TDN Writers’ Room Podcast, Episode 2: September 5, 2019


good afternoon is 3:45 Wednesday
September 4th this is the TV n writers room podcast I’m Joe Buck associate
editor at the Thoroughbred Daily News my name is Bill Finley and I guarantee you
I’m the only person who’s ever worked for the Thoroughbred Daily News who has
attended the races in Fargo North Dakota Brian Dean auto racing at her at the T
Deana Jonathan green general manager of DJ stable and also a part of the green
group which is an accounting firm and tax consulting firm so we already have
something different from last week we have a guest it’s John Green of DJ
stable owner of a thread of blue who’s running in the jockey club Derby this
Saturday John welcome to the CD and writers room buy so much it’s very
exciting to be here so I guess we’ll start with a basic kind of overview of
how you and your family got into thoroughbred racing basically it
occurred about 30 years ago if you can believe it where we were had an
opportunity to go to Monmouth Park with one of our neighbors
sure enough the neighbor owned a $5,000 claimer the horse won I’ve got to win
you know $5 win ticket on him I was 8 years old
so 20 dollars in my pocket was a huge deal plus I got a free hot dog so you
couldn’t eat that day and we got to go to the winner’s circle and the end
result was we were driving home and my dad said did you have a good time and I
said yeah it was great you know what could be better than this he said yeah
and if our neighbor could win a race imagine what we could do and like I said
that was 30 years ago and 2,100 wins ago and 8,000 losses ago but we’ve always
enjoyed you know racing and competing here on the Jersey Shore you have you
have children right I do I have two daughters one of which is actually very
involved in the breeding game she’s been to Keeneland with me she’s been to the
Saratoga sale and really enjoys that aspect and the other one is not so
involved in racing but she loves naming the horses and we just actually named
the horse after her alma mater Colby I have two Colby College and Colby will be
running in a stake race at Monmouth Park in a couple of weeks he’s main right
correct yeah exactly instantly we named another horse mane as
well that was the say I know it’s really the thing the only state in the Union
that wasn’t that wasn’t accepted yet so all right all right so we’ll get to the
horse go to the big horse first the threat of blue so it was a little bit of
a question about him going a mile on a three six mile in 3/16 and he proved the
doubters wrong now he’s doing a mile and a half what was the decision-making
process in terms of they’re not to tackle that you know it’s
a great question we go back and forth whenever we talk about a specific horse
especially at this level because there are so many opportunities to run in big
ticket races especially this time of year the opportunity to run him up at
Saratoga in the Saratoga Derby was daunting as you mentioned he hadn’t
really won going more than a mile in 16th so to add on an extra furlong is a
little daunting especially for a front running horse Kieran McLachlan really
did a phenomenal job getting air into the horse training the horse and between
his training and Louis sizes you know expertise on on the front end that’s
really what enabled the horse to go to the front and never look back and John
now if you look back at the situation the purchase of the horse an Ocala for
four hundred and thirty thousand dollars even at that money that’s turned out to
be a very good buy would be a great one winter except that last race was in its
inaugural running so it was not a great one but usually at that sale people are
not looking for mile and a half grass horses and this horse doesn’t really
have that much of a grass pedigree I can’t imagine you your father your
family we’re thinking hmm we’re going to spend four hundred and thirty thousand
dollars in the source someday when a mile and 3/16 price race at Saratoga he
must have turned out to be yes good like you thought it would be but not exactly
the kind of horse you thought not as like it you you know your point is
well-taken bill I think anytime you buy a horse regardless of the amount you’re
going to have a preconceived notion of where do you think the horse is going to
run as we know they’re athletes and they’re temperamental and sometimes your
best guess is not what they’re willing to do the very first race we actually
tried him on the dirt because we anticipated him being able to handle you
know the dirt race and I think he beat one horse and the ambulance and that was
it so then at that point we decided to try them on the turf because he does
have a lot of European blood the the mayor and enthused actually has produced
four graded stakes winners on you know in Europe and because of that we thought
okay the turf maybe ultimately what he wants to do and kind of the rest is
history but you’re right any time you spend that kind of money on a horse
you’re hoping that he’s going to go two turns on the dirt because that’s where
the big money is but I think that’s starting to change here that the climate
and the interest of turf racing here in the
States is starting to improve in terms of stretching him out has anything in
his training or anything in his demeanor changed as he’s gotten older and he’s
he’s matured you know it that’s a that’s another good question I think blue
personality-wise has changed a little bit once he won the three races in a row
you could see his confidence build and he started walking around the barn
almost like King Kong I mean he really was ready to take on all comers at that
