TDN Writers’ Room Podcast, Episode 8: October 16, 2019

TDN Writers’ Room Podcast, Episode 8: October 16, 2019


good afternoon it is 4:18 Wednesday
October 16th this is the tdn writers room podcast i’m joe bianca associate
editor at the Thoroughbred daily news I’m bill Finley a correspondent for the
Thoroughbred Daily News and a devout Boston Red Sox fan
Alan Caruso managing editor of the TV and brandy not erasing it at the T N and
Managing Partner of Franklin Ave equine so we’re gonna start this podcast with a
little bit of an update on some star horses and what their plans are going
forward the big headline that the takeaway of this week is enable who will
not be coming for the Breeders Cup turf but will be staying and training it’s
not a hundred percent that she’s gonna run in 2020 but she’s gonna stay in
training if she is doing well the expectation is that she’s gonna run next
year with the goal being a third arc it’s it’s obviously good for racing and
it’s it’s an important thing to have these superstars staying around
personally I think I got to give a lot of credit to the zayats because I feel
like there was a lot there was a trend of horses retiring early when they
didn’t need to and when they kept American Pharoah around after he won the
Triple Crown and they easily could have retired him I think a lot of people
expected him to be retired and they ran them and Haskell
in the Travers and then in the Breeders Cup Classic I think that I think that’s
signal to a lot of people that these horses are worth more to the sport
necessarily than they are you know on the racetrack ER or in the stallion farm
I think it was a big deal that that kind of international superstar stuck around
and I think that’s started to reverse the trend at least a little bit and
enable hanging around I think there’s there’s become more of a felt obligation
I think for people who own great horses who who have these massive followings
and these international superstardom profiles to keep them around what do you
guys think well first of all you showed your age there because ah yeah how young
you are compared to an old grizzled veteran like myself you and I agree with
you what you said about diet and especially after justify you know said
call it a day after the Belmont Stakes but remember that
Seattle Slew and affirmed ants so they’re two Triple Crown winners and
then spectacular bid whoo you know what really is was worthy of
being a Triple Crown winner they came back as four-year-olds in the 70s and
then knew we had that the big gap of know Triple Crown winners so you know I
guess that’s how much the game has changed it would be you know no one
would ever dream of bringing the Triple Crown winner back so 4-year old I guess
but look I mean it’s great and Abel’s gonna run as a six-year-old now it’s
easier to bring a mayor back the nostalgia you know because they’re not
nearly as valuable so you know you have to temper your enthusiasm with that but
you know III hope this is a message for Americans that you know it’s thinking
about the sport sometimes and uh you know how great it would be to see some
of these big stars come back I mean wouldn’t you have loved to see and
justify in the Breeders Cup and the drivers and everything and you know what
that would have meant for the sport but you know but the same then I understand
the economics of it as well mm-hmm I wouldn’t say that nares are
necessarily easier to keep around and certainly like who knows what enables
value it would be on the open market seven eight figures who knows but Alan
do you think she’s as valuable as let’s just compare do you think she says by
his justify I don’t but right yeah I mean they have the ability to sell and
make a good chunk of money back you know it’s impossible to to quantify exactly
what she’s worth and she’s the homebred product and and she’ll be bred and so
and maybe that’s the reason that that they’re willing to keep her in training
you know that her produce is probably not gonna come to market and and they
can do it like that I think it’s great you know if she if she makes it back to
the races one thing that’s interesting is that there is a million-dollar race
over 2,100 meters mile and five-sixteenths on that Saudi Arabia Cup
program it would be interesting to see if that figured in their calculations at
all I think from from Prince Abdullah’s perspective obviously it makes sense I
mean he’s I think he’s 82 if you were to just retire enable and
breed her your chances are you’re not gonna get another horse like her bred
out of her anyways um you know why not run her getting runner for another year
and like out and said it’s highly unlikely that she’d be sold anyways so
exciting that we might get to see her again I have a question that do you
think it makes it more likely for turf horses to be able to stick around
because it’s a more forgiving surface because it’s a less dangerous surface I
kind of feel like in the back of my mind with these Triple Crown horses having to
continue to run on this demanding surface that it becomes more of a risk
to your investment than a turf horse that’s just my theory is anybody have
anything to say about that well I’m gonna take what you said and kind of
angle off a little bit different direction it’s easier in America for
turf horses to stick around males because they’re not nearly as in demand
as third horses as sires now that’s kind of strange to say that because you know
there’s been this radical shift of more and more turf racing in the United
States but you know I don’t think anybody goes to the sales looking to buy
the next Arlington million winner they go to the sales looking to buy them not
take Chicago for you they go to the sales everybody wants the same thing
they want the next Kentucky Derby winner so you know not bricks-and-mortar it
would be interesting you know he’s five but he had the big
gap Ennis is forum and when they sent him to the sidelines he wasn’t good
enough to be a stallion prospect at that point but you know there’s a horse when
would he even come back as a six year old next year I mean how much would he
be in demand as a stallion so yeah I mean that that does relate a little bit
