Bodemeister retired to WinStar Farm

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Bodemeister leads the way in the 2012 KY Derby Bodemeister leads the way in the 2012 KY Derby

Leading 3-year-old Bodemeister was diagnosed with an injury to his left shoulder, and upon deliberation among veterinarians and the owners, the decision was made for him to retire to stud at WinStar Farm. Bodemeister has begun treatment and a full recovery is expected in the coming months, but the 3-year-old son of Empire Maker would not have been able to return in time for major races at the end of 2012.

“Bodemeister has a peripheral nerve injury which caused atrophy of the infraspinatus muscle in his left shoulder,” said Dr. Larry Bramlage, specialist from Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital. “Obviously, this made us look at something unusual, rather than a normal lameness. His legs are perfect, but he was clinical when jogging to the left. After ruling out neck issues with X-rays and a myelogram, we feel confident in the diagnosis. It will take approximately 60 days to heal.”

According to trainer Bob Baffert, the injury likely occured a couple of weeks ago at Del Mar when Bodemeister stumbled significantly during routine training. It was enough to throw his exercise rider to the ground. “He was just never quite right after that and we couldn’t figure out what was going on with him,” said Baffert. “It’s extremely unfortunate. We wanted to win the Breeders Cup with him.”

Initial plans are for Bodemeister to rehabilitate through mid-October at WinStar before being available for inspection by breeders.

“The positive thing is that we now know what the issue is and it’s treatable. Bodemeister will be back to full health,” said Elliott Walden, President & CEO at WinStar. “Unfortunately, he would not be able to come back as a racehorse in time to make any of the year-end goals such as the Breeders’ Cup, so Mr. Zayat, Mr. Moreno and myself came to the conclusion that it was best to retire him. With his raw speed, four Beyers over 100, Empire Maker killing it, and his good looks, we think Bodemeister is the best stallion prospect this year, and we’re looking ahead to what we believe will be an exciting future at stud for Bodemeister.”

The heralded runner-up in this year’s Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness S. (G1), Bodemeister is regarded as one of the fastest 3-year-olds in the country. He remains the only 3-year-old from this year’s crop to record four triple-digit Beyers, including one in his 9 1/4-length maiden romp earlier this year at Santa Anita. Bodemeister became the favorite for the Kentucky Derby after his runaway 9 1/2-length victory in the Arkansas Derby (G1) in April, and proceeded to clock some of the fastest fractions in Kentucky Derby history just three weeks later.

“You must always put the horse first, and it is in Bodemeister’s best interest to retire at this time,” said owner Ahmed Zayat. “The sportsman in me is very disappointed, because the sky was the limit for his racing career. He is the most brilliant horse that I’ve had the privilege of owning, and my family and I will miss him thrilling us in the afternoons. But every end is a new beginning, and we’ll now look forward with great anticipation to racing little Bodes in the future.”

Bodemeister, who hails from the graded stakes-winning Storm Cat mare Untouched Talent, retires with earnings of $1,304,800 for owners Zayat Stables LLC and Mike & Tiffany Moreno.

“Bodemeister gave me and my family the thrill of a lifetime in the Classics this year,” Mike Moreno added. “I decided to invest in him prior to the Derby because of his exquisite talent and pedigree, and although this injury kept us from fulfilling all of our dreams on the track, I look forward to supporting him in his next career.”

A stud fee will be announced at a later date.

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  • MyBig Red

    Even though it is sad to see Bodemeister retiring, I’m grateful that it is not a life threatning injury and he will recover. WinStar is an AWESOME Farm and Bodemeister will be treated like a King. Thanks, Bodemeister & Bob for the exciting races you gave us this year!!  

  • Kim Howell(Anita Xanax)

    Now I’m wondering why I spent so much on BC tix.

  • Aly

    Wake me up when this year is over…I’ve stopped watching the big stakes winners, because they are all dropping like flies. Heck, even 3 prominent 2 year olds are out for the rest of the year. Racehorses just aren’t built like they used to be. It’s a shame, really, becuase we never get to see the true potential of some horses (such as IHA and Bode). Oh well….

