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Pinhook Market Trends Point to ‘Up’ Market in 2018

MarketWatch: Yearling-to-juvenile pinhooks

 

If the recent cycle of North America’s 2-year-olds in training market stays true to form, this year should be an “up” year for yearling-to-juvenile pinhookers. The market has been on a moderate roller coaster since 2014, with the percentage of profitable horses sold ranging between 41% and 50%. The rate of return has fluctuated more, ranging from 25% to 55% during the past five years but on a generally upward curve.

Profitability and ROR are derived from similar assumptions. A horse is considered profitable if its 2-year-old price minus a 5% sale commission exceeds the yearling sale price plus $20,000 for the cost of breaking, training, and upkeep. ROR is the percent difference between the average yearling price plus maintenance cost and the average net 2-year-old price.

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Growth in Average Daily Purses Among U.S. Tracks

MarketWatch: Top 10 tracks by percentage increase

 

Changes made in 2017 to federal tax withholding and reporting on winning pari-mutuel wagers was expected to boost overall handle figures by promoting more churn through the windows. Higher churn was then expected to boost purses, which are fueled largely from a percentage of wagering.

Expectations came to fruition, with Equibase reporting growth in both United States purses and handle reported for 2018. Wagering increased 3.3% to more than $11.26 billion and purses grew 3.5% to more than $1.11 billion.

Just how deeply were racetracks affected by this growth?

Significantly, according to an annual review of average daily purses compiled per track by BloodHorse MarketWatch. Look for a complete breakdown in the Feb. 16 issue of BloodHorse magazine. In the meantime, MarketWatch wanted to see which of the larger race meets saw the biggest increases in average daily purse between 2017 and 2018.

Our annual purse review includes racetracks that ran at least five live dates and paid gross purses of $100,000 or more. These criteria fit 84 racetracks in 2017, of which 46 (55%) reported an increase in average daily purses compared with 2016. In 2018, 80 racetracks met the criteria and of these 50 (62.5%) reported an increase in average daily purse.

Among racetracks running 50 or more days of live racing, Delta Downs reported the largest increase in average daily purse—a 32% increase to $273,809. Since 2001, Delta Downs has had the benefit of slots machines to enhance purses. The top 10 racetracks by percent increase in average daily purse include only two that do not offer any kind of alternative gambling. Those who reported growth without the benefit of slot machines or card tables are Arlington International Racecourse, up 14%, and Golden Gate Fields, up 7.9%.

Arlington was able to increase its purses in 2018 due to an underpayment in the 2017 purse account and because state lawmakers approved more than $1.6 million for owners awards and stakes races, according to the Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders Fund. Arlington paid an average $239,114 in purses last year, which apparently helped raise field size slightly from 7.23 starters per race to 7.46.

Golden Gate Fields was reportedly able to grow its handle by separating its post times from the biggest races across the country, racing secretary Patrick Mackey told the San Francisco Chronicle last August. With bettors more engaged due to the changes in withholding and some additional help from bad weather and cancellations in the East, Golden Gate was able to increase its out-of-state handle by 48% and bolster its total handle by 18%.

“We had competitive races for leading rider and trainer, and not a lot of races with 1-5 or 2-5 shots winning,” Mackey told the Chronicle. “The days of (trainer) Jerry (Hollendorfer) and (jockey) Russell (Baze) winning every race at 2-5 are gone. It’s a different product where you can find betting value. When you have gamblers behind you, they keep coming back.”

 

Leading Racetracks by % Increase in Avg. Daily Purse, ‘17-’18

Includes racetracks running 50 or more live race dates in 2018

Track (State)

’18 Dates

2018 Avg. Starter”

2018 Daily Avg. Purse

% Chg. Avg. ‘17-’18

2018 Gross Purse

Delta Downs (LA)

83

8.68

$273,809

32%

$22,726,110

Mahoning Valley Race Course (OH)

100

8.61

$150,644

18%

$15,064,430

Gulfstream Park (FL)

198

8.30

$469,242

17%

$92,909,925

Arlington Int’l Racecourse (IL)

71

7.46

$239,114

14%

$16,977,066

JACKS Thistledown (OH)

100

7.29

$166,986

12%

$16,698,586

Aqueduct (NY)

91

7.16

$541,328

10%

$49,260,878

Albuquerque Downs (NM)

53

8.04

$89,165

9.6%

$4,725,732

Churchill Downs (KY)

70

8.23

$567,787

9.3%

$39,745,062

Laurel Park (MD)

156

7.77

$342,471

8.9%

$53,425,438

Golden Gate Fields (CA)

150

6.93

$152,590

7.9%

$22,888,444

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Songandaprayer Pensioned from Stud Duty

Songandaprayer, a grade 1 winner and sire of 38 black-type winners, has been pensioned from commercial stud duty, according to Journeyman Stud near Ocala, Fla., where the stallion stood in 2018.