to enable but you know I think Allen hit it right on the head or Brian I’m sorry
that you know Prince Abdullah is 82 and you know hey I’m not under 7 I mean why
not you know be like you said I mean you’re not gonna you’re not looking at
this from a financial standpoint the man doesn’t need any money obviously and you
know we get a full just like Brian said I mean we hope that he’s still around
but you know there is that question of when the fall comes the races if he’s
still you know he’d be bought to 85 86 years old you know geez I good for him
I mean you know go against conventional wisdom with this but you know kind of
bouncing all over the place but I didn’t want to make that point about you know
the value of turf horses in general versus the value in two reports that
lease in the North American scheme of things so far as their value as
resources so you know um you know maybe we need another John Henry who’s not a
gelding to come around you know that can just won’t would be a great racehorse
and won’t be viewed at is worth that you know zillion dollars is a stallion
you know maybe they would run that kind of horse at six years old or something
I just think there’s there’s slight trend in the direction of owners seeing
these superstars as the people’s horse as much as their horse and I think
that’s something that the zayats like I said harp done a lot with American
Pharoah that he belonged to the people he blow into the fans as much as he
belonged to them and I think that’s kind of what they did with winks – you know
they ran winks a lot they could have retired her a lot earlier but she belong
to the people in Australia and and she was immensely popular and they you know
I mean they were rewarded obviously with lots of purse they were rewarded by
seeing the impact that their horse had on the everyday racing fan and I think
that’s that’s kind of what factors into these decisions sometimes more so than
maybe than it did before and beholder as well honey as much
credit wanna pay to you those ayats you know I think boa News’s is do a giant
amount of credit for keeping holder and training through her six-year-old
campaign and you know and to keep her yeah I think trainers would say that
it’s difficult to keep fillies or mares fresh and keep their minds in the game
and they cycle and maybe they want to become moms but again to do the job that
Mandela did with with the holder another phenomenal job and and she too was
something with people’s worst Joe I think we have to extort a table this
discussion and in our opinions until we see the next three-year-old superstar
come around you know nobody out of this year’s three-year-old class is just you
know is ready to where the possible exception of Omaha Beach if he does
something special in the next couple months nobody in the cerebral class is
gonna be much you know in great demand as a stallion so you know code of honor
probably would be the most valuable I would think so I think you’re going to
see the the Triple Crown horses all come back next year but you know if we
justify forget another american pharoah what will be their direction they will
go in you know will we even get that horse to race beyond the Belmont and you
know so I think you know whether or not the tide is sort of shifted or not well
I don’t think we can answer that until the next you know horse comes around
that is gonna be the gold standard for stallions and it’s just gonna be you
know work unfathomable amounts of money you know we’ll get that horse maybe next
year maybe the year after or something like that and that then we can better
judge you know if in fact the the sport has turned a corner in that regard I
mean his fans which we all are in this room i we all sure hope that it does but
you know I’ll believe it when I see it I mean I just like brought up American
Pharoah because he is well bred but besides the breeding the the attraction
of having the first Triple Crown winner in a million years I think that was
enough for anybody else to really take that horse off the track and and cash in
so I think you know whether or not the pedigree is a hundred percent immaculate
or whatever I think that was a good example of owners feeling an obligation
to deliver the horse that the people want to see and that’s I mean that’s how
you get people to return to the track is names that they recognize and they want
to show up and see them run so I agree that there isn’t a hundred percent of a
of a noticeable trend but I think it is starting to go in that other direction
where for a long time it seemed like as soon as the horse won the Derby or
they’re a big Triple Crown race they were being whisked off to the breeding
shed and you brought up a hot beef so fun to follow up bill has a story in
today’s tdn about Omaha Beach his plan he’s gonna stay in training after the
Breeders Cup talked to Rick Porter the idea is to run him in a Breeders Cup
sprint and then the Malibu and then the Pegasus he said he wants to go after the
three-year-old horse three-year-old Championship horse of the year and this
Ridge Championship which i think is a little ambitious but what did you think
well first of all it’s good to see because you know again here’s a horse
that I think could have pulled this plug on his career after the Breeders Cup I
mean he’s already signed the deal with spent riff for him to stand there and
you know that they they look at it as if look you know the horses run three times
this year you know beers a couple only because
we’re just getting snow and you know the Malibu is a perfect
spot for him and you know then let’s let’s end with the Malibu because that’s
the end of the year he said that forget about horse the year that without
running in the Breeders Cup Classic this is from Rick Porter from Fox Hill Farm
the owner but you know if he wins the Breeders Cup sprint you know tons of
this here I mean can he really beat Matt Olien those yeah but anyways if he were
you know let’s just treat ourselves to the hypothetical situation would be so
exciting if it has won the Breeders Cup sprint followed up by the Malibu is he
