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WinterTriangle
Nov. 25, 2009, 03:35 AM
to dispense with the idea of a horse being a racehorse? When are we doing more harm than good?


I'm asking here because I've read a number of educational posts, on claiming, etc. that I got a lot out of reading.

I'm going to use this horse as an example, because I want to explore it. I want to explore it because it is bothering me.

No blame here....horse has been thru many trainers been all around the country, etc. So please understand that my purpose is to ask questions, understand, gain insight.



Jazzandthemagician: a Birdstone, who a year ago, was nominated to run in the Triple Crown, who ran with high class company, and who broke down a few Sunday's in a $10K claimer race at Philly:

I'm looking at the caliber of horses this guy ran with. I read thru his charts, and even up til the very last, he is giving his best, duels, contests the pace, etc........ and ends up "weakening". He is unfortunately, perpetually out of the money. His best is not good enough.:cry: Pedigree is not always indicative of brilliance on the track, nor longevity.


So----Do you just run your heart out, yet keep sinking down the ranks (after running with some of the very best horses in the US?) until you end up in a series of $10K claimers where you prove you can't even win those?????

What comes after that? $5K claimers? You've been given the best surroundings, with top trainers, and owners. But, at $5K, you may end up in a barn with not a lot of $$ and you no longer even have the "lifestyle to which you are accustomed".


How long should a horse stay on the track when they keep proving they can't get the job done?

OR, do they *love what they do*? Can you really love losing all the time? C'mon. Horses "know" when they lose.

Jazzandthemagician only had one win. I guess I'd feel better if somebody who worked with the horse TOLD ME SPECIFICALLY "he couldn't wait to get out onto the track everyday!" But surely, a horse of this breeding and caliber could have gone to someone in dressage, or something? Something where he could "win" at showing his heart.

Here it is, I'm just looking at this and scratching my head.


Wins his maiden special weight under Zayat Stables:
http://www.equibase.com/premium/eqbPDFChartPlus.cfm?BORP=P&STYLE=EQB&DAY=D&tid=GP&dt=01/03/2009&ctry=USA&race=4

The field for the 95th running of the Grade II Remsen (2008)(was scratched to run in jockey club, but look at the caliber of the field!!!)
Post, Horse Name, Age, Sex, Weight, Jockey Name,
1, Atomic Rain (KY) , 2, Colt, 116, Edgar S. Prado,
2, Idol Maker (KY) , 2, Colt, 116, Eibar Coa,
3, Jazzandthemagician (KY) , 2, Colt, 116, David Romero Flores,
4, Rip Rap (KY) , 2, Colt, 116, Jose Lezcano,
5, Hold Me Back (KY) , 2, Colt, 116, John R. Velazquez,
6, Old Fashioned (KY) , 2, Colt, 116, Ramon A. Dominguez,
7, American Dance (VA) , 2, Colt, 116, Garrett K. Gomez,
8, Awesome Mich (KY) , 2, Colt, 116, Eddie Castro,

Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (with Beethoven, Giant Oak, Stormalory, Capt. Candyman)
http://www.equibase.com/premium/eqbPDFChartPlus.cfm?BORP=P&STYLE=EQB&DAY=D&tid=CD&dt=11/29/2008&ctry=USA&race=11

Spectacular Bid Stakes (with Notonthesamepage, YouLuckieMann, BeeCeeCee): (Out of the money)
http://www.equibase.com/premium/eqbPDFChartPlus.cfm?BORP=P&STYLE=EQB&DAY=D&tid=GP&dt=01/03/2009&ctry=USA&race=4

Pomona Derby: (out of the money) Sept 2009:
http://www.equibase.com/premium/eqbPDFChartPlus.cfm?BORP=P&STYLE=EQB&DAY=D&tid=FPX&dt=09/26/2009&ctry=USA&race=11

Ends up in a $10K claimer at Santa Anita on October 28th, 2009 (out of the money)
http://www.equibase.com/static/chart/pdf/OSA102809USA5.pdf

November 15th,2009 in another $10K claimer at Philly, where he broke down and died on the track:
http://www.equibase.com/static/chart/pdf/PHA111509USA10.pdf

If nothing else, I have provided a brief history of Jazz, and a snapshot of his life.

(Thank you to people out there who look up a history on horses they like. It just means someone took the trouble.)


