Taking Stock

Taking Stock: Keeneland Numbers Are Troubling

With a pandemic that's led to the loss of 200,000 lives, the loss of jobs, and overall economic instability that's affected most people except for the super wealthy that are heavily invested in the stock market, no one expected the Keeneland September yearling sale to be anything but down by gross and average versus last year. This was as predictable as saying that an egg dropped on concrete from six feet would break. So, what's the damage? Through the first 10 sessions that ended with Book 5 on Wednesday, 2,129...

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Taking Stock: Nyquist Off the Grade I Mark

Spendthrift purchased the breeding rights to Authentic before the Grade l Santa Anita Derby, and the $9 million kicker it agreed to pay Authentic's former ownership group for winning the Gl Kentucky Derby is indicative of the premium that's placed on a stallion prospect with North America's most prestigious Classic on his resume. A front-running colt, Authentic has the right type of sire behind him as well. He's by Spendthrift's flagship stallion Into Mischief (Harlan's Holiday), who cranks out graded stakes winners like nobody's business, particularly sprinters and milers that...

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Taking Stock: Race Records and Stallion Prospects

Sackatoga Stable's Tiz the Law (Constitution) was a Grade l winner at two, won the Grade l Florida Derby this year, and goes for the first Classic of the season as the favorite in the Gl Belmont S. on Saturday. His breeding rights have been tied up for months, and if he does nothing from here on in--highly unlikely as that is--he'll still have a place at stud at a prominent farm. Tiz the Law's racetrack future is bright. After the Belmont, he'll likely contest the Gl Travers at Saratoga...

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Taking Stock: Arrogate Death a Blow

The unexpected death of Arrogate (Unbridled's Song) on Tuesday was a devastating blow to his connections at Juddmonte and to the industry at large. He was the horse that Juddmonte had expected to base its boutique North American stallion operation around and he was the last great hope that his late sire would deliver a top-of-the-line stallion, something Unbridled's Song has been unable to do yet during an illustrious career as an excellent sire of racehorses, including 22 Grade l winners, and an outstanding sire of broodmares. Those expectations have...

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Taking Stock: TJC Applies a Band-Aid

Let's cut to the chase. The recent dictum from The Jockey Club (TJC) that North American stallions born in 2020 and forward will be limited to covering 140 mares in a calendar year is an attempt to divert mares from popular stallions to others not as in demand. It's a simplistic approach to a complex issue, and it's akin to applying a Band-Aid to a cut that requires stitches. These days, stallions that need help the most are third- and fourth-year horses and proven mid-priced bread-and-butter stallions with some age...

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Taking Stock: The Art of the Mating

Responding to the global coronavirus pandemic, people and organizations within this industry from around the world have stepped up to generate goodwill gestures every week it seems, whether it's owner-breeder Chuck Fipke offering no-fee breedings to his stallions, Finger Lakes HBPA and track management distributing $827,000 in the form of "stimulus checks" to local trainers and owners, or an Irish lawyer galvanizing interest in more than 350 housebound fans and industry participants in "The Art of the Mating," a hypothetical exercise in stallion selection for some famous mares. Jack Cantillon...

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Taking Stock: Fear Index and Foal Crops

Aside from the threats to life and health, the global coronavirus pandemic has created massive economic and socio-political turmoil and fear over a short time span. In times like this--there haven't been many quite like this in recent years, except for the economic meltdown of 2008 and the crash of 1987 (Black Monday)--it's difficult to see the forest for the trees, but the worry some people have that things have changed for the worse is clear and real. Dr. Anthony Fauci said so himself. The Director of the National Institute...

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Taking Stock: The Coronavirus Impact

Two weeks ago, the bombshell indictments of trainers Jorge Navarro, Jason Servis, et al., sandwiched between a volatile stock market and the spread of the coronavirus, were the talk of the industry, leading to renewed calls by some for the passage of the Horseracing Integrity Act in Congress. At the time, the doping scandal promised to upend racing's precarious standing, but with hindsight, the plunge of the markets and the rise of the virus may cost the racing and breeding industries greater long-term harm than what's alleged in the indictments....

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Taking Stock: Third- And Fourth-Year Sire Issues

There's been a series of conversations in these pages from industry insiders lately about the woes of third- and fourth-year sires, because these stallions don't get the patronage from breeders that first-year (and, in many cases, second-year) horses do, and this has led to all sorts of angst for stallion owners and stud farms. Many have touched on a wide range of issues related to it, but most have not addressed and lingered on the specific mechanisms of why this happens and why it's part of the new normal. This...

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Taking Stock: Sole Volante, Inexpensive Yearling to Classic Contender
Taking Stock: Sole Volante, Inexpensive Yearling to Classic Contender

Sole Volante (Karakontie {Jpn}) wasn't an expensive yearling, but he announced his Classic aspirations impressively last weekend in an early Gl Kentucky Derby prep. He won the 1 1/16-mile Glll Sam F. Davis S. at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday, but sold for only $6,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling sale. He was resold by New Hope AB LLC for $20,000 at the OBS April sale as a 2-year-old to trainer Patrick Biancone, who knows a quality staying pedigree when he sees one. Of course, Biancone trained the great All...

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