through no champion I think probably yeah that’s the one of the three that I
think he has the most realistic chance at yeah I think it depends on what court
of honor does obviously yeah there’s a classic and you know I think the classic
would still carry more weight yeah also another update that bill had today
bricks-and-mortar so we went back and forth about what race he was gonna be in
he’s leaning towards the Breeders Cup turf I personally think that’s the right
decision for him my feeling is that in the mile you either have to have speed
or you have to have like a big closing kick and I don’t think he has either of
those I think he’s more of a grinder and that’s why I think he’s more successful
going 9 to 10 for a long so I think in the Breeders Cup turf even if it’s a
little bit beyond his purview distance wise I think he probably has the right
style for it to get that stalking one-run trip and get a jump on to
closers I think that’s probably the right move but what do you guys think I
think that makes sense I mean especially over that course that tends to play
pretty firm it’s not gonna be his testing because it might be somewhere
else and like you said I think he probably has the right running style to
maybe get a jump on the best euros and you know I’m sure Jack and get him to go
a mile and a half and obviously without an able I think it also becomes a little
bit more attractive even though you were trying to be here your monster as always
next year yeah well you know it I thought this was
the direction that we’re going all the time I mean you know he’s playing it
close to the coffin he wouldn’t I just exchanged a couple texts with Chad and
you know he wouldn’t be definitive first thing he said was you know they’re gonna
enter in both races and so that leaves his options open but you know when the
guy says at this point you know we’re close enough to the Breeders Cup that I
think a trainer he’s gonna do me they just want to be
careful extra careful what they say so I’ll take the leaning quote/unquote
leaning toward the turf is is a very good sign I mean you can’t say 100% but
I you know I’m guess at 85% sure that that he’ll run in the turf they’ll
probably make him the first preference for the turf remember you have to
designate what your first and second preference is and yeah I mean you
there’s nothing about this horse that you look at him and say oh no he’ll
never go a mile and a half and you know even though he’s three for three in a
mile um you know it just well I mean what they need is a mile corner turf
race but they don’t have it so you know turning back in distance just I agree
with what Alan said um you know you would scratch your head a little bit and
say is this horse really got the right running style for this race whereas for
the mile and a half I mean I don’t think you’ll hesitate even for a second you
know between the horses ability is breeding and the Chad brown you know
magic eye you know you’re talking about one of the greatest even though he’s so
it’s so young and been in the game so briefly you look to already talking
about one of the greatest trainers that ever lived and you know I can’t believe
that he can’t find a way to get this horse to run its a race
I think – if you put 14 horses in the gate for the mile just I think 14 is
with what they run and you draw they’re playing or 14 you know your life just
got difficult although it’s been done tarragon tea kara Kanzi six perfections
like I guess you have to be a flaxen horse and do that but you know I I
messaged somebody six months ago and said is it possible
that this horse goes in the classic now he’s not going in the classic we know
that but my feeling the entire time is that this is a true mile and a quarter
horse and and if you were ever going to try it you you know they could have
given some consideration to try and obviously buy a sire that that can get
dirt under that ran well in the classic himself
I wanted the horse to go to Japan and run the 1000 show bill so
but for that to kept me out the wake at night a mile at a quarter on firm turf
that’s exactly what he wants yeah or Hong Kong take that of course in
any event I do think that the turf is is the more preferable of the two races
even if it’s not perfect now do we think if he let’s say he wins the turf
midnight Bisou when is the distaff Kotov on or when’s the classic whose horse of
the year well it’s funny um I just changed my mind in the first week I
voted the entire a poll I don’t know if any of you other guys do my head
bricks-and-mortar on top all year long and I now damn I wish you I knew you’re
gonna ask that cuz I don’t have all the numbers written out but if they both
finish undefeated I looked at their records and said okay a belief don’t
hold me to this because I said I didn’t burn my notepad but you I believe they
would both have five grade one wins on the year the difference would be
midnight BC would have started eight times and bricks-and-mortar would have
started only six so if they’re all things being equal if they both have you
know the stamp of being undefeated through the year if neither one is out
of the the clamour divisions that usually get Horse of the Year being male
dirt three or male dirt four and older why wouldn’t you know there’s how do you
split the hair uh between the two and it’s a one wait a minute you know this
horse ought to be you know in this day and age starting eight times it’s like
you and you know the horse campaign all year long and I just think that’s that’s
what’s the difference to me now of course you know if one loses and the
other wins you know then it’s a no brainer you just go with whichever one
wins but you know I mean I don’t think midnight piece is gonna lose the distaff
and you know I Brooks and Warner probably won’t lose the turf I mean the
both be heavily favored in those races but you know I thought that he should be
rewarded for a full and lengthy campaign in a day and age where eight starts
really is a big deal I think midnight Bisou is more of a lock
in the in the distaff yeah I definitely agree she’s already she’s already beaten
a lot of most of the horses that she’s gonna be facing bricks-and-mortar