  • Five2_three

    Another fragile horse sent off to make even more fragile horses. GREAT JOB GUYS

  • Cgriff

    No need to worry about life threatening…unless we talk about the life of the sport of racing.  Come on….60 days and he’d be fine.  So put him on the shelf and bring him out in 2013 and show what an extra year of growth would do for him!  How are we ever to survive as a sport when the breeding industry/owners keep worshipping the quick sure buck and pull a horse into the shed before he ever has a chance to really capture a following!  Honestly…..the breeders cannibalize racing and without one you can’t have the other.  And the already fringe sport becomes even less relevant.  Sad.

  • Jon Cohen

    So, after the diagnosis of an injury that will require 60 days to heal, Zayat, using the excuse that the 3 year old can’t make the major races in the fall, is being retired.  It is the fans, and the industry that should feel their pockets have been picked.  That’s what is wrong with the industry, rushing a grizzled veteran of 6 races and 2 wins off to stud.  People who continue to blame Lasix for the problems of the industry  instead of this type of racehorse management should go to their dictionary and look up the word greed.  If the owners truly wanted to prove his worth as a stallion he could easily be on schedule for the 2013 Santa Anita Handicap and a four year old campaign.
    Anyone duped into breeding to this horse off his race record should call the guy that sold Jack his beanstalk beans to see if he has any more.

  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    Obviously we have not been made privy to the exact report and exactly what the true prognosis was…but I to am dissapointed that he could not be rested and brought back as a four year old.  I love how all these owners and breeders feel if they can’t meet year end goals…well…there is nothing else to shoot for.  Pretty ridiculous.  This is why we need a real Handicap Series with some serious money behind it like the ACRS used to be to keep these horses in training.  Obvious once again the money of potential stud career outweighs the good of the sport for the fans.  I would think Bode was one of the main reasons people tuned into the Triple Crown so much this year.

    Just sad…really really sad.  Of course if it was talked about but not revealed that he would always have an issue as a result of the nerve damage, that is a different issue and should be made public. 

  • HappyHarriet

    Me, too, Kim.  BC hasn’t even sent my tix yet. (Upon inquiry I was told they are mailed in October.  I replied that it would have been nice to have been TOLD that.  How hard is it to add one line of text to your receipt for EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE tickets?) But to the point – i feel like sitting home in the comfort of my own surroundings, and watching whatever is left of the rag tags that will end up racing.  The more I see the horse industry, the breeding, the selling, the brokers, the investors, the trainers and the jockeys, the more I know I only like the horses.

  • Five2_three

    Don’t worry. If you have anymore money left I have a bridge for sale.

  • Barbara

    It’s a business, and the horse is worth too much at stud to try to bring him back for 2013, even if the reason for that escapes you. I bet that horse gets the best book of any incoming stallion in nest year, so I guess Jack had better have a lot of beans left.

  • MyBig Red

    That is why I liked Curlin so much & I LOVE Shackleford :) They are REAL racehorses that are healthy & strong :)

  • Barbara

    You pretty much were made privy to Dr. Bramlage’s diagnosis and prognosis.  

  • Lily

    Well, another one bites the dust. It irritates me how all what owners care about now is the stud value. What happened to racing horses until they were 5, 6, or 7 years old? (given that they remained sound). Oh yeah, thats right; we CAN’T keep them sound! All of this inbreeding, linebreeding and saturation is ruining the American thoroughbred. I wish some breeders would “man up” per se, and start shipping mares overseas, to DURABLE stallions that can take the distance! Forget about these ridiuclous milers; that is what most stallions in the US ran, and it’s all what many horses running in North America can do now. American breeders are slowly killing off the stamina, and bringing in the speed. yes, speed is nice, but what about being able to go the distance? Look at Yeats (a stud at Coolmore); he won FIVE times at 20 furlongs (two miles), twice at 16 furlongs, and numerous times at 12 furlongs! It may have been on turf, but no American horse could ever boast such a record.
    I don’t know. At the rate we are going, american racehorses won’t even be able to get in 8 furlongs, let alone 10 furlongs or more.

  • Jon Cohen

    Unlike yours apparently, Jacks momma didn’t raise any dummies, and to believe the hype that, “oh if he didn’t get hurt he would have proved to be the best ever” is quite humorous.  Beating such superstars as Secret Circle and Sabercat in a weak Arkansas Derby, then being 2nd best in the Derby and Preakness against what can charitably be called the worst 3 year old class in several decade hardly qualifes him as a superstar.  He is talented but still has way too much to prove to be granted the status you bestow upon him.  Don’t believe the hype.  The racetrack is where champions are made, and they have chosen to run the other way. 