point and horses are like that they get that kind of enjoyment and excitement
about being the Alpha and that goes from thousands of thousands of years of
genetic you know breeding but he feels like he’s the Alpha now and that’s why
we were so surprised when we sent him over to Penn national running the Penn
mile and he didn’t run as well it took him almost two full weeks before he got
his mojo back so now looking ahead to Saturday’s race what do you make of the
field and how do you like your chances you know we when we sat down with Kieran
about two weeks ago to decide if we were gonna run the horse in the in the third
leg of this turf Trinity there was the question of can he go this far can he go
a mile and a half and you really don’t have a lot of basis to to make that
estimate normally you would think okay come from behind horses would lend
themselves to be able to go that distance but an old trainer friend of
mine Joe Orsino told me years ago if you have a front running horse and you can
relax him on the lead then the race really doesn’t start until this until
the top of the stretch and I think that’s really what happened with the
Saratoga Derby and we’re hoping that’s gonna happen with the with this Derby as
well John I couldn’t agree more at your so you know I think the New York has the
best riding colony in the country but one thing that they do is when you get
in these marathon turf races they all lose their minds I mean everybody wants
to go 53 and for 117 yep and it looks in this race even though the last time out
your fractions were not that slow at all you’re the only speed in the race you
draw the rail you have a smart jockey and Luis Saez even if you’re not
necessarily the prototypical mile and half horse
can’t you see yourself getting that kind of trip and if so I wouldn’t you’d be
pretty hard to run down no question about it we’re hoping that the the first
you know for like six Rawlings they time in a Sun Dial we’re hoping that he was
really really slow on the front end and if you go you know horse by horse in
this race there are some great accomplished horses especially as
three-year-olds current is certainly a legitimate horse digital age we’ve run
against a few times as a legitimate horse and even some of the European
horses coming in have you know have made their bones in their respective
racetracks I think that every horse in the field including us you can make a
case for and you can also question whether or not they’re going to handle
this there’s a couple of horses that you’d say they ran lifetime best us
included are we going to bounce the European horses are coming in they like
to sit from way off it and they run clockwise versus you know we’re used to
running counterclockwise I can’t see how you know that that’s good for them
coming here and trying to run the race in the complete opposite direction it’s
kind of like if we try to drive there you know that there’s got to be a little
bit of a learning curve there and then there’s also a couple of horses in here
that we’ve run against before and quite frankly we’ve got we’ve earned the dream
trip and they haven’t and one of these days the tables are turned so I’m really
looking forward to being in the race and don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t trade our
position with anybody but I think that there you can make a case for four or
five horses in the race John you mentioned early on that everybody who
goes to the sales usually the first thing they think of is we want a classic
mile an eighth mile quarter dirt horse you can take a look at thread of blue
and you can probably make a case for one or two things one he just doesn’t like
the dirt or two maybe when you did run him on the dirt he hadn’t developed into
the horse that he is now now if scenario two is correct maybe perhaps this is
someday a Whitney type horse and where the money even though these verses are
so big for these turf races but nonetheless the money is normally bigger
if you’re ever talking about developing a sire you’re gonna be so much better
off if you want a grade one it’s just a long-winded way of asking have you guys
in Karen McLaughlin thought you know if not this year maybe next year I would
think so I think what’s gonna happen eventually
is we’re gonna run in some big brace some big turf race and it’s going to
come off the turf and at that point in time we say oK we’ve shipped to
Kalamazoo we’re here they’re still putting up this a lot I wouldn’t doubt
that so there’ll be an opportunity where we’re gonna
you know the race will scratch down to a certain small number of horses none of
them are accomplished on the dirt and at that point we’ll try it I don’t know if
we’re gonna go out of our way to try him on the dirt unless he really shows that
there’s an opportunity there for us and just to give you an example you know
when we are picking out races we’re not only picking out races for this specific
horse but we currently have a number of horses in training and we almost take
the mutual fund approach where we look at it and say it doesn’t matter if a
threat of blue wins or jaywalk or proven strategies we’re not really as concerned
about which one wins as long as somebody in the group wins and carries the rest
of the crew if we are fortunate enough like a threat of blue one the
million-dollar race a few weeks ago we could then take one of our other horses
in this case diamond King and try him who’s an accomplished dirt horse and try
him on the turf because we had almost to get a jail free card we had enough money
where you know was gonna pay for everybody and we could test and try
somebody else out the diamond King turf experiment didn’t work last week but