initiative the distance question is likely gonna have he’s got
repeat a couple of Salta euros even if enables not coming so interesting
discussion that we had I honestly feel like I can’t wait for the Breeders Cup
because we’re having these hypothetical discussions every week I want I want
some damn clarity in these divisions I mean for me I have vote midnight beasts
whose campaign while brilliant does not include or does not match up with those
of Rachel or hopped across or Zuri so I’m not great I couldn’t cast a vote for
her yeah but you know to be devil’s advocate though I mean she’s not running
against Rachel Alexandra Anna’s Airy and and uh-huh Bertie grace
you just have to judge her against what the competition is yeah so I mean you’re
absolutely right you know if they got it they you know if they went in the
Breeders Cup Classic and wanted or something which was never on even under
discussion then you know you put her in that you put her in that category but
you know if she has the best credentials of everybody else you know III think you
have to just go based on that that’s what makes it tough for me you’re having
never faced open company this year I guess I’d give it to brick some water
of the two of them I still don’t know what of code him if code of honor wins
by five I’m not saying he will is he horse of the year I know he got
put up in the jockey club yeah he you know he lost the Derby and but I mean I
think you can make a serious case for him I think he would have to have
midnight buzu and bricks-and-mortar both not when they’re races but yeah he
definitely would have a chance if that were the case and he won the classic all right we’re gonna move on now a
story that was in the TV n last week by Dan Ross I thought it was it was kind of
interesting we touched on it earlier in the podcast but I wanted to mention that
these counter protests and these these rallies that are happening in Santa
Anita are outside Santa Anita one interesting wrinkle in Dan Ross’s
article that we didn’t have reported previously is he says that a lot of
people who are on the ground are saying that they are getting the these events
and these these rallies are getting the PETA protesters to show up in smaller
and smaller numbers now I assume that will pick up again at the Breeders Cup
and sure a little be a ton of protesters but I think that significant is that you
know the only the only way to resist action is counter action and I think
when it’s the people who are most intimately involved with the horses I
think that that’s powerful because it’s one thing for the owners and the
bluebloods to talk about how great racing is for
horses it’s another thing for the people who have the hands on the horses every
single day to have that counter argument and I think it’s like it’s the kind of
issue where there’s a lot of nuance because there are a lot of things that
racing can do better to protect the animals and protect the athletes
but at the same time the answer isn’t to ban the entire sport so there’s a lot of
nuance in between there and the problem is when you don’t have an effective
rebuttal that leaves space for extremism when you don’t have anybody to explain
the nuance then extremism takes up all that space and I think that’s kind of
what’s happened with Santa Anita until the backstretch workers and the
trainer’s started rallying and started showing united front so I think this is
a significant thing and I I don’t I wanted to bring it up one more time
because if that is true and they are getting the protesters the PETA
protesters to back off a little bit I think that’s that’s that’s a worthy
example for the rest of racing on how to treat this thing I totally agree and you
know the things been missing from this whole discussion since the the terrible
problem the began at Santa Anita or later this year was who’s telling the
other side of the story and you know up until these guys came around the back
church workers really nobody was and you I think it’s just a small kernel is
something that should should grow and you know I’d like to see you know Dan
said there was only like 60 people there and he didn’t make that in a derogatory
sense I I took that is well we know why aren’t there I mean how many black
church workers are that would you guess I mean gotta be at well over a thousand
I mean you know why weren’t there 300 or 400 of them there but you know I’m not
that’s not to criticize because you know thank goodness they are doing something
and you know it’s but to me it’s only step one in the process of how do we get
our message out and drown out the you know the you know hyperbole and you know
you know ciccone and screams from the other side so you know god bless him i
they’re doing a great job and uh you know i think it is more effective than
you know having be wayne hughes picket or protest outside santa anita cuz you
know nobody’s gonna feel sorry for a multimillion or even like a bob baffert
or something like that you know they they’re a lot more sympathetic that you
know look you know that this is how we survive and how we make our livelihoods
and you know you’re gonna literally throw us out on the streets if you ban
racing here so yeah you know kudos to them and I say uh you know sixty let’s
let’s get six hundred out there mmm I think it’ll be interesting to see what
happens at the Breeders Cup um you know I’m sure he just got something planned
or yeah you know that’s gonna take me a half hour to get to you know I don’t
mean to hog the conversation which I have been accused of really early so
never but um Oh still hosting in a couple weeks by the way you guys seem do
this prank makeup bird in the rice actually well possibly I have nothing to
do with that so you know I’m not gonna say like God why didn’t you make XYZ a
rising star you know when he broke his baby by sixteen here you’ve never done
that yeah anyways um I think though this whole situation shows one of the great
weaknesses in racing is that there is no spokesman there is nobody is the face of
the sport and you know that goes back to the whole idea that people have been
