"I remember the first time I saw the Rolling Stones. When they came out on the stage, it was like you were getting lifted off your feet. To me, that is what a great horse race does, coming down the stretch."
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Yearling market survives pandemic, but needs a way to thrive in the future...
Buying at a more modest end of the spectrum during the later books was bloodstock agent Davant Latham, who expressed that he had been pleasantly surprised by the results across the board. Latham- who also sold several horses during the earlier books- professed to be among those reaping the benefits of the "buyers market" mentality.
That being said, he admitted that it was difficult to discount the idea that the same market could mean a host of negative repercussions for the idustry as a whole.
"We've been fortunate to have a very good sale, but others have not been so fortunate," said Latham, "I think this is what we expected would happen."
Latham was listed as the buyer on two yearlings through the ring and another via private sale. Total receipts for the agent came to $237,000.
With the Keeneland September sale at an end but with more auctions still to come through the end of the year, Latham said it's important that individuals operating in all facets of the industry approach the market with a critical eye.
"It's a very tough time to be a breeder. That's very bad for our industry overall. We need breeders, and we need them to make enough money not only to survive but to want to continue breeding, I have a couple of people I've been talking to who are going to be looking for mares in November, but they're hoping to take advantage of this situation. We've already seen in a release from The Jockey Club that the projected foal crop for 2021 is set at less than 20,000 for the first time since I think the 1960s. This market further reduces that. We need to think about what the foal crop will be like in 2022. How many people are going to breed that one mare they have that they sold a foal out of for a loss?
We all depend on each other. I don't care who you are; this impacts your game. I hope that the stallion farms are paying attention to this market and that they will adjust their fees accordingly, or at least throw some kind of rescue net out to breeders because they're the ones that really take the risk. If stallion farms stand stallions, yes, they charge a fee, but the breeder raises the foal and brings that foal to the marketplace. If the big farms don't respond, there won't be breeders and therefore they won't be able to sell seasons. We all have to look at the big picture and think about how important each segment of this industry is to us whether we pinhook, breed, or race."
Until horses live in a laboratory environment, environmental contamination will occur…hich means zero tolerance is impossible. “Zero Tolerance” is a great soundbite, but unrealistic. The recent final disqualifications of Charlatan and Gamine from their Oaklawn victories for minute levels of lidocaine are ridiculous. A lidocaine backpatch could easily be the source of such a tiny amount, as could a simple caslick procedure on a filly or a “no itch” topical ointment.
Let’s also consider the amount of the banned substance in their systems. Charlatan tested positive with 46 picograms of lidocaine and Gamine tested positive with 185 picograms of lidocaine. I don’t know the weight of either horse, but for the sake of simple math, let’s assume they each weigh 1000 pounds: 1000 pounds = 453,592 grams = 453,592,000 milligrams = 453,592,000,000,000,000 picograms. Do we really believe 185 picograms of any substance will have any effect on a 453,592,000,000,000,000 picogram horse?!
I am all for fair competition and am not an apologist for anyone that intentionally cheats or schemes to illegally beat the system–those trainers and vets should be banned for life. But let’s go beyond soundbites for the media (“Zero Tolerance”) and govern racing with realistic rules while pursuing truly effective measures and punishments. Stall cameras, track employed veterinarians, all meds delivered from track-owned pharmacies, etc., are better ways of controlling the delivery system. And of course one national set of rules would help.
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