  • Ida Lee

    Amen, fellow horse lover, Amen!  Once the Bodemeister came down with a fever, was brought to KY from CA to treat said fever, I knew it was a matter of time before we said goodbye to the beautiful and incredibly talented speed demon that I love so much. If Hansen comes down with a fever…

  • Harland

    Racing’s theme song by Queen:
    Another one bites the dustAnother one bites the dustAnd another one gone, and another one goneAnother one bites the dustHey, I’m gonna get you too

  • Harland

    But seriously, if we are going to get away from raceday medications, why keep breeding these cripples? Cripples begat cripples.

  • Ida Lee

    So true…Curlin, one of the great equine loves of my life, if I remember correctly, never missed a day of training or a race because of health issues. And Shackleford, he’s just marvelous. What a great horse!!

  • mousse

    Prime example why horseracing has lost it’s fan base!  Read Zayat’s statement…..all BS!  Give the horse time to heal and run him at four!  That’s the sporting thing to do!!!!

  • RayPaulick

    Jon Cohen,

    It’s my understanding that Zayat Stables is equal partners in Bodemeister with WinStar and Southern Equine Racing Stable. So it was likely a joint decision.

    And thanks for bringing Lasix into the discussion along with your indisputable contention that a horse with nerve damage and muscle atrophy could “easily” be on schedule for a grueling race in just over six months.

    I’m sure the three owners plan to breed plenty of their best mares to Bodemeister, which I think says a great deal more about the horse than any comment from you.

  • KennyG

    I don’t think it’s fair to blame this on the weakening breed.  Athletes in every sport get hurt constantly.  It’s the rush to retire any horse with a small injury that is the problem.  Unfortunately there’s no way to stop it; we can’t tell owners how to spend their money or force them to run their horses.

    What’s also unfortunate is some of these owners are very wealthy and don’t need the breeding money immediately to survive.  I’m guessing Zayat would be able to live ok by racing his top horses at 4 and getting his stud deal money a year later.

  • Barbara

    It wasn’t to treat the fever, Ida. That was in early July. It was to diagnose the lameness issue that came up a couple weeks ago, which turned out to be his shoulder. 

  • Triplecrownquest

    Best book?  Barabra stop it…good grief.

  • Triplecrownquest

    Baffert mentioned that they wanted to win the Breeeder’s Cup with Bodemeister?? So he was going to beat Game on Dude???  These people talk out the side of their mouth so often it is pathetic.  This horse was finished long ago..predicted by many people who leave comments here on the Paulick Report and other horse racing sites.  So he is a stallion now…yippee…another stallion that could not race more than 8-10 times.  Yeah that is what the breeding industry needs.  

  • Barbara

    Jon, “best ever”? W T F said that? The only hype here is in your own empty mind.

    Worst 3 year old class in several decades? What did I “bestow” on him? That he is a consistently fast talented horse by a top stallion out of a black type mare that breeders are knocking down the door to get to in between the mares that the three major high end partners will send to him? Jesus Jon. Get with Reality and give her a chance some time.

  • Barbara

    Yeah, the “Bode’s best interest” part was a reach given that it is about the human’s best financial interest, but Walden’s comment about the reality and the timing of the retirement was straight on. Although that said, Bode will probably find his new gig in his best interest, too…

  • Barbara

    Yes, TCQ, he will receive the best book of mares for a new incoming stallion in 2013. Correct.

  • Terri Zeitz

    And what about Mucho Macho Man too? He’s 17.3 hands and he runs like a gazelle. And of course, tough little Jackson Bend.
    And even though Black Caviar has had mutiple injuries, she has come back healthy and strong. She swims quite frequently.
    Not to forget, Awesome Feather, who came back after an injury after a year off.

  • Barbara

    He’s not a cripple. He’s just a horse. 

  • Ida Lee

    Barbara: The point here is not so much the fever as the fact that anyone with even a remote interest in horse racing can see that our top competitors, superstars and beloved equine wonders are dropping like files, be it because of fevers, coughs, lameness, whatever, I don’t really care. 