Sorry, but there's something about this that doesn't feel right to me. :sadsmile:

Lady Counselor
Nov. 25, 2009, 06:34 AM
People all have different ways that they do things.
And not everyone will do the same thing, or even the right thing.
Many, many trainers would have long ago made sure that horse retired and went to a different career. But somewhere down the line, someone got ahold of him and made a decision to keep pounding away with him.
One person's bad idea does not mean all trainers and owners would do that.
True horsemen/women would have done the right thing by that horse. They do the right thing by them every day. But we never see or realize that. Instead we see the ones who didn't make the right decisions, and everyone who races gets judged against the lowest denominator in the discipline.

jengersnap
Nov. 25, 2009, 08:17 AM
Nobody really wants to "breed" a claimer. But the reality of it is that the saying is true, even breeding the best to the best leaves you hoping for the best. I actually saw this race. It looked like one of those sad breakdowns that just happens, no interferance that the camera showed at that time. The horse had 8 starts, with the first being at Churchill with a MSW win. I'm sure that made his connections heady with thoughts of the next Barbaro and moved him up into graded stakes company. Maybe that was the real mistake. He hooked big horses and he wasn't that big a horse. Honestly, the two works I can actually see for free look less then impressive. 3F in 39.16, 39.20? Heck, my pleasure mare use to go 3F in 36 and change and she certainly never was stakes material. Could he have had other issues going on? Sure, but we'll never know. But assuming he would be good for a career off the track without knowing the horse is hard to guess at. I didn't see anything saying he was gelded, so first there's the chance he was a stallion, perhaps a rank one as well. Looking at the photo on pedigree query, his front left ankle looks a bit big to me. Maybe osslets, maybe something more in there we don't know about (hardware, hairline?). He had nearly a 6 month layoff in the spring of this year. Maybe whatever was going on in there should never have been run on. Maybe the new connections were truly clueless. Or maybe they were squeezing out every penny. It's hard to make assumptions though from our perspectives as we don't know anything more about the horse then he was dropping like a stone. He was technically in for the $8,000 on that one, perhaps they were trying to push their losses off on someone else.


There are horses with more promise that actually start their careers in stakes company. I own one, who won his first time out in a stakes and followed that up with 3 seconds in two additional stakes and one allowance. He dropped down the ranks over the years but still loved to run. By the time I got him he was running for bottoms and trailing the field for the connections. But he did love to run. Take him out in the mornings, and he loafed along like a park horse going the wrong way, often breaking his jog into a lope so slow it was almost a walk. Turn him around, and he pulled your arms off. Take him over the afternoons, and you've never seen a better behaved horse to paddock. Put the rider up, and it was business time as he pranced and his eyes lit up. We had a win and a whole bunch of seconds and thirds with him before retiring him this year at 10 and he's completely sound, not a pimple on him. The right thing for this horse is to keep him feeling useful.

Laurierace
Nov. 25, 2009, 09:09 AM
Cheap doesn't necessarily indicate unsound. It also doesn't necessarily indicate a lesser level of care. Some horses start out cheap, some horses end up cheap. Either way as long as they are sound I see nothing wrong with running them wherever they need to be ran to be competitive. I have no way of knowing if the horse being referenced was unsound but if he was he shouldn't have been running at any level in my opinion. I don't run sore horses ever and don't believe anyone else should either but I sure have ran a lot of cheap claimers in my day. Every one of them goes to the paddock looking like they are stakes horses. I can't always make them run the fastest but I can make them look the best.

lily04
Nov. 25, 2009, 09:57 AM
Last Friday night there was a 5yr. old intact horse by Storm Cat out of Eclipse award winner Phone Chatter runnning in a M Cl 5,000. He was well beaten in this race. I can only imagine what he was worth as a yearling.

farmgirl88
Nov. 25, 2009, 10:12 AM
My guy ran with some really great horses in his day too. He was nominated and ran on the KY derby trailt oo until a minor injury sidelined him. He ran in some great trainers barns for years. While he never came back running in the style he once did; he excelled very well in the lower ranks. He won quite a bit and ran in the money his fair share too.

Even though he was still running well; his trainer (who sometimes posts here) decided to find him a new career elsewhere before he did get run into the ground.

Hes been a total saint but unfortunately in january of this year he fell on ice and hurt his suspensory and still is not better :(

Pronzini
Nov. 25, 2009, 10:18 AM
No blame here....horse has been thru many trainers been all around the country, etc. So please understand that my purpose is to ask questions, understand, gain insight.