Bred in Kentucky by Donna Wormser, the son of Unbridled’s Song was purchased by agent Buzz Chace for $470,000 at the 1999 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale. Pinhooker Robert Scanlon later sold the colt for $1 million at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale to basketball star Bobby Hurley and his wife, Leslie.

Hurley and his wife, along with D.J. Stable, won the 2001 Fountain of Youth Stakes (G1) and placed second in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1) with Songandaprayer. He was retired at 3 with 3-1-1 record out of eight starts and $380,480 in earnings.

Songandaprayer entered stud in Florida in 2002 at Marablue Farm, which bought D.J. Stable’s interest. He stood at Marablue for three seasons before being transferred to Hartley/DeRenzo, Walmac South (also in Florida) for a season and then was sent to Walmac Farm in Kentucky. He stood five seasons at The Stallion Station@Copper Crowne before ending his stud career at Journeyman.

Songandaprayer was Florida’s leading freshman sire in 2005 with over $1 million in progeny earnings and three black-type winners, including multiple graded stakes winner What a Song. As a sire, he had 63% winners from foals and 90 black-type performers, which included three champions. His 15 crops to race earned more than $51.5 million and averaged $58,021 per starter.

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Lagartijo is Real Solution’s First Winner

Real Solution
Real SolutionCourtesy Calumet Farm/ThoroStride

Won a 5 1/2-furlong maiden claimer by 3 1/4 lengths.

Blue Star Racing’s freshman sire and grade 1 winner Real Solution  picked up his first winner July 7 when his son Lagartijo won a 5 1/2-furlong maiden claiming race in his third start at Hipodromo de las Americas in Mexico City.

The colt out of the winning Danehill daughter Keeping Watch had been making steady progress since he debuted June 1, when he finished third, four lengths behind the winner. In his next start, Lagartijo was second by only a half-length. Then, in breaking his maiden, he won in near gate-to-wire fashion by 3 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:07.20 for owner Cuadra San Jorge.

Lagartijo is the fourth winner produced by Keeping Watch from four foals to race. The mare’s most recent trip through an auction was at the 2017 Keeneland January Winter Mixed Sale where Sycamore Shade Racing bought her for $10,000 in foal to Kitten’s Joy .

Ken and Sarah Ramsey bred Lagartijo in Kentucky. The Ramseys also bred and raced Real Solution, who won the Arlington Million Stakes (G1T) and Knob Creek Manhattan Stakes (G1T). Real Solution placed in the Man o’ War Stakes (G1T), Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes (G1T), and Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap (G1T).

The son of Kitten’s Joy entered stud at Ramsey Farm with $1,374,175 in earnings. After one breeding season, the stallion was transferred to Calumet Farm, where he stood two seasons before being shipped to Blue Star Racing in Louisiana. The stallion stands at Blue Star Racing for $5,000.

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Study Narrows Focus on How Furosemide Works

Learning how the medication works could lead to alternative treatments of EIPH.

A recently published study in Comparative Exercise Physiology found a relationship between the administration of the medication furosemide, used to prevent exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage, and an enzyme that affects the pressure within the blood vessels in a horse’s lungs.

The relationship potentially points toward new avenues to explore regarding the treatment of EIPH in Thoroughbred racehorses.

The study, conducted at Gávea Racecourse in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, analyzed post-race blood samples from 73 horses over eight race days. Of the 73 horses, 47 had been treated with 250 mg of furosemide before their race and 26 were not medicated.

These samples were then tested for levels of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), a potent vasoconstrictor that when active contributes to higher blood pressure. Several studies have affirmed furosemide’s effectiveness in reducing incidences of EIPH, but how the diuretic drug actually works is still unknown. This study showed ACE activity was significantly reduced in the horses that had been treated with furosemide.

“Multiple regression analysis demonstrated that pre-race furosemide significantly influenced ACE activity post-race, while distance raced, temperature, humidity, and hematocrit did not,” the study concluded. “This is a novel finding which might impact on the search for the exact implications of furosemide use, and its effects on physiology and performance of Thoroughbred racehorses utilizing loop diuretics as treatments for EIPH.”

The horses used in this study were already stabled at Gávea and the treated horses were part of the racetrack’s established protocol on managing EIPH. At Gávea, a horse is entitled to pre-race furosemide if an official racetrack veterinarian has documented a bleeding episode through tracheobronchoscopy exam. A registered bleeder can receive furosemide four hours prior to post time and must continue to receive treatment for every race within 90 days from diagnosis. Horses that are younger than 3 1/2 years old are not allowed to receive pre-race furosemide, and any medicated horse is prohibited from competing in a group 1 or group 2 race.

While furosemide has proven to be the most effective method of reducing EIPH, the medication still does not entirely prevent its occurrence. In the Gávea study, 36.2% of the non-medicated horses showed some degree of post-race bleeding compared with 76.9% of the treated horses.