    The issue is that they are no longer racing.  Why should we continue to watch this sport, fall in love with it’s athletes only to get your heart broken over and over again. As much as I love horses and the beauty of racing, I don’t know how much more heartache I can take.  P.S. By the way, I do read your comments pretty often and appreciate the way you defend the sport and the people connected with it. I don’t always agree but I appreciate you defending a sport you obviously love.

  • ziggypop

    Seriously, the industry wonder’s why it is dying?

  • Terri Zeitz

    It’s sad that Zayat will not wait until next year to race Bodey Meister. I was upset when Union Rags was prematurely retired. Those horses can heal especially with the new modalities of therapy such as stem cell therapy used now and given time and patience. Too many people are quick to criticize Frank Stronach. But he waited patiently for a year for the undefeated Awesome Feather to come back to racing after her injury.
    And Mr. Stronach has retirement plans for each and every of his horses. None of his horses go to be slaughtered. Gulfstream has a monthly event and other events to support thoroughbred rescue and retraining.
    Whatever you can say about Mr. Stronach, he surely loves his horses and is patient with them. And if that is not good for racing, please tell me what is.

  • Triplecrownquest

     Well you have not seen Paynter’s book yet Barbara  LOL
    Your comments are always amusing…thank you for the laughs.

  • Terri Zeitz

    When I think of a horse whose owners and trainer has done what is necessary for her to come back successfully, there is no better example than Black Caviar. She has had mutiple injuries including her shoulder and quadraceps. And yet, she came back traveled across the globe won at Royal Ascot is still undefeated. Now that’s a queen and a prince of a trainer.

  • Barbara

    I’d say the same to you, but sad comes to mind as well. 

  • Vikki Burnham

    I’m getting really sick of this epidemic of retiring good racehorses because they can’t hit the big races in the Fall, rather than let them heal and bring them back the following year.  I understand the expense of keeping a horse around, but when your horse has racked up the better part of a million dollar take home pay, I would think you could afford to bring the horse back.  Look at Citation!  He missed all of his 4yo season, came back at 5, kicked butt, came back at 6, didn’t do so well, but managed to win the Hollywood Gold Cup and retire the first Millionaire.  You can still put the horse first and not retire him.  This is hurting Racing at a time it needs its stars, and Bodemeister was certainly one of those stars.

  • Barbara

    Then why did you say he was being flown to Kentucky to be treated for “said fever”?

    And thank you. I have followed the sport for a very long time and retirements like this have existed all along the way. I recall the abject disappointment of Secretariat’s retirement when he wasn’t even injured and that was 39 years ago. My defense of the industry is being close enough to it and other businesses to appreciate that it is really easy for someone to comment on how someone should run their business and make their money in a very high risk, capital intensive industry for the fan’s pleasure.

    It is a very broken business model in racing and breeding industry, but that is another discussion and not one that I expect Bode’s connections to solve at the expense of cash flow or risk.

    But if you don’t retire a Bode when he comes along, then the Zayats and Morenos of the world can’t spend forever, either, and provide you with more racehorses to follow and love…

  • Jon Cohen

    Ray Paulick,

    Did you bother to read the press release you posted ?  It is Dr. Bramlage’s indisputable contention that Bodemeister’s “nerve damage and muscle atrophy” will be healed in SIXTY DAYS. 


    Why does pointing out that a significant reason that horses race less is because breeding farms see dollar signs, not because lasix dehydrates them, upset you so ?

      The truth of the matter is that the horse’s racing reord is suspect, against suspect competition and failing the opportunity to prove his “greatness” as an older horse, a two other than allowance horse is unworthy of all this hype upon an extremely premature retirement. 

    You want to know why the game has so much trouble attracting new fans ? The answer is staring you right in the face….Premature retirement of headline making horses due to the dollar signs in the eyes of their connections.   But don’t take my word for it, just blame the use of lasix. 

  • Barbara

    Why wouldn’t Bob have wanted to win the Breeders’ Cup with Bode or doubted his ability to do so? Sure he is promoting a stallion prospect that he has breeding rights in, for one of his primary owners, like all trainers who are fortunate enough to be in that position do and have done for centuries.

    As for GOD, he is a gelding, and how do you know he will stay healthy or in form or that Bode couldn’t have beat him? You don’t. Neither does Bob.