Since you say that you posted this to learn and not to be on a soapbox, lets take a dispassionate look at this horse's career, the way, let's say a bloodstock agent or a trainer might.



Wins his maiden special weight under Zayat Stables:

This was an $80,000 yearling which back then was serious money for a Birdstone. He was purchased by Zayat who is an owner swinging for the fences. This is a nice solid win and rather than allow the horse to develop, he (typically for today) was thrown to the proverbial wolves.



The field for the 95th running of the Grade II Remsen (2008)(was scratched to run in jockey club, but look at the caliber of the field!!!)
Post, Horse Name, Age, Sex, Weight, Jockey Name,
1, Atomic Rain (KY) , 2, Colt, 116, Edgar S. Prado,
2, Idol Maker (KY) , 2, Colt, 116, Eibar Coa,
3, Jazzandthemagician (KY) , 2, Colt, 116, David Romero Flores,
4, Rip Rap (KY) , 2, Colt, 116, Jose Lezcano,
5, Hold Me Back (KY) , 2, Colt, 116, John R. Velazquez,
6, Old Fashioned (KY) , 2, Colt, 116, Ramon A. Dominguez,
7, American Dance (VA) , 2, Colt, 116, Garrett K. Gomez,
8, Awesome Mich (KY) , 2, Colt, 116, Eddie Castro,


The quality of a field he never faced is irrelevant. I can enter a claiming horse in a stakes but that doesn't mutate him into a stakes. I think his career makes it clear that this horse was never a stakes caliber animal even if he ran with stakes horses.



Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (with Beethoven, Giant Oak, Stormalory, Capt. Candyman)
http://www.equibase.com/premium/eqbPDFChartPlus.cfm?BORP=P&STYLE=EQB&DAY=D&tid=CD&dt=11/29/2008&ctry=USA&race=11


6th beaten 10. This is when someone should have said that NW1 looks tempting but maybe the jock came up with an excuse.



Spectacular Bid Stakes (with Notonthesamepage, YouLuckieMann, BeeCeeCee): (Out of the money)
http://www.equibase.com/premium/eqbPDFChartPlus.cfm?BORP=P&STYLE=EQB&DAY=D&tid=GP&dt=01/03/2009&ctry=USA&race=4

6th beaten 25! Perhaps he got injured here but that performance wouldn't win a typical $12,500 claimer.

He finally runs in the NW1 he should run in ages ago and he's 7th beaten 10 and went off at 22-1. He's no stakes horse. This is a $10K animal and the bettors know it.

Then they have a brainstorm--lets transfer him to the West Coast and see if synthetics wake him up. They dangle him for a tag ($25K), he runs considerably better and Doug O'Neill dives in and takes him. So now we have the first concrete indication of value since he was sold at auction.


Pomona Derby: (out of the money) Sept 2009:
http://www.equibase.com/premium/eqbPDFChartPlus.cfm?BORP=P&STYLE=EQB&DAY=D&tid=FPX&dt=09/26/2009&ctry=USA&race=11


Back on the dirt for the Pomona Derby and utter disaster. He finishes dead last.

Ends up in a $10K claimer at Santa Anita on October 28th, 2009 (out of the money)
http://www.equibase.com/static/chart/pdf/OSA102809USA5.pdf


Based on the Pomona Derby, not an outrageous spot for him but again he finishes dead last. The bettors aren't fooled--he is not the favorite.


November 15th,2009 in another $10K claimer at Philly, where he broke down and died on the track:
http://www.equibase.com/static/chart/pdf/PHA111509USA10.pdf

Doug O'Neill who owns him outright now, sends him to Philly. That's not an unusual move these days--look at the purse he ran for as a $10K at Philly (almost $25,000) versus what he ran for when he was claimed for $25,000 ($25,000). You can't just look at the claiming tag!

This horse may have been no better than a claiming horse at any time in his career and he happened to catch a soft maiden. I can't believe that O'Neill would ship a horse that far just to lose him on the track knowingly. You can't always reverse engineer this stuff other than conclude the Zayat camp probably should have been a little less quick to toss himinto stakes company. Not all Birdstones are stakes horses.