that’s not to say that we wouldn’t try it with blue you know down the road just
wanted to broaden this out real quick and talk about the turf Trinity
inaugural turf Trinity I talked to Jeff bloom how do you what do you think about
the turf journeys like I love it so I’m sure you’re gonna have a similar
response but do you see it as something that has staying power in New York I
would really like that thing so I think that with the political situation right
now where everyone is looking at the industry and trying to figure out what
is the root cause of you know horses breaking down whether it’s recently in
California or as early back as the first you know few breeders cups where it
seemed like every single Breeders Cup day there was a horse breaking down and
I think as an industry we all want to get to the root of the problem whether
it’s the track itself or medication you know the horses being inbred whatever it
is we want to figure out what the issue is one of the solutions though that I
personally feel is out there is running horses on the turf it’s softer it’s
better for their bones and if they’re training on the turf it seems to lay
bone down you know kind of like the way the Calumet does it and the way that
Darby Dan used to do it where they would constantly try their horses on the on
the ore train their horses on the grass until they got to be a three-year-old
and then they would try them on the dirt John let’s talk about jaywalk it is a
bit probably safe to say that she has not been as
good this year as you would have hoped she had that great comeback race at
Delaware Park and then everybody was oh boy the old jaywalk is back then she got
beat by albeit by a good horse in neurologists but then finished second in
the mommoth Oaks what is her status is she on on the
trail of the cotillion and has the team figured out any reasons why maybe she
has not necessarily looked like the jaywalk of last year yeah and and you
know we we’ve gone back and forth with John service who trains her to try to
figure out you know why jaywalk hasn’t gotten to the next level and you know
part of the the problem is that a lot of other horses have caught up to her when
they when they win big races as a two-year-old whether it’s the Breeders
Cup as a two-year-old or the hopeful you guys were talking about last week and
why don’t horses continue to develop well it may be that just they developed
to that extent you know early on we really feel like for jaywalk that even
though it looks like on paper she hasn’t gotten to the next level she’s still
running consistent numbers that are good enough to win some of these great twos
and grade once against other fillies I put it on myself as the general manager
that maybe we put her in a couple of races that we shouldn’t have because
they were tougher than then than we anticipated but ultimately she is on
path to run into the cotillion and then after the cotillion it is a winning
you’re in if she wins we will send her to
California if not then we have to kind of reassess what we’re gonna do with her
where’s case scenario you still got that Eclipse statue on your shelf
I understand they never take it away from you which is always a nice thing
it’s actually sitting you know I have one of them that’s sitting in my home
office and I know my dad has one in his home in his business office as well and
I think there’s actually a spotlight on his you know which I can understand
pretty exclusive club it really is and we felt very fortunate to be there and
also to be there with our partner you know from from cash is king
chuck was acne has been just a phenomenal partner with us on a diamond
King and on jaywalkin a couple of these babies it’s amazing just said digress
for a second a lot of these partnerships seem to be fine until the horse gets
really good and then once the horse gets good then everyone has an opinion about
what to do and and and that’s where the problems if you have a you know partner
on $10,000 claimer and nobody really cares okay the horse is going to run for
ten either mom with her Delaware any punt yeah but
he’s been just been a phenomenal partner and and a great friend to enjoy the ride
with speaking at J walk you found her in book four of Keeneland September if I’m
not mistaken I assume you’re planning to go back there this weekend absolutely
we’ll certainly attend Keeneland it’s been historically a great sale for us as
far as rate of return and as far as stakes winners and stakes performers as
you mentioned we found jaywalk in book four my understanding is that there were
just as many grade one winners out of book four and five combined as there
were but one two and three combined over the past three years so you can find
good horses anywhere how do you typically prepare for such a large sale
you know we will go through all 4,600 pedigrees and immediately knock off any
of the ones that either we haven’t been lucky with in the past or we just don’t
feel like fits our program and also from a price standpoint there’s a lot of
horses that are going to sell that are gonna sell for half a million dollars or
more that that’s out of our price range and a few horses that don’t make sense
because they may be locally bred in Ohio bread or a Kalamazoo bred that will that
are know it’s a really nice race the funny thing about it is we actually 20
years ago we actually had the Michigan bred horse of the year first name oh my
papa so I am very familiar with I didn’t
catch any bets on them but I’m very familiar with the Michigan program so I
don’t mean to denigrate that and I’m sure he won the Kalamazoo derby which
landed that trophy trophy right next to your Eclipse Award for sure under mantle
