Welcome to the TDN Op Ed page, where a selected stable of writers will, from time to time, offer their opinion and perspective on matters concerning the racing industry. The viewpoints expressed herein are not necessarily those of the management, but promise to represent what we consider to be responsible comment.
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John P. Sparkman began his career in the Thoroughbred industry in 1972 at Windfields Farm in Maryland, with Northern Dancer quite literally in his back yard. From 1974 to '79 he served as Director of Cataloging for the Jockey Club Information Systems and also served on the Keeneland July sales selection committee.
In 1979, Sparkman became General Manager of William du Pont III's Pillar Stud Inc., where he supervised building a major broodmare band and stallion operation. In 13 years at Pillar, Sparkman was responsible for breeding more than 45 stakes winners, including 1994 Kentucky Derby winner Go for Gin and champions Noalcoholic and Rancho Ruler.
Sparkman became Bloodstock Editor of Thoroughbred Times in 1994. He also has contributed to European Bloodstock News, International Thoroughbred, Pacemaker, Racing Post, the Blood-Horse and other publications. His first book, Foundation Mares, was published in 2008.
Sparkman's private consulting firm, JPS Inc., also advises clients on matings
- 11/1/2012 - WELCOME TO THE REVOLUTION
When the Breeders' Cup debuted in 1984 it was a revolutionary concept. The fertile mind of the late John R. Gaines combined the idea of extraordinary purses of $1-million or more with the idea of running seven championship events on the same day, funded by a variation on the funding mechanism of Futurity races that depended on breeders' contributions to build the huge purses. — (click here to read the entire article)
- 10/23/2012 - THE LAW OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES
Where one lives can change one's perspective. Six years ago we moved from Lexington, Kentucky to the Tennessee county with the lowest population density and lowest per capita income of any county in a state where per capita income as a whole is 13.2% lower than the national average, according to 2010 census data. As a direct result of that move, my immediate, gut reaction to last week's brief suspension of exports of horses for slaughter to Canada was different than it might have been had I remained surrounded--insulated, actually--by the wealthier confines of Fayette County, Kentucky. — (click here to read the entire article)
- 10/5/2012 - A SHIFT TO THE EAST
Orfevre, 2011 Japanese Horse of the Year and Triple Crown winner, is the likely favorite for Sunday's Qatar G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Europe's richest and most prestigious weight-for-age race. No Japanese horse has ever won the Arc, but Orfevre's attempt is hardly a one-off, and if it does not happen this year, it is going to happen soon. — (click here to read the entire article)
- 9/21/2012 - TIME PASSAGES
In 1994 the Thoroughbred industry was in recovery mode. After reaching then-record heights in the mid-1980s, bloodstock lost about 35% of its value by 1992, but the tide had turned in 1993 as pinhookers reinvested profits and the optimism of racehorse owners rode the Clinton economic recovery. — (click here to read the entire article)
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