SleepyFox
Nov. 25, 2009, 11:08 AM
What comes after that? $5K claimers? You've been given the best surroundings, with top trainers, and owners. But, at $5K, you may end up in a barn with not a lot of $$ and you no longer even have the "lifestyle to which you are accustomed".

I think "may" is the key word here. Pronzini has it right - you need to consider the purses the horse is running for. When $5k claimers are running for $19k and $15k claimers are running for $22k - which looks like more tempting? A LOT of really top notch barns are playing in the bottom claimers because the purse money is good and there is a lot of potential for a good return on investment. The widespread assumption on these forums is that low level claimers are somehow indicative of poor care and cruel trainers is nonsense.


OR, do they *love what they do*? Can you really love losing all the time? C'mon. Horses "know" when they lose.

No, a lot of horses do not know when they lose. Nor do they care. You see a lot of horses that lack class that run well until things get a little tough (usually at the head of the lane) and then they are more than happy to just gallop on to the wire. They don't come back feeling defeated. Frequently, they come back with their tail in the air and prancing and drag their groom back to the barn ready to go again. A good number of horses lack the drive to dig in and try for the win. They still enjoy going out and running, though. I wouldn't be surprised if this horse was one of those.

It's unfortunate that he broke down. But I don't think he was mismanaged or being forced to do something he didn't want to do.

jengersnap
Nov. 25, 2009, 11:10 AM
Great way of analyzing his career, Pronzini...except I think you meant NW2. Hubby's old stomping grounds is Philly...the purses there since he left make him choke. We've seriously considered shipping down for a few just because of that, and that value difference is a huge thing to consider when looking at the big picture. I was looking at the PPs for a horse that ran MSW at several little tracks, including some place called Chippawa Downs. The purse for MSW there is a GRAND! $500 to the winner, $50 for 5th. Ouch. In another race this particular horse was in at the same track an IRE horse ran for a$2,500 tag. He took home $650 before expenses for that win. He was running G3's when he shipped over from GB. Surely he wasn't shipped over to end up a $2,500 claimer. But it happens. He raced up to Aug of '08, a 9 yr old at that time with 13 wins.

http://www.equibase.com/premium/eqbHorseInfo.cfm?refno=5013106&registry=T

Pronzini
Nov. 25, 2009, 12:15 PM
Great way of analyzing his career, Pronzini...except I think you meant NW2. Hubby's old stomping grounds is Philly...the purses there since he left make him choke. We've seriously considered shipping down for a few just because of that, and that value difference is a huge thing to consider when looking at the big picture. I was looking at the PPs for a horse that ran MSW at several little tracks, including some place called Chippawa Downs. The purse for MSW there is a GRAND! $500 to the winner, $50 for 5th. Ouch. In another race this particular horse was in at the same track an IRE horse ran for a$2,500 tag. He took home $650 before expenses for that win. He was running G3's when he shipped over from GB. Surely he wasn't shipped over to end up a $2,500 claimer. But it happens. He raced up to Aug of '08, a 9 yr old at that time with 13 wins.

http://www.equibase.com/premium/eqbHorseInfo.cfm?refno=5013106&registry=T

I suspect we are talking East Coast/ West Coast semantic differences. Out here, that race is written as a nonwinners of 1 race other than maiden (when its not an optional claimer) whereas back there, the same race might be written as a nonwinners of 2 races lifetime.

But I think you'll agree that to really understand this sport, you need to know the ins and outs of the condition book because that's the motivating factor for the owners and trainers. Recently I was deciding between a $12,500 with a clause (NW2) and a straight $8000 both running for the same purse. My trainer thought the "cheaper" race would be tougher because you can run into real buzzsaws who are out of conditions, have won 5 races and have no place else to go. The tag is really just the first part of the analysis.

Also follow the money. Collectively gamblers are a pretty savvy bunch and if your former "stakes horse" is 10-1 or higher in allowance company, maybe he really wasn't a stakes horse. To put it in sports horse context, if your dressage horse can't break 50 % at the FEI level, maybe he's not an FEI horse even if you are showing him Prix St George.

WinterTriangle
Nov. 25, 2009, 07:17 PM
The widespread assumption on these forums is that low level claimers are somehow indicative of poor care and cruel trainers

Not at all. I don't think that. (No more than I thought the 12 year old in the other topic shouldn't race strictly based on age, (which some people thought) since I just rooted for King of Speed to win at Fairgrounds, .........which he did, at 10! .....he was third last out. :D) Sound, older, good racehorse.