we’ll go with that right what’s the Michigan bred Awards night like it’s at
a Denny’s and it’s usually bring your own so okay so I guess we’re gonna we’re
gonna segue here to the past weekend’s racing a lot of big races and John if
you want to stick around and chime in we’re happy to have you so I guess we’ll
start with the hopeful we did a little thing on the hopeful last week as you
mentioned John Steve asked Miss Steve as person had a really good hand heading
into it and couldn’t worked out better around 1-2-3 Basin is the one that was
the longest price of the three and he ended up dominating both of his stable
mates and the rest of the field looked like shot lifted ran on late started to
find his feet pretty much in the second half of the race what stood out to you
guys and feel free anybody here the hopeful and the performance of basin
well what stood out was the performance of the trainer I mean when’s the last
time we talked about somebody finishing him one two three and agree one stakes
race and it wasn’t championship forever everybody you know Steve asked me to
send deserves tremendous amount of credit now granted these were the first
three favorites in the race granted greenlight go who likely would
have been the favor was scratched but you know to win the first grade one of
the year in the East Coast and not only went in finished one two three is a
tremendous accomplishment and we had talked last time on the podcast about
the fact that basically if you win the hopeful you can pretty much forget
Kentucky Derby because it hasn’t happened since 1978 but I got a sneaking
suspicion that maybe things will change this year for a couple of reasons first
of all these are three very good horses and second of all doesn’t it feel to you
guys that these great trainers like Steve Asmussen they wait their turn they
wait their turn they wait their turn and eventually they get it it comes to him
Steve Asmussen is not a particularly old guy he’s gonna win a Kentucky Derby
before his career is over maybe it’s in 2020 of the three I like
Basin the best why wouldn’t yet he won and look pretty good by Liam’s map no
reason to think with that sire he couldn’t go a mile and a quarter
so maybe the hopeful Kentucky Derby jinx will be broken next year all you had to
do was bring it up on the podcast it’s right there you go I’m checking for it
now yeah yeah and you know bill I agree with with your sentiment about you know
what a phenomenal training job this was you know coming into the the hopeful I
think you’re right also though that Green Lake oh really was the horse to
beat in that race you know we ran against him actually with another
miracle and he you know another miracle is a five furling turf horse who won the
Skidmore and is going to hopefully run in the Breeders Cup Juvenile turf and he
ran us off our feet and when was the last thing you saw a hard spun out of a
pleasantly perfect mare win and win impressively Jerkins exactly doesn’t
crank his horses up and until later and again to go back to the medication is
still not on lasix so there’s a lot of upside I think on green like oh he’s
beaten some phenomenal horses already early on in
in the business the main story is look what a great job Steve did with his
first three you know finishers but very close second has got to be keep an eye
on greenlight go and I’m not telling anybody anything that they don’t know
already but that horse really impressed me just as an outsider looking in
speaking of turf sprinters I’d love to see Jose ill and a turf sprint I think
he has been written all over him the dam was a turf mile er she’s a half
– I think – graded stakes winners on the grass and he’s just one of those horses
it seems a little too quick maybe to want to stretch out and he looked really
good at OBS April on the synthetic so I think he’s probably a terse man I think
you’re right I think if you look at his genetics
it says turf sprint all over it Gary barber incidentally bought 25% of them
before this race and the rumor is that he bought it for a million dollars so
the horse was basically a four million dollar evaluation I’m not sure they’re
gonna go immediately to a5 for a long sprint based on that valuation I think
he did it based on and want this horse to run and you know in the classics or
at least you know some of the opportunities that avail themselves when
there’s a couple of weeks but you’re right if you look genetically that horse
absolutely screams sprinter well let’s switch coasts now and go take a look at
what happened with the two-year-olds at Del Mar and for some gem mcinvale this
of course was the run happy Del Mar Futurity and I have a radio show I do
with Dave Johnson on Sirius XM radio every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00
Eastern on channel 156 and we had Mack on last week this is Mack what’s left to
de sponsor you sponsored everything but the third race at timonium today he says
next year I’m sponsoring the toilet paper in the in the bathroom at Del Mar
you know what I wouldn’t put anything sitting no yeah I wouldn’t put it past
them to do that but you know we had talked again about last week on the
podcast that this race normally we learn more about the kentucky derby contenders
and by and large that’s simply because Bob of Bob Baffert II won the thing 14
times and with horses like American Pharoah and you can know that a Bob
Baffert horse it’s got talent as a two-year-old has a darn good chance to
become running in the Kentucky Derby this race proved absolutely nothing it
was an absolute mess I mean eight rings the Baffert horse was one to two fell
and then a horse it just came out of a claiming race albeit a hundred thousand
are claiming trained by the Peter Miller by the name
