Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Something I Have Never Understood Either

Bill Finley has a fantastic opinion piece about horses retiring early. I know we have spoken about it before but he is a good writer, and I am not, so it is nice to read such a good piece.

Jess Jackson needs to run Curlin next year and the year after that and, maybe, even the year after that. He needs to be the one guy to put the good of the sport ahead of the good of his bank account and, in the process, make a bold statement. He needs to set an example for a sport that desperately needs the Curlins of the world to start hanging around for more than 10 or 11 races.

On a recent NTRA teleconference, he said there is a possibility that Curlin will race next year and that he might do so because it would "help this sport." But he seemed more inclined to retire him, citing not the amount of money he would make by doing so but how Curlin, as a stallion, could help "improve the gene pool" and, therefore, help the industry that way.

I know I, and many of you agree with that. But heck, it is easy for us to say isn't it - it is not our money we are speaking about. But Finley makes a point that has always stuck in my craw.

I don't get rich people. What's the point of working hard and making a lot of money if you can't enjoy it? And what could be more enjoyable than owning a top quality racehorse that can go out on Saturday afternoons and win some of the greatest prizes the sport has to offer? So why are people who obviously don't need money so quick to deprive themselves of the joys of watching their horses run just so they can make more money that they don't need?

To me, this is the most salient point. Why would a guy who has made a lot of money, say a few million with a horse, syndicate him for $5M, when they could race at 4 and 5, make a couple of million, enjoy themselves with thrills and thrills, and maybe syndicate for $3 million? If they are the movers and shakers of this game, if they are the Jerry Silva's, I have no idea why. I was recently out east for a vacation and there was a boat in the harbor - a big one that someone said was worth about $30 million. If the owner of that boat was in horses he would probably be retiring his horse at 3. How someone could spend $30M on a boat for their enjoyment, but then worry about 'losing' a million by racing a horse at 4 is beyond me.

If it were me, I know what I would do. I would take the money and run. I have lost money as an owner every year that I have been one - every year. I have never had a good horse like that. Selling a horse to stud might actually make me a retirement fund, or pay off a credit card bill. But for those who are already wealthy I wonder why they are so quick to retire a horse who has done nothing but put a smile on their face.


Cangamble makes a good point today on his blog about takeouts not being published. It is like an electrical utility or something. Are we that monopolistic that we do not publish rakes? It is nice to see that he had the post noticed by equidaily; he deserves it as he writes some good stuff about our game.

Harnesslink has a neat toolbar for your browser. If you are a harness junkie, it looks like it would be your drug du jour.

I went to Georgian Downs last night. Chris and crew have done a marvelous job since the last time I had been there. The buffet at like $18 was awesome. They play tunes between races, the place was full, the atmosphere was superb. And it was a Tuesday. Well done folks.

The Beach makes his return in the Confederation Cup on Sunday. If you are in the area you will see him for two heats. You won't get closer to the champ anywhere. Not to mention it is a fantastic day to be a race fan. I hope the weather is good.

Jess Jackson keeps on offering Big Brown a chance to race him, after Rich Dutrow said that Big Brown was "way better than Curlin" (yes, he actually said that). He is doing it with class, which makes Rich look even worse :)

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