    The racing “experts” you cite here and on racing sites noted that Bode hadn’t worked in a few weeks and thought something might be up with him….seems like that is just exercising informed opinion. The connections have been forthcoming all along about the horse.

    I don’t disagree that requiring a certain number of starts of a breeding stallion would be ideal utopia, but it isn’t ever going to happen. Look at it this way, Bode ran all six races in four short months at the highest level of his division and performed more than admirably each time. 

  • Tinky

    It’s really quite simple: Until the market (i.e. breeders and consumers at sales) penalizes stallions that were unnecessarily retired early, thereby avoiding the tests of durability and facing top older horses, most owners of such horses will continue to take the money.

    In an alternate world, in which the industry was creative and far-sighted, it would offer serious purse bonuses for older runners, and many valuable stakes races for horses four-year-old and up.

  • Triplecrownquest

     Oh Barbie Barbie…I almost feel as if I should send in money to The Paulick Report for your entertaining rants.  I see a reality show in your future.  Since Luck was cancelled I hear there may be an opening for you.

  • Francis Bush

    Here’s another example of racing the horse too frequently and training him too much. Will we ever learn? Now we’ve lose another potentially good horse.

  • Barbara

    Sorry. I’ve just felt bad for you here when I’ve read your comments, and realized that you didn’t know much about the sport, and maybe you were open to 101 level lessons. My bad. Rant over. Best of luck to you. 

  • Barbara

    If he hadn’t been trained and raced so hard you wouldn’t even know he was alive or named Bodemeister. And he wouldn’t be going to stud at Winstar.

  • FourCats

    As an owner myself (though not of any horse good enough to be a sire), I understand the siren song of retiring a good horse to stud not only because of the much greater financial return but also of the lower cost (such as insurance) and the lower risk.

    However, the sport needs heros and needs its stars racing past their 3 year old year if they are able.  Retiring this horse now may be in the owners and breeders best short-term financial interest, but it is definitely not in the long-term best interest of the sport.  It’s a shame that many people who have the wherewithal to participate at the highest level seem to have little concern for the long-term prosperity of the sport that gives them (and all of us) so much enjoyment.

    It’s my feeling that the Jockey Club needs to step up for the good of the sport and establish a new rule that any offspring of a stallion (or mare for that matter) who was less than 5 years of age (or preferably 6 years of age) at the time of conception will not be registered as a race horse.  And they should already have such authority as it is not really any different than their rule of not allowing horses conceived through artificial insemination to be registered.

  • fb0252

     KenneyG a shoulder injury can and usually is a continuing problem.  Although the injury may heal in 60 days the horse can do nothing in that 60 day period in order for that to happen, and, depending on specifics, injury to shoulder can easily reoccur.  I’d guess from a physiological view point the retirement decision is correct.  The horse is unlikely to regain his prior form.

    The tragedy of the Bodemeisters, instead of the owners retiring him, which is their absolute right and absolute perogative, is that our trainers keep injuring them.  Bode was asked to do in his races what he never ever did in his training.  Therein lies the problem for the sport.  The horse without a doubt would still be racing and the likely reason for his retirement is inappropriate training for what the horse was asked to do, and Baffert is one of our best.  See such as IHA who was by any measure grossly overworked, Animal Kingdom and 8Belles as other recent They drop like flies every year for the same reasons every year.  Biggest problem on the horse side of the sport.

  • John McEvoy

    Couple of salient facts missing from this report: How many starts did Bodemeister make? How many starts did his sire make?

  • Jackson

    He would have been pretty tough in a NW2X   :)

  • Don Reed

    The “stars” of 2012 look like the New York Mets.

  • Jkamis2002

    How many did Zayat have that never even made the races?  How many did Bob have that never made the races?
    Paynter is next…ummm maybe next Tuesday’s news?

  • Don Reed

    Jon, it is so good to hear from you again. 

    Whatever reservations you might have, disregard them.  Post anything that comes to mind. 

    And disregard any objections that any of us might state, in response.

    You’d think we’d know better, at this point.  But permanently, collectively & lamentably, we just don’t get it.  Time & time again.

    Act as the Angel of Enlightenment.

  • Don Reed

    We actually could be making some serious money cutting out paper dolls, which have had the same resilicency as, it has turned out in the past 20 years, these Triple Crown runners.