of Nucky I assumed those who watch Boardwalk Empire would realize it’s
probably named after Nucky Thompson the character on their great show by the way
when’s the race pays a zillion dollars Peter Miller’s for one – did anybody
think that that race shed any light on this year’s two year old crop and how
they may advance towards next year’s Kentucky Derby I was talking to Brian
before that it was a strange race to watch visually obviously the the race
was turned upside down couple strides out of the gate when he wrings took a
left turn reminded me a lot of dray fun a couple years ago did the same thing I
think he was the number two as well big favorite it was a fast pace and Nucky
made a pretty early move at three-eighths Paul went to the lead
there went 21 and changed 44 in change and it seemed like they were really
gasping for air late but nobody close so I think that’s that’s part of the reason
that you can’t take too much from it is just it didn’t seem like other than the
winner anybody really picked up their feet and it’s the buyer says that the
buyer is 68 I believe which is probably that doesn’t mean that when a made in 35
yeah yeah yeah so that’s I think about all horses who run great ones with slow
figures Sutro when she runs in the month of rosette I believe she was like a 69
buyer or something along those lines but yeah so visually it kind of told the
tale that they were coming home slow but nobody closed so I would kind of draw a
line through that race for everybody except maybe the winner but how do you
guys feel well first of all I swear this is the last time I’ll do that that buyer
number would not win the feature at Kalamazoo what a job no question about
it and you know you mentioned it wouldn’t win a maiden race there were
two maidens in this race so again it may just be what did he beat I think you’re
right you can put a line through the majority of horses not all of them
including the winner and basically say you know he’s gonna have to prove it to
me again yep I thought what a Tring did was actually
pretty amazing he was way way out of it you would have assumed he kind of just
would have been pulled up every would have pulled himself up and he managed to
pass almost everybody in the stretch and helped how well I mean like it seemed
like a superior horse going in he probably is obviously it kind of looked
like remember that race with long weekend and Dennis’s moment the Romans
whore long and long weekend opened up by 10
lengths and as a moment lost the jockey and then ended up with him right on the
wire and then so it Dennis’s moment did next time out so one thing I wanted to
touch on before we moved on from last week’s races was the Woodward and I
thought it was a pretty gutsy effort by preservationist and it kind of an
interesting horse who took a long time to put things together I think he might
have run like five or six times and in three seasons and now he’s put three
races together he was dominant in the suburban didn’t run that great in the
Whitney but really bolt through traffic and the stretch to take the Woodward and
it kind of made me think about the older male dirt division and last year at this
point we had accelerate who was well on his way to a championship it really was
nothing that anybody could do to be a fly in the ointment there but this year
I mean you look at the big races the big cap was won by gift box the gold cup
vino rosso the foster seeking the sole preservationist now has to grade one
wins Mackenzie won the Whitney in the alley Sheba higher power wins the
Pacific Classic to me the clear leader in this division is a horse that might
win another championship and that’s Mottola
he’s got three grade one wins now on the year nobody else as far as I know in the
older dirt male division has two does anybody have a problem with Mottola
winning both of those Awards yeah I got a big problem with that but he’s a
sprinter and look in I’m old school I believe that he has the spinners have
their own category leave it to that yeah I mean you can’t it’s not fair because
if you give him the Eclipse Award for both sprint and route horse will
Mackenzie he’s not he’s not eligible for the Sprint award and and I also think
that is Wells preservationist ran and in what you’re right what a gutsy effort I
mean horse showed a tremendous amount of tenacity big winner in that race was
Mackenzie I mean so preservationist wins the suburban gets his doors blown off by
Mackenzie in the Whitney then comes back and wins the Woodward I think that right
now you know everybody staying the way they
are with all due respect to Mottola because I don’t include him in this
group I include them in the Sprint group or maybe perhaps they go in the dirt
mile I don’t know what their plans are but I would think the spent would be
more likely I you think it’s Mackenzie and everybody
else and and you know he’s gonna go in the awesome again he should win that and
unless he lays an egg Breeders Cup day which I don’t see gonna be hard to his
surpass that horse I think it would have been a stronger argument for Mackenzie
if he hadn’t lost tomb’ atole now I understand he had trouble in the met
mile but they faced head to head and Matola beat him so I think at the end of
the year that’s gonna hold a little bit of weight I wanted to talk about
freshman sires now and that there was a ton of hype
going into this year’s class obviously the headliner was American Pharoah but
there were a lot of horses that people were excited to see their foals
honor code and Liam’s map and such I think some of them might have gotten off
to a little bit of a slow start Liam’s map didn’t have that many winners but