talking for 25 years of we should have a
commissioner which is never gonna happen but it’s the fact that we don’t have
leads to problems like this and analogy that I gave you earlier Joe was imagine
it could actually happen imagine if people start picking outside NFL games
and say that NFL should be banned because you know of the head injuries
and this is serious problem for the NFL as it is and you know I don’t know if
they’ll ever come to people calling for the ban of football but it might you
know Roger Goodell would throw a press conference and you know rebut this and
and get the message across that the NFL is you know look at all the rules
they’ve changed and they’ve try to come up with safer helmets and get their side
of the story out there and you know aside from these back stretch workers
and again god bless them but it’s not good enough you know maybe the jockey
club should stand up and say something you know that’s the closest thing I
think we have or maybe the NT ra or something you know Alex Waldrop but it
doesn’t quite have the cloud of you know the real Commissioner of racing but you
know I still feel that we need more of a response from from people within the
sport to say look you know this is BS you know you can’t ban this sport you
know it would be cataclysmic to the you know to a something that is a vital part
of the California economy and you know steeped in history and all that and you
know we got the message we have woken up and you know what can’t guarantee you
there no horse’s lover died but we can’t guarantee you that you know we’re gonna
do everything in our power to make sure that as few as possible yeah and I think
that’s like I think the positive of this is that safety and course breakdowns and
preventing them might not have always been on the forefront and now they are
and that’s a good thing I think that’s indisputably a good thing nobody wants
horses to die nobody wants fans to come and watch that screen go up it’s a
horrible horrible thing it’s never it’s never gonna be a zero percent for the
fatality rate but we could have done so much more as an industry in the previous
decades so I think there is a positive to take from that but again like you
said Bill unless you are getting the message out about what we’re doing to
improve the situation I think people aren’t going to tell the
difference gonna be able to tell the difference between now and those eras
and that the overwhelmingly negative stories dominate
it’s what sells and so I think from the perspective of the people that actually
have their hands on the horses to tell that story and to make that public you
know to create or generate a public awareness of that I think that can only
be helpful because certainly the the notion that these horses are abused and
the and they’re used for capitalist purposes only I needed these owners and
trainers and grooms and hi walkers they they all have a vested interest this is
their livelihood and so forth for that side of the message to come out is
utterly important we ran in our another new section on in Tuesday’s paper will
ranted or letter to the editor from Jim Kalyan oh that appeared in The New York
Times and the curious part about it not I mean I can’t imagine that he’s the one
that generated this headline but the headline is horses need to be treated
better but scrapping racing entirely isn’t the answer I don’t know who wrote
that headline I’m gonna assume it came from the time to news yeah it would not
be Jim it’s the real part says somebody had or at the time sort of written that
so I mean the gist of the letter to the editor was was good and and called out
you know those people who take horse racing to task you know I thought the
headline was kind of unnecessarily misleading but um sorry I mean a small
attempt from a governing body to address the issue well I hate to even bring this
off because it’s it’s a subject that is so troubling that I think that you know
nobody wants to even talk about it but the elephant in the room that is horse
racing is what happens if a horse breaks down at the Breeders Cup I mean the
sport can the sport survive that oh I shouldn’t say the sport can California
Racing survive I don’t I’m not sure that it can and it’s it’s you know I know we
talked about this in earlier podcast where they should have come back to
Santa Anita or not which I was very much in favor of but you know if if a horse
had broken down at Churchill Downs it would be a huge deal but
a huge ordeal that happens in San Ania I mean my goodness what the hell is gonna
happen and what is the firestorm I’m gonna be and again it’s like hate to
bring this up and like you know just put the you know black cloud over this
podcast but you know I guess one thing is I hope bracing is prepared for this
and knows you know bi I guess Craig Frey would probably be the person is in his
last go at the Breeders Cup that would have to come out and you know be the
spokesman for this but I hope the I know I bet they have that they prepared for
this and how they’re gonna handle it but um
man it’s a scary thing one thing I thought was interesting I think it was
last week the CHR be made an announcement that they’re meeting their
meeting I think it was late October it was cancelled because if they couldn’t
get enough board members there I don’t know all the details at all but it was
kind of surprising to see that before this absolutely huge week for California
racing that they wouldn’t have a meeting inexplicable I mean that maybe they’re
you know we don’t know the whole story but it was kind of surprising his knee
yeah I mean it it was a Commissioner availability is right they say all right
those shift gears a little bit here al brought something up it was interesting
and Bill has harped on this a lot in the paper and we haven’t talked about it on
the podcast yet going back to the gambling discussion that we were having
last week about take out similar but different we’re gonna talk about late
odds drops which is something that I think drives horse players nuts it’s not
always in that direction occasionally I feel like it’s much much much less