  • Don Reed

    Terri, keep it coming.  You’re the reason, among others, why we keep tuning into the Paulick report.

  • Don Reed

    Ida, your posts have been delightful.  Thank you.

  • Jackson

    Basic math….$2.5M or more at stud next year verse $0 – ?????? on the racetrack.  What a Owner to do?  This isn’t a trick question!

  • Hadrian Marcus

    Three Year Class of 1987:  Alysheba – 26 starts, Bet Twice – 26 starts, Cryptoclearance – 44 starts.  Three Year Old Class of 2012:  Union Rags – 8 starts, I’ll Have Another – 7 starts, Bodemeister - 6 starts  (that’s 96 starts combined compared to 21).  Look what has happened in 25 years. Again, why would I want to breed to three stallions who aren’t healthy enough to make double-digit starts? Horse racing’s problem is GREED…at the expense of the sport as a whole. Ban breeding until horses are five while the sport still has some fans (and gamblers) left.

  • Just Beachy

     Based on what you say here, I wish everyone was like Mr. Stronach.  This probably comes down to those(owners or trainers) who do not want to spend the time, or especially the money, on rest, recovery, and rehabilitation.  So BAM that horse goes off to stud if his pedigree and record can dictate, and BOING the owner and trainer are off to the next new young penny.  One hopes that does not turn into a whole lot of exploitative turnover that, for some, could end in the slaughterhouse for horses without a high profile like Bode’s.  Yes, again, kudos to Mr. Stronach, based on what you said. 

  • Lisa Wintermote

    Don’t forget the brilliant Ghostzapper who was also allowed to return to the races as an older horse. He’s making his mark in the breeding shed as well!

  • Jon Cohen


    It is amusing that you are so offended by seeing the facts, and brutal truth staring back at you from your computer screen.  Sit back, take your medication, and have another glass of the kool-aid.

  • Nikky

     Basic math….$2.5M or more at stud next year verse….no more horse racing in 15 – 20 years? What is everybody going to do?

  • stillriledup

    Question for anyone who knows the breeding and auction side of things. I saw that Bodemeister was a yearling that cost under 300k, maybe it was in the 200′s somewhere. He’s got a fancy sire and is supposedly well bred. Now, here’s my question. If Bodemeister was a ‘perfect specimen’ like Fu Peg was (some yearling experts had him ‘graded out’ as a near perfect horse) how come he only brought 200 and some change at the sale?

    If Empire Maker’s stud fee is 100k, and he dropped this ‘perfect foal’, why was this horse only sold for 200-300k?

    If someone can explain the auction side of this transaction to me, i’d appreciate it. Thanks.

  • Tinky

    I haven’t seen him up close, so I cannot comment on conformation. However, his sire stood for $100k at the time, and his average yearling colt sold for $185k, so $260k was quite a decent price for the seller.

    Why did he not go for more? Well, there may well have been veterinary issues that stopped some people from bidding, and the fact is that his bottom-line (pedigree) is actually quite weak for a purportedly “fashionably” bred horse.

    I’ll be happy to elaborate if anyone fails to see this.

  • Tinky

    I’m with you in spirit, but, to use just one example, imagine how much poorer the Thoroughbred world would have been without Danzig (and Danehill, etc.)

  • Triplecrownquest

     Barbie Barbie Barbie…ever notice that YOUR posts are never liked and rarely agreed with and you are so obnoxiously opinionated it’s frightening.  Keep the posts coming though…a free laugh always makes the day better.

  • Barbie

    I just liked your post above so you will feel a little better about life today, ok?

  • Khambat

    Breeding drives the horse industry rather than racing
    (results). And while the ‘business’ of horse racing may be more profitable for ‘haves’…horse
    racing as a ‘sport’ is much poorer as a result. Successful horses aren’t given
    a chance to mature into stars and injured ones aren’t given an opportunity to
    recover…just drive them all into the breeding shed. How does a sport survive and
    sustain a fan base without equine stars that capture the public’s imagination?

    Owners will retire budding stars…for the money,
    tracks will increase take-outs…for the money, breeders will breed fast and
    glass-like fragile horses….for the quick money and trainers will juice up
    horses…for the money….with no consequences. The sports desperately needs
    stars and feel good stories…and it got I’ll Have Another, Union Rags, and
    Bodemeister, all retired to stud within about 100 days of the Belmont Stakes
    instead. This isn’t a broken business model for the sport…it’s a suicidal one.