then he had a pretty pretty seismic winner with Faison do you guys think
that this class has lived up to the hype so far and what do you think about them
going forward well my first question would be and I’m on the last guy that
should be answering that question because that’s not my field of expertise
I want to hear what the other three but isn’t it a little bit too early to tell
can we really judge them on September 2nd and the only thing I would add to
that is that at least from the numbers American Pharoah certainly seems to be
living up to expectations leading at least wins wise from the tdn website I
learned that he has 12 winners right now which puts him number one so and every
when I was interviewing people before the year everybody thought that the
pharaohs would not be early developers that they would be more fall you know
Champaign Breeders Cup Juvenile type horses not you know when first out at
Saratoga the first week of the meter win at Del Mar the first week of the meet so
be my one comment but again I I would like to pass the microphone some people
I know a lot more about this than I do yeah and just going through the sales
you know as often as we do you tend to gravitate towards certain freshman sires
based on the Falls that you see and you know sometimes it’s real hit or miss but
I know going through this crop of two-year-olds liam’s map was the one
that continually was ringing the bell at sales and it almost didn’t matter what
Seiler was if there was a Liam’s mat people were immediately jumping on top
of it and trying to buy it you know I concur bill with your comment about
American Pharoah it’s not just because we own one we own one that that’s
running well but who would have thought that he would have thrown two year old
runners and early two-year-old runs precocious runners and mostly on the
turf you know so again you go back to the argument of can we you know can we
anticipate based on genetics and and based on crosses and you almost have to
just try them out but American Pharoah has certainly hit the ground running
Liam’s map looks like he’s going to start to develop some good horses
Constitution and honor code where the other two of the of the top four horses
that at least from a yearlings sales price standpoint rounded out the group
and I think all four of them are gonna represent it’s just a question of hey
it’s only Labor Day let’s wait and see you know how things play over in the
next three or four months before we send in the verdict Constitution is an
interesting one because like you say there was a little bit of buzz about him
but stands for 15,000 or at least did in his first season tied for the top I
believe right now and overall winners he’s got 12 he’s got 3 stakes winners I
believe he’s got 3 tdn rising stars the most important important metric of all
boy now talk about shameless plug so yeah he his horses have been really I
think jumping out a lot especially at Saratoga and it’s can be interesting to
see if he keeps that up because he was I guess was a little bit of a late
developing three-year-old you know he did his best work in the summer but yeah
he’s really stepped he’s really stood out to me and no question about it and
also Constitution out of those top four he has least number of prospects that
are out there overall Falls I should say that are out
there even honor code by far had the most american pharoah liam’s map and
then constitution in that order so you would think that just based on crop size
that some of these other verses were kind of rice at the top that’s why it’s
been amazing to watch Constitution do what he’s done mm-hmm another one I
wanted to shout out who hasn’t gotten that much buzz is temperature
temperature horses have been pretty good first out
I think he’s got 11 or 12 winners so he’s won that in the same vein as
cross-traffic who might not have had so much hype going in that by the end of
his first crops first racing year people everybody knew about him everyone knew
about him and now he might be headed to Turkey so with that if that’s not the
rubber stamp of what the next great sire is gonna be you know send him on a boat
to Turkey or Korea and all of a sudden they start having
runners again it’s up to you to carry the flag with Jayhawk I think another
one keep an eye on going for it might be wicked strong he did pretty well at the
two-year old sails and he wasn’t a particularly developing horse I think he
maybe debuted maybe September of his two-year-old year
and was more of a three-year-old so I would expect to see some wicked strong
was running well in the coming weeks yeah other one I wanted to bring up was
was tonalist the tonalist made it might have gotten off to a little bit of a
slow start but all those horses most of this was running in five five and a half
six furlong races you would expect him with his long winded racing record and
obviously the most famous for winning the Belmont you would I think he would
expect him as the horses get to go to turns they’ll pick it up bill you did a
story with Dave O’Rourke of the New York Racing Association 700 million dollars
plus handle this year for naira at Saratoga with the new schedule what were
your impressions from what Dave told you well it’s not my impressions mainly came
from the numbers that were put out at the end well I remember a before the
meet I asked David or Rourke what do you expect is gonna happen with the new
format the eight weeks five days he goes I can’t I’m not gonna have to that
question until closing day so I’m closing day I called him mr. David what
did you think and of course then again the numbers speak for themselves
it was they hit it out of the park at this meet now you take those numbers