frequently at least with horses I bet occasionally you’ll bet and you’ll get a
better price after the gates open usually it’s the other way around
usually you’re getting half the price you thought you were and it just leaves
a sour taste mouth even if you cash the ticket it makes you feel crappy al go
ahead yeah I mean I don’t do as much betting as those sitting to my right if
you did it right but I guess when Keeneland comes around I get a little
more juiced up so I had a bet last week on Alexandre in in the Buffalo Trace
Franklin County stakes and she loaded nine to five
I watched the race she won the race price says to me oh you got five – –
Michael really fine to do so I mean great I thought I was getting you know
five sixty I got seven dollars even then on Monday Jo and I watched the
Knickerbocker would both fans of the cohan he was three to one walking into
the stalls and by the time they hit the first turn and he would Joe says hey
look at that he got crushed and he’s three to do so instead of seven hundred
eight dollars we got five dollars and ten cents got the breakage Joe yeah I
thought ten cents was huge I’m not suggesting there’s anything diabolical
that this is a past posting issue like you said Bry but but there is a certain
level of frustration when I don’t I don’t know how to stop it
I mean I don’t know if you closed betting with a window with a minute to
go before they go in the Gator I don’t know how you address that problem yeah
and it’s the only it’s the only betting game that I can think of where that
happens where you don’t have a set price that you know that you’re getting like
imagine if you bet the NFL and you you’re betting the team like delay seven
points and then the game starts and it’s only three and a half like you would
walk out of the sports book in in in furor and anger and just I don’t know
it’s not a good look at all you know who you think we have a lot of things that
we talk about aren’t good looks for racing this this is a big deal that I
think not enough people talk about I know Bill’s chomping at the bit to talk
about it well thank you yes it is a huge there and a whole it is a huge feel and
Alan to explain what happens here is that it’s not past posting it’s that
these huge betters these computer guys who have their algorithms they will see
that horse at three to one that you said and said wait a minute you know so what
is that like horse is a 25 percent chance of winning in three two one
this horse has a 50 percent chance of winning according to our computer
programs so then if they’re able to bet at the very last second you know they
they have special access into the pools and it’s very complicated and it’s very
shadowy and I don’t know you know all of what goes on but this is what explains
these sort of and you know Alan and Joe you said this
too and I said this it’s the only game in town where you can win a bet and be
pissed off afterwards now okay so what do we do about it these guys aren’t
breaking any rules they deserve I mean they’re just they’re smarter than we are
because I can’t sit at a computer and write a program that’s gonna tell me
that you know code of honor should really be two to one in the Breeders Cup
and and he’s gone off the portal on so on now I’m gonna bet you know a million
dollars on them so they deserve the fruits of their labors but you know it’s
terrible for everybody else and Alan you know like you know you never hear die
hard you’ll never quit racing but you know somebody who bet on that horse that
it from three two one two three two two very well say like this is BS you know
this is no good I’m gone you know and walk over to the you know because
Resorts World Casino and well I know that the slot machines aren’t rigged but
I don’t know that about racing now what do we do about it um you know there is
no easy answer in the tracks are never going to tell these guys they can’t bad
maybe if you know they shut the windows a minute to post might leave a little
bit better taste in everybody’s mouth but they’re never going to do that and
they’re never gonna turn out on these guys money so I think this opens up the
whole discussion of is it time for racing it gets serious about the idea of
fixed odds wagering and you know the Thoroughbred idea foundation Pat
Cummings in them you know are on that wavelength and have been talking about
that but you know again it’s one of those pipe dreams um it’s not gonna
happen and really nothing’s gonna be done about it
O’Brien’s are better on the bet fair exchange I mean you do you bet almost
exclusively on that now or I tried to I mean if you have the option of that both
you should definitely be betting the exchange I yeah well they’re really lot
of tracks aren’t offered on there yet so it’s still you know the Kentucky tracks
for New York you still it’s a bet on the toad I’m not as upset by the odds
changes I don’t know why I mean it’s a paramutual game sometimes it goes in
your favor sometimes it doesn’t I’m sorry doesn’t it seem like you never
are on the right side of it never wrong well I think they I think their programs
probably tend to favor front runners so you sort of see it more
in those examples could be I don’t know I mean your it goes both ways I think
paramutual rate wagering is still in some ways the best form of wagering
obviously the technology could be but I think a big part of it is I’m sure the
pools could update quicker with more updated technology and I think that’s
probably the biggest issue but I’m all for fixed odds you know I think that’s
definitely from a betters perspective probably the way to go a lot of times
now the problem with that fair though is that it’s only available to people in
New Jersey and you know they just take a bunch of crap tracks I mean they got a
couple decent signals like Woodbine and mom it isn’t too bad but they you know
if that California if no California no Kentucky no New York so right there you
just obliterated the three most important racetracks in the country and
you know it’s it’s I don’t know what their business is well I thought that a
lot of it has to do with the regulator’s more than I’m sure about fair would look