  • Gingerbuttrey75

    Ask your magic 8 ball which horses to include in my super for the PAC classic this weekend, please. The horse stumbled during routine exercise….

  • stillriledup

     Thank you Tink, appreciate the response.

    As far as his ‘conformation’ goes, i don’t think he looks all that fantastic on the head on videos of his races. Now, he doesnt ‘wing’ his legs like a windmill, but he does seem to not have the most ‘correct’ way of moving. Maybe he wasnt ‘built to last’.

    Same thing with another Baffert horse named Misremembered. That horse is also now a sire and he looks awful on the head on shots, his legs look all over the place, another one who i’d be careful to pay money for a breeding season.

  • FEDavidson

    Excellent post.  You hit the nail on the head.  As a supplement, the impact of Polytrack should not be overlooked in this instance.  There’s nothing “routine” about training on an unnatural surface that has ended the careers of scores of horses as a result of soft tissue, rear end, shoulder, and stifle damage, not to mention the rash of rear leg fractures…so many of which have occurred during training hours. 

    Keeneland’s temporary foray into the Polytrack marketing business was done….you guessed it…..for the money.  At approximately $10 million per install, it was a tidy sum.

  • RayPaulick

    You can argue whether or not synthetic tracks lead to an increase in a certain type of injury all you want (though the data clearly shows they produce FEWER fatalities), but I’m not going to buy your contention that Keeneland did this for the money. Keeneland, as it has done in a number of other areas, is trying to increase safety for horses and riders. 


    I’ve agreed with a lot of what you’e had to say except for the fact that Bodemeister really wasn’t that good and that these 3 year old’s are “charitably….the worst class in several decades…” There were quite a few horses with BIG futures (IHA, Bode, Union Rags, Paynter, etc.) 

  • Triplecrownquest

     One thing we can always agree on Barbara is that we want ONLY what is best for the horse…whether they are racing or not.

  • Just Beachy

     Let’s not go there until or if we absolutely have to.  :-/  Prayers for health for all… 

  • FEDavidson

    I must respectfully disagree, as to Polytrack.  I urge you to question the data and speak to those who train on the surface daily.  As we all know, data can be tweaked and result in manufactured misrepresentations.  And, remember, fewer fatalities may, in fact, be based upon horses that don’t get a chance to go to the track due to career ending injuries in the morning. While you may assert that data now includes training hours, I would assert that the training hour data is flawed and not uniformly gathered.

    As an example of the profit motive, I recall standing on the rail of the Keeneland training track next to a contingent from Del Mar during a visit to evaluate whether to purchase Polytrack.  In their discussions with the Keeneland reps, the Del Mar folks marveled that by using Polytrack, they would be able to use almost no water, thereby minimizing cost.  However, as was well known at Keeneland, a high moisture content is the only chance of Polytrack being even a marginal surface, as high moisture in the UK, coupled with moderate temperatures, are primary reasons for its original success.  However, there was no response from the Keeneland folks.  Was it fraud? Or, was it merely an oversight? Or, was it for the safety of the horses?  I doubt that the concealment was due to the latter.

    While I can agree that Keeneland has taken many very good steps through the years, to suggest that their actions are not for the money is, in my opinion, ignoring the obvious.  Keeneland rode the early wave of trend over substance.  While their initial motivation may have been safety, they knew relatively early the problems associated with the Polytrack product, having used their training track as a test lab.  In my opinion, as a result of their deal with Collins and the initial PR hype, they had no choice but to perpetuate a product destined for eventual doom in the US.  I forecast that each of the North American installations will, during the course of the next several years (including Keeneland) revert back to dirt.

  • Khambat

    The three
    year old campaign is rough on horses…but owners/trainer know that is where
    the big money is. The Triple Crown…is part of the problem…or rather the
    lack of a meaningful championship for older horses. The focus and the money is always
    the three year olds…and exactly one day after he Belmont Stakes, traditional
    media coverage of the sport is done until the two days in November for the
    Breeders Cup.

