn't hurt him too much since he's a closer, but I was really unimpressed with his inability to run down Discretely Mine in the Risen Star. The pace set up so poorly for big Dross, but I felt he still had a shot in the stretch and was unable to make a move. In a race like the Risen Star that's exactly what you look for -- someone to rise above circumstances and be able to take races that don't set up to their style. I'm not tossing Dross, but I'm placing him behind Stay Put. I'm also gonna use A Little Warm who Tony Dutrow ships in and stretches out from 7f to 9 --  quite a stretch. A Little Warm is an unknown quantity which could be a better bet than the known mediocrity this field has shown. Maybe mediocrity is a little harsh. I look for Discretely Mine to do what Rule did last week in Florida, but who knows ... the only thing I can say for sure is that there'll be no value with him.

Lanes End
Lots of horses lined up in Florence for that Derby bid, none of them seem to be in optimal Derby form for this time of year. These are the darts the trainers throw at the wall in hopes of securing a Derby spot. Connemara is a very classy colt and should take favortism. I have a hard time opposing him, but will pair him with Kettle River who performed inexplicably poorly in the Sham. Good luck everyone.

Fifty Bucks

1 comment:

  1. Wow! This painting is great!!