This Side Up

This Side Up: Style And Substance To Light Up Cigar

Strictly, it's the very reverse of what he's doing—which is actually to revert from two turns to one. In a sense, however, the return of Zandon (Upstart) to Aqueduct on Saturday will bring things full circle. For it was on the equivalent card last year that he began what has turned into a pretty frustrating sequence of races where, for one reason or another, he arguably hasn't quite realized his full potential. When you consider that these include the GI Kentucky Derby itself, that shows how much raw ability he...

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This Side Up: A Game of Accident and Design

We can harness Thoroughbreds to our best and worst, to our altruism or avarice--but thankfully we will never alter the essential, inherent wonder of the breed, nor maintain the illusion that we are ever truly in control of its destiny. There's a genuine possibility, this weekend, that a German colt could elevate himself to the top of the global sophomore crop by winning the G1 Japan Cup. Yet Tünnes (Ger) (Guiliani {Ire}) was a wholly inadvertent acquisition at the Baden-Baden yearling sales, his purchaser having dropped out at €20,000 only...

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This Side Up: Where the Ice of Fashion Melts

What do these stallions have in common: Competitive Edge, First Samurai, Include, First Dude, Majesticperfection, Midnight Lute and Noble Mission (GB)? Okay, so you could also add A.P. Indy, Into Mischief, Lope de Vega (Ire), Medaglia d'Oro and Quality Road to the mix. But you would hope so, too, if you happen to be one of those highly paid advisors who tell their patrons that the only way to start a breeding program is with most expensive covers around. Because these are the dozen sires responsible for mares that made...

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This Side Up: Billion Dollar Babies are Here

It's a long time now, some 40 years or so, since Nelson Bunker Hunt's notorious observation that "a billion dollars isn't what it used to be". Which presumably means that today it's no longer even quite what it was, back when it wasn't what it used to be. After all, we've just seen the dispersal of a single art collection--assembled by the late Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft--realize $1.5 billion. Nonetheless it feels as though the transatlantic yearling market, in 2022, has reached a pretty historic landmark in tipping 10...

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This Side Up: Would this Really Be Such a Stupid Gamble?

"Now why did I do that?" For some of us, the more painful that question becomes, the easier the answer. It'll be right there in that empty bottle, greeting you on the table in the morning. For those of you whose conduct has more complex influences, however, apparently there's a handy publication out there called The Journal of Behavioral Decision Making. And you thought horse pedigrees were a niche interest. In a recent edition, researchers from the universities of East Finland and Liverpool crunched data from 15,000 Finnish men commencing...

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Higher Stakes But No Less A Gamble

Well, that was one even I managed to see coming. With sterling bleeding at the bottom of the stairs, the most expensive yearling transaction of 2022 was duly enacted at Tattersalls this week. It was always going to be a wild market: Keeneland had shown the big spenders to remain impervious to war and inflation, while the local currency had been set aflame after new leaders sent home the babysitter and started playing with fiscal matches.

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This Side Up: Higher Stakes But No Less Of A Gamble

Well, that was one even I managed to see coming. With sterling bleeding at the bottom of the stairs, the most expensive yearling transaction of 2022 was duly enacted at Tattersalls this week. It was always going to be a wild market: Keeneland had shown the big spenders to remain impervious to war and inflation, while the local currency had been set aflame after new leaders sent home the babysitter and started playing with fiscal matches. Sure enough, Book I catapulted to giddy new heights, recording surges of 45 percent...

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Arc Only One End of the Rainbow

Even in a market like this one, weirdly insulated from economic and geopolitical chaos, trading Thoroughbreds will always remain a precarious business. Speculators never hesitate, then, to pounce whenever the odds appear skewed temporarily in their favor. Sure enough, with the dollar squeezing other currencies dry, around one in eight of the yearlings sold at the Goffs Orby Sale this week is said to be heading to the U.S.; and they'll have plenty of company out of Tattersalls next week.

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This Side Up: Arc Only One End of the Rainbow

Even in a market like this one, weirdly insulated from economic and geopolitical chaos, trading Thoroughbreds will always remain a precarious business. Speculators never hesitate, then, to pounce whenever the odds appear skewed temporarily in their favor. Sure enough, with the dollar squeezing other currencies dry, around one in eight of the yearlings sold at the Goffs Orby Sale this week is said to be heading to the U.S.; and they'll have plenty of company out of Tattersalls next week. To one who constantly berates breeders both sides of the...

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Striking Gold Never a Formality

In this business, simply "doing the math" would stop us right in our tracks. Luckily, we have algebra on our side. A daunting equation can always be rescued by that helpfully vague variable, 'x', the unquantifiable ardor of wealthy people: their competitive instinct, their sportsmanship, or simply their outsized egos. At the top of the market, after all, the dollars they spend are not the same as the dollars used by the rest of us to buy coffee or gas. It's not like "real" money at all. But that doesn't...

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This Side Up: Striking Gold Never a Formality

In this business, simply "doing the math" would stop us right in our tracks. Luckily, we have algebra on our side. A daunting equation can always be rescued by that helpfully vague variable, 'x', the unquantifiable ardor of wealthy people: their competitive instinct, their sportsmanship, or simply their outsized egos. At the top of the market, after all, the dollars they spend are not the same as the dollars used by the rest of us to buy coffee or gas. It's not like "real" money at all. But that doesn't...

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The Court of King James

Even as the British Turf grieves a revered sovereign and, in the same person, its most cherished and indispensable servant, I hope you'll forgive me for instead reflecting on the loss, only the day before, of someone she would have loved to be typical of all her subjects: a horseman, and true countryman, who divided his time between the international bloodstock circuit and an old rectory in rural Yorkshire.

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