because they take pretty sure they take bets from New York tracks overseas yeah
but not in not in the day yeah right yeah only also I sorry good they’ve been
trying to I think for a couple years been trying to get Kentucky tracks and I
think it didn’t get approved yeah I could be wrong but I’m pretty sure it
didn’t get approved by the cage RC or whoever overseas that way and it’s like
kind of hard to get off the ground cuz I’ve heard you say before that a lot of
times it’s hard cuz it’s not enough liquidity to really make any big money
because there aren’t enough people to match your price at the amounts you want
it’s tough on at the really small tracks it’s tough if you don’t have to bet you
know Mountaineer on a Monday you can’t really bet more than a few bucks but the
bigger tracks would Biden has pretty good liquidity and on the days the big
racing days were there are a lot of European horses it’s great because you
know they’re your your commingled with European betters and the polls are
pretty big one last thing we wanted to touch on
this is a discussion that we’ve been wanting to have for a while but there’s
been too much news a little bit of a lull now we’re gonna talk about how we
make rising stars at the TD and a lot of people should care a shocking amount
frankly about horses becoming TD and rising stars and you know it’s it’s it’s
not something we take lightly and we realize that it’s it’s I know we’re
we’re flattered honestly that people care and we just wanted to give you like
a little bit of an inside look as to our discussions and and how we make these
designations I think it’s a little bit different for everybody I think there’s
no set criteria really it’s not like we have a list up on the wall in the office
of bullet points of what horses have to match certain criteria so I I’ll just
start with me and then Brian and Al can add on to this for me I tend to give
horses more credence who are doing things earlier in their career
you know if it’s elite developing three-year-old debuting in September or
October I think I’m gonna give that less credence than a horse then maybe a
two-year-old a year earlier or a three-year-old in January or February
and I got an example of a horse that I think what might has the talent of a
rising star but we didn’t make one and that was in Sunday’s first race at
Belmont this horse named bridle with cat Jonathan Thomas trainee pretty expensive
$750,000 daughter Street sense she debuted in at Tampa in March going to
turns didn’t do much running came back off of a layoff Saturday her Sunday at
Belmont and ran off to like a 12 length win win 109 and one really impressive
performance but for me you got to think of the context
she’s only she’s a three-year-old late in her three-year-old year debuted once
at a lesser track and then wasn’t seen again for seven months there’s no
doubting the the ability she has she showed that on Sunday but I think in
terms of projecting forward what the horse is gonna do going forward I think
you have to take that context into into account and think how likely is this
horse to stay on the track how likely is this horse to step up in the graded
stakes company and I there’s a lot of context involved with that but also you
think about you know it’s a visual thing sometimes there are some horses that
just look like better travelers you have to take the the feel that they beat in the
now if they take the paste scenario the final time so there’s a ton of stuff
that we factor in and we don’t always get it right but I think overall we do a
pretty good job of weighing all the all the factors and making our decisions
based on that I think we should note that the definition of a TV and rising
star it’s a horse that we think is going to go on to win a great stake you know I
think we all look at a lot of the same stuff I think there are certain trainers
who maybe this isn’t the best way to say but we’ve kind of gotten burned by
before they’ll have horses win and we’ll you know we maybe we’ve made a couple
rising stars for them and then they didn’t really pan out and I think we’d
be less likely to make another horse from that trainer a rising star it’s
tough the one that I’m kind of kicking myself for this year was Dunbar Road you
know it was I remember the race it was a Sunday it was Gulf Stream early in the
card it just didn’t look like a particularly tough race the favorite was
a jorge navarro horse that I don’t think is panned out and most of the field
hasn’t panned out and I think one other horse behind her has the reality is it’s
tough to do this and I think anyone who’s in the horse business knows how
unpredictable it is and you have a lot of information and you really still
don’t know anything and you know we do our best and I think we have a higher
than average strike rate but it’s still a guessing game yeah by definition it’s
a it’s a subjective exercise and I think each one of us sort of tests our own
ability to make the right call and and you know we much prefer to get it right
then and we do get it wrong occasionally we’ll have a horse that we just can’t
make rising star American Pharoah wins is made in Del Mar Futurity or kind of
beat mm-hmm we got we got a right with justify
Rachel Alexandra was not a TD and rising star until she really exploded on the
scene nothing she hadn’t really done anything to distinguish herself
otherwise zenyatta was a teeny in rising star I mean was that I was the
Thanksgiving Day Race right that was the Thanksgiving Day Race yeah not one of us
here did that no Street Sense was TD and rising star I like to toot my own horn
on that okay offer a very narrow Arlington synthetic made wind but that was one of my more rewarding
ones but I it is and it is flattering to see that it’s really become a brand and
something that you know advertisers don’t hesitate to use it
in in their campaigns yeah I see it on commercials right now don’t hesitate to
say tdn rising stars so you know it’s cool when somebody calls up from set
such-and-such where and says hey is that one gonna be a TV and rising star and
and chances are we’ve thought about doing it yeah yes yes or no but but it’s