“This study confirms that, although furosemide might reduce EIPH severity after a single bout of exercise, it does not abolish or reduce its occurrence,” wrote the study’s authors. “This conclusion does not argue against the use of furosemide as a treatment for control of EIPH, but indicates the continuing need for better alternatives to limit the progressive and deleterious effects of repeated episodes of EIPH on the lungs of horses, and that further research into the possible role of renin-angiotensin aldosterone system components (like ACE) in developing new treatments is needed.”

The study was published by Dr. Maria Fernanda de Mello Costa, Dr. Fernanda Aparecida Ronchi, Dr. Yoonsuh Jung, Dr. A. Ivanow, Dr. Juliana Braga, Dr. M.T. Ramos, Dr. Dulce Elena Casarini; and Dr. Ronald F. Slocombe.

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MO TOM RETIRED TO STUD IN LOUISIANA

By Eric Mitchell

Tom and Gayle Benson’s grade 3 winner Mo Tom has been retired from racing and will enter stud this year at Jay Adcock’s Red River Farm near Coushatta, La. A stud fee has not been determined.

The 5-year-old son of Uncle Mo—Caroni, by Rubiano, was among the first yearlings the Bensons purchased for their GMB Racing operation in 2014, and one of two that found their way to the 2016 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) starting gate. The other runner was Tom’s Ready, who is also entering stud this year at Spendthrift Farm.

“Mo Tom has had a nice racing career. Even though he suffered through some tough trips and a few injuries, he was still able to make nearly $700,000 in earnings,” said Greg Bensel, who manages GMB Racing for the Bensons. “We tried to do a few things with him late in his racing career—like bringing him back quickly in the Clark Handicap (G1) and then trying him on the grass. We just did not want to give up on him; he is such a great-looking, sound horse and was working great in the mornings. None of those late experiments should take away from the career he had as a racehorse.”

A half brother to grade 1-placed stakes winner Beautician and listed stakes winner Bella Castani, Mo Tom won or placed 10 times out of 19 starts. He won twice and placed twice out of four starts at 2, which included winning the Street Sense Stakes and a third in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2). He earned his stripes in a graded stakes in his first start at 3 when he won the Lecomte Stakes (G3). The colt went on to place in the Veterans Ford Risen Star Stakes (G2), finish eighth in the Kentucky Derby, and win the Ohio Derby.

“With our farm in Paris, Ky., and our sports teams in New Orleans we keep a very busy schedule, but when time allows we love going to the track to see our horses run. Our racing operation has had great success on the track and we could not be more proud of our team and our trainers Tom Amoss, Dallas Stewart, and Al Stall,” said Gayle Benson, whose husband owns New Orleans’ NFL Saints and NBA Pelican sports teams. “We are building our farm operation (Benson Farm at Greenwood Lodge) in Kentucky where we have a very nice broodmare band. We are loving the horse business.”

The Bensons sent Mo Tom to Red River Farm because they valued Adcock’s reputation as a successful breeder, and because they want to support the Louisiana- bred program.

“We are very excited to get this horse,” Adcock said. “He was a serious horse at 3 and a legitimate Kentucky Derby contender. He is a good-looking, accomplished horse with plenty of family. He’ll get every chance to be successful.”

“Having a nice son of Uncle Mo here should bring some attention to the attractive breeding programs we have here in Louisiana,” Bensel added.

The Bensons are retaining 20% ownership of Mo Tom.

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Star Guitar’s Fee Raised to $7,500

star guitar 9-14

Multiple Louisiana champion has 11 juvenile winners and three stakes winners in 2017.

A strong crop of 2-year-olds in 2017 prompted Evelyn Benoit’s Brittlyn Stable to raise the stud fee for homebred Star Guitar  to $7,500 for the 2018 breeding season.

The four-time Louisiana Horse of the Year and winner of 22 black-type stakes out of 30 starts has been represented this year by 11 juvenile winners from 21 starters. His top 2-year-olds include stakes winners Testing One Two, a daughter out of Yes Sir (Scat Daddy) who won the Louisiana Jewel Stakes, and Aceguitar, a colt out of Cherub Heart (Dehere) who won the Louisiana Cup Juvenile Stakes and finished second in the Texas Thoroughbred Futurity. Star Guitar also sired Givemeaminit, out of Powerful Nation (Turkoman), who finished third in the grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.

“Star Guitar is certainly passing on his will to win that he demonstrated with his race record of 24 wins from 30 starts,” said Benoit, who has stood Star Guitar at Clear Creek Stud near Folsom, La., since he entered stud in 2013 at $4,000.

From two crops of racing age, Star Guitar sired 28 winners that have earned more than $1.3 million. He has a third black-type winner in Bermuda Star, who won or placed six times in eight starts as a 3-year-old. One of her wins includes the Equine Sales Oaks at Evangeline Downs. The filly out of Bermuda Bride (Runaway Groom) also placed in the Elge Rasberry Stakes and the Louisiana Legends Soiree Stakes.

Star Guitar is a 12-year-old son of Quiet American—Minit Towinit, by Malagra, and a half brother to black-type winners Favorite Minit and Grand Minit, who were all bred and initially raced by Brittlyn Stable.

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