Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Collection Of Unrelated Thoughts

I was pleased and refreshed to read the transcript of the Bloodhorse Chat with Sobhy Sonbol. I wish their operation all the best. One of the most thoughtful answers he gave was in response to a query wondering what the primary goals of Zayat stables are.

Instead of goals like winning the Derby or having a horse of the year he said that essentially the goal is to own, produce and develop high level runners. Their goal for each horse is to make them the best at whatever they are best suited for. Whether that mean making them a precocious two year old, a turf miler or a dirt router. Each horse has a preference and a period when they are at their best. It is up to the connections to identify those things and make the most out of them.

You think it would be obvious but so many people assume that high priced horses need to be classic types and that precocious juveniles should automatically be saved for a 3yo campaign. Regardless of auction price some horses were cut out to be sprinters or turf horses and others were only ever going to be good 2yo's. It's nice to see connections not going for a one size fits all mentality. Even in their purchasing of horses, they're looking for good horses not necessarily good classic type horses.

The Graded Stakes Committee had their annual meeting to decide the shape of the stakes calender and once again they seem intent on going their own direction. More G-1 stakes seems to be the result of every single meeting. Net net we always end up with more stakes races and more at higher levels every time these guys meet. This Committee and the racetracks who receive the upgrades seem to be the only people pleased with these decisions.

I have to wonder what they saw in American racing this year that made them decide that we had too few G-1 events? It seemed rather obvious to me that many of the G-1 events held in 2008 were not real G-1 level events. They weren't full of G-1 level horses.

The numerous upgrades also creates a bit of a situation for those who have point systems. All of the sudden the sprint divisions seem a bit over-weighted and because of the increased number of graded stakes in general comparisons from different years are less relevant.

Point systems are unfortunately linked to the interpretations of the Graded Stakes Committee.

Although this weekend has some fabulous races lined up one can't help but feel that the last several weeks have been a great argument for the implementation of an off season. The Europeans have already decided their year end awards, the Canadians have begun the process and it'll be tied up shortly. Americans still have two months to go. I'm a firm believer that under the current system every race needs to be considered, including those that happen after the Breeders' Cup, but ideally we would simply change the system so the season effectively ends after the Breeders' Cup and we can get on with our championship ceremonies. By the time we get to the Eclipse Awards most people need a refresher course on the horses being considered. It's like we're afraid of building on momentum.


Winston...not really said...

An off season would be nice but then you wouldn't have those stellar five horse fields at Aqueduct in December.

Handride said...

I think you'll enjoy my latest post kennedy, it's more and more bullshit, they don't seem to realize they're hurting the sport. we have to use their logic against them.