The name Perretti Farms has always been respected, and virtually everyone in the harness community was saddened by the news. We asked frequent blog reader Bob Marks, who handles the marketing for Perretti, some questions, and we post them here.
We first asked Bob: When decisions were made to disperse, how much of it hinged on pure economics, and how much on simply wanting to call it quits. Did the uncertainty in racings future play a major role?
"New Jersey is at a disadvantage when compared to neighboring states that have racino revenue, so that played a role" wrote Bob.
Bettors and breeders are on the same page with that one. Not only does the lack of casino revenue hurt entries for us to bet on, it depresses yearling prices on the supply side. When both ends of your spectrum are being hit - supply of racehorses; yearlings and racehorses, and the demand of bettors - it's not pretty.
|Supersire Rock n Roll Hanover|
"Murray Brown [Hanover Shoe Farms] will tell you that 10 years ago, I predicted partnerization would kill the yearling business and it pretty much has. Everybody is in bed with everybody else or at least privy to what they’re going to do. As a result there is minimal competitive bidding. That doesn’t happen with T-breds." wrote Bob.
As for the question if anything can be done to fix that, I do not think it's likely. You'd have to break up partnerships, alienate your buyers, and probably lose some owners. If we do look at thoroughbred racing - where Bob notes this does not happen - and try and parallel it, one wonders if there would be partnership rules implemented the first time four or five oil barons got together to buy as one. It would no doubt decimate the high end yearling market.
Marks: "[When you] figure $20,000 over stud fee as the cost of getting a yearling to market from the time of conception and you can see how precarious the breeding business has become. Moreover, decisions by The Hambletonian Society and Mr. Gural regarding mandatory racing as 4-year-olds by potential stallions will negatively impact the top end yearling market as its hard to imagine anyone giving $300-$400,000 for a yearling knowing he “can’t cash in” as a 3-year-old."
Can anything be done? The business has pulled to card more claimers, and more bettable races. As well, the mantra that it's easier to attract more owners to racing from the claiming game has taken hold in many areas - from new partnerships and as a narrative. This has resulted in some serious money for claimers. It is not uncommon to see purses that equal a pacer's claiming price (in thoroughbred racing it is even more pronounced).
|The iron tough Matt's Scooter|
Although I am a bettor and I completely understand the thinking; I am with Bob on this. Claimers racing for 100% of their purchase price is not good for racing, in my opinion. What we tend to see happening is massive inflation on horse bills, and a willingness to find the next big thing to turn around horses in a week - simply because the money is there. If you or I can claim something for $20k and get 2 or 3 times our purchase price back in a month, while sporting a massive $5000 a month bill, there is a good chance we will. What we see are people injecting every hock, or using everything under the sun to get that investment squeezed, then do it all over again. This, again in my opinion, not good for the sport because it does not put the horse first, and also pushes out mom and pops who do not want vets training their horses. There is no easy answer, and I completely understand the above opinion is not popular with some.
Rather than dwelling on the past, I wanted to ask Bob about what Perretti is offering out this year. As you all know, it's an awesome farm and I would bet dollars to donuts some stars of the equine variety will be dispersed.
"What yearlings are looking good in the field?", I asked.
Two of Bob's current favorites are the full brother to Rockaround Sue (who is racing at Mohawk this weekend) and the Wendy M Hanover brother to speedster Modern Art.
"The brother is better than she was at this point, and the Wendy M colt reminds me of Modern Art." Bob said.
As for some of the awesome stock being offered, here is the short list:
Graceful Touch dam of Muscle Mass and Muscle Massive
Ruby Crown dam of Scarlet Knight
Aerobics dam of Lucky Chucky
Fox Valley Shaker dam of Pretty Katherine
Economic Clout dam of Twist N Clout
Mercy Mercy Mercy dam of Palone Ranger
Simple Gesture dam of Shark Gesture
Examination dam of Costa Rica
Muscling dam of Windsong Soprano
Fairy Tail dam of Talespinner
That's a great list for a potential buyer, but I guess in the big picture, it's sad that it had to be compiled.
We thank Bob Marks for answering a few questions, and reading the blog. All photos are courtesy Perretti Farms.