It's not often that a comment inspires a post on this blog but that's mostly because only a few people leave comments. This particular comment was left at the Thoroughbred Champions homepage where this blog is also published.
Here is what Eric had to say in response to some negative comments I made about Justenuffhumor and his chances in the Breeders' Cup Mile.
"When I love a horse as much as Gone Astray or justenuffhumor, it is because of 1 reason. The absolute best bloodlines that the game has to offer. Inside information and smuggler gives me reason to believe that Gone Astray may be unbeatable when the phipps strike with him. The pensylvania derby 10 length win was the first step and I believe Gone Astray will prove it once again if entered in the BC. Justenuffhumor stems from a mare that made Kittens joy, precious kitten, and Dreaming of Anna. These names are special to say the least. Now Kiaran mclaughlin has his chance with this golden breeding and I am willing to give a gaurantee about justenuffhumor in a game where guarantees are hard to give. We shall see."
I have nothing against the breeding side of the game but I do feel that breeding is misleading when it comes to specific races.
A primary focus on breeding is not precise enough for me. Yes it's true that Gone Astray is regally bred. I'm not a breeding guy and I can easily see that but betting on him to fulfill that promise has been a losing venture.
Sure he ran huge in the Pennsylvania Derby but that was his 6th career route race and his first win in a non sprint event. Even if you cashed in Pennsylvania you lost overall while betting him in routes because he only paid $11.40. So right now you'd be down $0.60.
For me breeding is a good indicator of a horses possible overall potential. It can also give clues regarding a horses surface and distance preferences but I just can't make a case for it to be the bedrock of my handicapping.
There are just too many well bred horses losing races that their bloodlines claim they should win. In can see why others differ in their approach though. They are looking at the specific career of a single horse whereas I'm focusing on one particular moment in time.
Justenuffhumor is a good horse and I think he'll win his fair share of races but I view the Breeders' Cup Mile as a race for specialists and he's not a Mile specialist. It seems to me that 9f is actually his best distance. Unless he shows me something different in an 8f race I'm not going to be backing him for the win in the Breeders' Cup.
Many will really disagree with me but I am always going to defer my opinion of a horse to what they've done on the track as opposed to what their bloodlines claim they could be. To me bloodlines are just one piece of the puzzle and that piece becomes less significant as their career unfolds and they show what they can actually do. Fathers are often many things that their sons aren't and vice versa.