this it’s they said an all-time record handle number they were up I believe
seven percent over last year on all sources handle and way back when which
now seems like like seven years ago on a school day when it was so hot they had
to cancel I cost him I asked him in about 21 million dollars in handle as
well so the the eight-week five-day format worked magnificently
and if there’s no doubt that it’s here to stay
one thing I work told me that I thought was kind of interesting though was that
they’re gonna put some thought into changing the dark days now instead of
having Mondays and Tuesdays dark he thought they might there’s a chance to
go to Tuesdays and Wednesdays and he said one of the reasons
why is because the Saratoga the town you know the nightlife the the restaurants
the hotel’s the bars etc he said work was completely dead on Sunday nights
this year because there was no reason to stick around after the last race on
Sunday everybody was going home he said you know some of the business owners
came to and said would you rethink this he said yeah absolutely what we’ll take
a look at it and he and I asked him you know why wouldn’t you just do what’s
best for Saratoga the racetrack and I really like the answer he gave me he
says because this is about much more than just the racetrack Saratoga works
because of the entire community and the entire Saratoga experience he said if if
the restaurants are dead on Sunday night that’s not good for Saratoga the town
and what’s not good for Saratoga the town is not is not good for the New York
Racing Association so that was really gonna answer it was his in his first
time up there running the show after he got promoted
you know everything everything went right you know that you’re always gonna
have a few problems it was tragic and kind of bitterly ironic at the very last
race and the mito horse broke down and had to be put down which was it easy and
you get that far and then it happens in the last race the weather was was
reasonably good I didn’t get the final amount of off the turf races but it was
fewer than last year they found a formula it’s here to stay but one thing
another thing and maybe John Cooper did John did you spend much time at Saratoga
as a fan this year yeah I was there a choice okay I want to get then I want to
get you into this conversation one thing that was it was amazing was
that the on track numbers I didn’t get the attendance numbers but the Anna
handle numbers were actually down this year just just by a smidgen but did you
notice anything or do you have any theories why the on track handle can be
down yet the all sources handle you know sent records it really looked like that
again this is a lay persons analysis on a very small you know sample of days
there anecdotally I would say that there were just as many people there who were
set up to watch debris shows it’s in the morning they were there at 10
o’clock in the morning claiming their their picnic tables and it seemed like
that the you know if you had a family reunion or college buddies got together
for Saratoga all those groups continually came in and and consistently
came in I think that a lot of people were betting on races and then for a few
days during the meet there were very small fields and you guys talked last
week about the advantage or one of the benefits of a Kentucky Downs where they
have 1215 horses in a race and that’s a handicappers paradise and I think that
for a smidgeon just for a few races days at Saratoga where whether it was because
of the weather or scratches because of the heat or where of course you just got
sick but there were you know four five six days within a two week period where
most the average races had six or seven horses in it if not less and it’s tough
to handicap in bed and want a bet on that on those kind of fields you know
when they come up that way that’s the only thing I can come up with them this
one that asked a follow up on that how much do you bet how much the handicap
like how big of a part is that of your track experience is that you know for me
that the bet is when you write the check and you buy the horse because you’re
never gonna make up that that money that being said I do enjoy occasionally
betting on a horse especially if I feel like hey this is a first-time starter of
ours that we feel like is going to do well or we know that there were a couple
of excuses as to why a horse didn’t run well or also we ran in a really tough
race and that’s a that’s a key race for for other horses and they’re going on
and running in other races and we feel like that there’s an opportunity there
interestingly enough last year the there was a letter that came out from Dennis
trace and who you know is a director of Monmouth Park prohibiting us as licensed
owners from betting of any kind at Monmouth Park so this summer we were
allowed to go and root for our horses and certainly by you know a hot dog if
we wanted to but we were forbidden from betting and we would there be sanctions
of possibly losing your license as an owner if you wanted to bet so I’m not a
good person to ask about Monmouth Park but when I go to parks or I go to
Kentucky Downs or Saratoga if there’s an opportunity I’ll certainly you know
throw a couple dollars on a horse on the Drazen thing a do you know what
precipitated that and B if so can you tell us I am gonna plead the fifth on
that I figured can’t you send your aunt
Esther to the window and abet for you you you probably could you probably
could get a surrogate to do it you know if you wanted to or get a runner but for
me it’s just not worth like yeah not knowing the answer it sounds like some