it is flattering it’s cool until they start leaning on yes let’s not encourage
the trying to work the reps here yeah because we certainly get plenty of that
well being the only one in the room that doesn’t contribute to deciding who will
be at TD and rising star I’m going to kind of switch hats here and be the
interrogate or something so to speak um I’d be interested to know the process if
you guys are working is it one person’s opinion just says okay this horse just
ran off the screen you know million dollar yearling at Saratoga you know
kind of like no brainer type things Brian or Allen would you just you know
make that decision yourself or do you have to huddle with the other people in
the office and have to have a get a consensus I think with the really
obvious ones we don’t even really consult anyone we’ll just go ahead and
do it you know like you said the million dollar horse at Saratoga winning by 10
we don’t want you to talk to the rest of the group otherwise I think we’re all
kind of watching the races as they’re happening anyways and then what kind of
whoever’s in charge that day of making that decision will kind of ask everybody
else to take a look and then we’ll go over it we’ll talk someone might look at
the pedigree well you know if we have a clock a report we’ll look that up and
might look up a trainer stat compare times that’s one thing that’s a little
tricky it’s tough to compare times in the middle of a card when you’ve got a
million other things going on you maybe didn’t watch the starter allowance and
the maiden 30 that happened to race you know the two races before that at
Belmont and you know we don’t have the luxury of having the figures or knowing
what the variants gonna be so that part can be tricky but I’d say generally it’s
a team effort yeah that’s what it’s a most important thing is
it’s really about contacts you know was the horse well bent we can usually see
we can sometimes see workout reports was the horse working with somebody good you
know like I said the dynamics of the race who was in the field as long as
were beating our chests about rising stars I started I started at tdn in
February 2016 and the first rising star that I made the call on and Brian Merv
Ryan was there and here’s like go for it was arrogating yeah yeah yeah so I was I
was pretty happy about that one that good start
still only bet like 20 bucks on I’m at 11 to one of the Travers so it’s like
it’s not like I got a rich off but yeah so that was a good start for me I think
mine was Uncle Mo and a Travers Dave it was because nobody else was in the
office yet and rookie there but yeah well I’m sorry um I didn’t mean dinner
up there I want to also ask I mean because it’s fascinating uh because this
has become you know so important to people and you know people are using it
in their advertising campaigns like you send everything do you guys feel
pressure like you know this is not something like oh by the way you know
it’s no big deal and everybody’s gonna say oh isn’t that nice like I mean it’s
a decision now that you know good really affects a lot of things um you know and
and there there is a lot of pressure for you guys to get it right I mean do you
feel that like is it a little less fun because of that I mean there’s
definitely pressure but I think the key is you just have to have a sound
argument and like I kind of said if you’re in the horse business
you know it’s not an exact science you know that you know I’m sure you know
everyone’s been fooled nine times out of ten and it’s it’s never easy there’s
definitely some pressure though it’s been interesting because at times people
say or we are asked as a staff to lay out the argument against mostly yes the
people want to know why their horse that went off by seven was not made a rising
star in and you know like Joe said there are variables it’s you know the
combination of time and pedigree and you know but personally I like to see the
horse do something extraordinary whether that’s from fast time or they come
40 extra feet or just something or the split horses are they fought on gamely
inside and came back at the rail with somebody left on their outside the
entire race or something like that so but I would say yes there’s a certain
amount of pressure more or less because I mean I feel sort of self-imposed I
just every time I want I make a rising star I want to get it right yeah and
I’ve had bad ones as well yeah ever and it’s so I’m sure then with that
explanation that you’ve given me I’m sure maximum security did not get rising
star status after Baker well that race didn’t even come in I don’t say yeah oh
well that’s probably world of trouble was another one where he wanted a maiden
claimer first out of even getting it yeah
I’ll say I think certain trainers it’s harder like Chad brown it’s tough to
know all the sources kind of run the same way they’re all well bred they’re
all expensive they all make that big finishing move and it’s it’s kind of
tough to separate and figure out I mean they’re the ones who are just so
brilliant that you have to do it that it’s obvious but you know he could have
if we made every one of his verses arising hundred rising stars it’s just
again it’s about context and variables and you know that pop Evert sources are
gonna be cranked to run first time out all the time but that doesn’t
necessarily mean that they’re gonna go on the same way a justify will all right
hey then – we have our European team who designates the european rising stars and
you know Frankel and horses like that they have a very good strike rate as
well we’ve had rising stars in Japan we’ve
had Golden Slipper winners that were rising stars in Australia fact grade one
winners grown winners in Hong Kong so it’s not just America we keep an eye on
what’s going on everywhere mm-hmm all right so that’s it for this week’s
episode of the tdn writers room we will see you next week when we have the
Breeders Cup pre entries and then things will start to ramp up as we get towards
the Breeders Cup I want to thank Phil Finley Alan cross
Brian DiDonato this is Joe Bianca signing off see you next week you

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