So---thank you for exploring this with me. There are several possibilities concerning my OP. One is that somewhere along the line the horse was entered over his head, repeatedly, at stakes level, and even the (savvy) bettors weren't going for it.

In and of itself, I consider that a 'form' of mismanagment. :winkgrin: (Unless good management is consistently entering a horse in races where it doesn't belong. )

OR, he was "was" truly a stakes level horse, based on who knows what, breeding perhaps or maiden win, and somehow wasn't developed properly, and ended up dropping like a stone.

Either can be true.;) As well as other scenarios, injury, etc. But as Jengersnap notes, we'll never know for sure.

Regardless, "all" history/ies contain a lesson of some sort, IMHO. Was trying to figure out what it was with this one. For me, I like to look back. I also like to think every horse deserves it. "Oh that's just the way it is" isn't always the most appropriate explanation. If it were, we wouldn't have most of the world-changing discoveries and inquiries that have changed the planet.

BTW, I do believe the larger % of trainers and operations are good, with a very tiny % of bad. But I think it's good to hear about them. Negative publicity (when deserved), is a powerful social force. My feelings about lowlife trainers is precisely because they negatively impact the sport I love, so I can't see them "gone" fast enough.

In my working life in organizations, if there's an a-hole in a bunch of good people, they don't last long. I've also noticed the opposite...in a company full of jerks, nice people leave pretty quickly. It a form of social pressure engineering dynamics.

Jessi P
Nov. 26, 2009, 07:12 PM
Recently I was deciding between a $12,500 with a clause (NW2) and a straight $8000 both running for the same purse. My trainer thought the "cheaper" race would be tougher because you can run into real buzzsaws who are out of conditions, have won 5 races and have no place else to go. The tag is really just the first part of the analysis. .


Agreed. The softer spot in this instance would be the $12,500 NW2L rather than the $8k OPEN race. In the $12,500 race EVERY horse has only won (at most) one race. In the $8k open race you could catch an old class/stakes horse with $200k+ in earnings that would jerk the bridle off your $12,500 NW2L horse.

Some folks don't understand how the claiming ranks work, and it does indeed take time to learn and understand. A horse that breaks its maiden for $10k might - depending on 1) the field he ran against and 2) how easily he won - be spotted next out for $7,500 or $5k NW2L. A $5k claimer racing competitively against OPEN company here at MNR is conservatively worth $7500. A maiden running here and consistently hitting the board (but not winning!) for $5k is worth 2500-3500, depending on it's form. I dont know if they write 2500 races at Penn any more, but when I raced there it was hard to explain to someone how a $2,500 open horse was worth more than a $5k maiden.

Another thing - if you want to purchase (not claim) a horse that is running well for $5k you will have to pay MORE than just the $5k. The connections of the horse you want to buy might just tell you "Well just claim him next time he runs." Why? Because if they think they have a shot of winning the race ($6k here) AND getting the horse claimed ($5k) they come out way ahead - $11k in their pockets instead of just $5k. If the horse runs second, thats $5k (clm) + $2k (purse) = $7k for that $5k horse. Third would be $5k (clm) + $1k = $6k. BUT - every time you run you take a chance that something could happen, so there is the element of chance. It isn't always that something happens to your horse - it could be the horse in the starting gate next to you acts up, flips, and gets stuck under the gate kicking the heck out of your horse's legs. A horse could clip heels with your horse, or go down in front of yours, there are all kinds of things that can go wrong.

I think you were talking earlier about the differences between NW1/X and NW2L. The first race, nw1/x is for "horses which have not won a race OTHER THAN maiden, claiming, optional or starter." So, your horse could have broken its maiden, won 3 claiming races, an optional claiming and a starter allowance race and still be eligible. OTOH, in the NW2L race, you run against all horses who have won ONE race (or less). So much easier. The NW1/X is an allowance condition and is used at bigger tracks or for higher company. The NW2L condition is usually a claiming condition (but sometimes an allow condition) and is usually found at the lower levels, (which make the majority of horseraces - not to denigrate just designate). At a track like MNR you can find a nw2L a lot more often than the nw1/x race. There are also nw2/X and nw3/X at the bigger tracks - those are races just a step below an open allowance, which in turn is just a step below a stakes race.

Thanks for letting me ramble on about the condition book, LOL!! Happy Turkey Day!