but it’s such a dumb idea and dennis is such a smart guy and such
a good racetrack operator it had to come from the Racing Commission and I don’t
know that for a fact but I would bet bet my last dollar that was something
completely idiotic that came out of the politicians yeah Dennis Drazen knows
even with the kind of guy though told me now I’m not exactly a quarter dennis is
way too smart didn’t do something like that so we talked about the handle
increase that Saratoga and the record handle not so much for Delmar Delmar how
to down meet in terms of handle in attendance but one thing they did have
going for them was no racing fatalities and I think at this moment that’s kind
of an important thing an important headline to get out there for the sport
and I just being at Saratoga this year there were a lot of anti racing
protestors when you walked into the gate and that was not there was something I
personally had never seen before so even though Saratoga and New York has a
pretty good safety record there they’re kind of focusing on on all of racing at
this point and I think it’s kind of big for Delmar to have that kind of flag to
put in the ground and they’ve been doing this for a while the safety record has
been getting better and better at Delmar they they’ve been in stating new safety
protocols John as an owner how big do you think that this is to have a big
boutique meet like this report no great racing fatalities oh no question is huge
I mean just from from an outsider on the East Coast we’re keeping tabs on that
you know we’re fortunate enough where we have four different horses running in
winning your in races over the next four weeks if there was a concern about
safety they would not be getting on a plane and heading to California even if
they want because ultimately you want to preserve and protect you know your
athletes that being said the fact that there’s there was a quote unquote a
clean bill of health at Del Mar certainly makes me feel better
I would love to see the additional safety changes that are being
implemented at San and you know we’re hearing rumors and speculation but it
looks like that for the most part they’re putting their money where their
mouth they’re in there taking care of that
racetrack I’m sure Delmar would have loved to have had better handle numbers
but I’m sure if you ask the people that run that place if you had two choices
you could have zero fatalities and B down X percent and handle or B up Y
percent and handle and have seven or eight horses breakdown they would have
chose the the the first part it in a heartbeat
this was a huge win not only for Delmar more so for all of Southern California
racing and I think what it did more so than anything else is it took the heat
off of San Anita because you know Delmar was not the
poster child for all the everything that’s wrong with horse racing to the
animal rights community San Anita was and now if they had had bad meat at Del
Mar then they could lump that in with Santa Anita it would have stirred up all
the crap all over again and then the protesters would have been lined up you
know 50 deep around Delmar it allowed everybody to take a deep breath and when
Santa Anita reopens in a couple weeks you know there’s gonna it there’s been
an element now where people tend to forget things over time and let’s just
hope that their meat is the safest on Mars was but I think that Delmar having
that the safety factor going for it there were what was what I know there
was the accident where two horses collided with one another and I believe
one word for total or total but none none during race which is absolutely
huge I think that was one of the best good news stories we’ve had Norris
racing this year I want to bring Brian in on this too because you’re a
racehorse owner too and you manage a partnership I think with people buying
in at a lesser fee do you have more casual fans that you kind of try to
attract into that and if so do they mention this to you do they mention the
the racing fatality kind of rash that we had at Santa Fe Billy I’ve gotten a lot
of questions about that and we have a few owners out in California and I’ve
talked to them about it and they were kind of at first interested in maybe me
trying to put something together out there and then they kind of quieted down
and we’re happy to focus on other jurisdictions it’s definitely a question
I feel frequently among our co-owners what do you say what do you say to
people when they ask you about it I mean I’m straightforward as I can obviously
we’re all in this for the best interests of the horse and I think getting that
other perspective and seeing how how we are with the horses and how we view our
horses I think they kind of see that you know it’s not maybe what it’s always
what it’s made out to be you know I think like a big bit of push back
towards the the Racing’s negative image right now is the counter-protesters is
the people that work in racing and the backstretch workers who show up and they
I think that’s key is that people who are closest to the horse if they can
show casual fans and and laymen that they that they’re about the horse in
general like that that’s that’s their daily life they don’t do this for the
money it really resonates if you have someone that’s on the ground
bunch of people who are on the ground who can tell you about how much the
horse means to them I think that’s big all right so that’s all we got for you
today I want to thank Brian DiDonato Bill Finley and especially John Green
our first guest on the TN writers room podcast great job this is Joe Bianca
signing off for the teen in writers room we’ll see you next week

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