    Europe has
    much better purses for the older divisions…and don’t destroy half their three-year-old
    colts by mid-June chasing a media and money driven mythical quest. More money
    for older divisions makes it a harder decision to train and race your
    three-year-old into the ground when they can win serious purses as a
    four-and-up. And is also a de-motivator to whisk them into the breeding shed.

    There are
    nine or ten million dollar purses for three year olds. Some of that money being
    thrown at three-year-olds should be redirected to the older division to retain
    the sport’s stars. Owners think with their pocketbooks…so either de-empathize
    this three-year-old division or make the Triple Crown races for four-year-olds
    like Hong Kong does.

    The horse
    racing industry making decisions based on what is based on what is best for the
    sport…is of course, fantasy. And aging and eroding and increasingly cynical fan
    base…..that’s reality.

  • wallyhorse

    This is already happening in Harness Racing where Meadowlands owner Jeff Gural implemented a new policy that I believe takes effect with the foals of 2014: Horses sired by those who were four or younger at the time of conception will no longer be eligible for major stakes events contested at The Meadowlands or other tracks Gural owner, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs.  Woodbine Entertainment Group followed suit and has the same policy in effect for Harness Racing at Woodbine and Mohawk.

    The Triple Crown track operators and the Breeders’ Cup need to implement a similar policy to what Gural did and expand on it as both you suggested here and as I have done in numerous other places: As I would do it, make it where horses by stallions who were five or younger at the time of conception ineligible for ALL Graded stakes races, including the Breeders’ Cup.  That would force top horses to race until age five and force changes in the ways horses are bred in order to meet that, including breeding durability and stamina back into the game.

  • Convene

    Not to mention Einstein, The Tin Man, John Henry. No, the latter two aren’t stallions but they were racehorses. Boy – were they ever!

  • Mrs V

    The larger problem is not the “en masse” retirement of three year olds, it is the slow exodus of quality broodmares year after year to Japan and other countries. Any stallion who proves his worth has done it the hard way.

  • wallyhorse

    If anything, that is the way horses used to race.  We don’t race our horses NEARLY enough in my view, as that to me is the main reason we have so many injuries in the sport today as opposed to years ago (no different then they “babying” of pitchers in baseball that is believed by some to cause more injuries than it prevents).  Go back to 1983 when Slew o’Gold won the Jockey Club Gold Cup at 1 1/2 Miles:… 

    That was Slew o’Gold’s 12th start of his three year old campaign in mid-October, and that was considered NORMAL then.  He went on to have another stellar campaign at four before he was retired. 

  • Indulto

    I wonder how CDI’s new Derby eligibility rules will impact post-TC 3YO availability?

    How about breaking up te original TC completely since we haven’t had a winner in how many years, and continuously fewer survivors. Why should the Belmont Stakes remain dependent on Derby and Preakness results to give it meaning?

    NY has slots revenue available and NYRA will have new leadership. Suppose NY established its own 3YO TC with a $2M purse for at least the first leg with bonuses for WPS finishers for WPS finishes in subsequent legs, and in a 3YO+ fall championship race?

    1) Wood Memorial — 1 1/8 m  — April, (early May?)
    2) Belmont Stakes — 1/3/16 m — June
    3) Travers Stakes — 1 1/4 m — August

    4) Jockey Club Gold Cup — 1 1/2 m — October

    Why should NY support the BC with no chance of getting it? Why shouldn’t CDI have competition for its 20-horse cavalry charge? Why shouldn’t and owners have alternatives for big bucks against full fields with fewer starters and obstacles? Why shouldn’t fan’s get quality major league racing with full fields throughout the non-winter racing season?

  • Don Reed

    “NY has slots revenue available and NYRA will have new leadership. Suppose NY established its own 3YO TC…”

    I like the idea.  Reminds me of the AFL being established and going head-to-head with the NFL.

    One thing above all I like about your proposal is that it eliminates that god-awful slum called Pimlico, which should have been shut down at least 15 years ago.  How that track can be the host of any significant race, let alone the TC, amazes me.


    1) Owners have to be convinced that it is no longer sane to get involved in the Derby mayhem.  If someone can convince them that they wouldn’t take a $2M car and drive it off a cliff, then why do it with horses? 

    If they don’t go for it in a  vote, then the deal is dead.

    The current TC schedule, every single year for as long as I can remember, is wrecking the horses.  Again, the owners have to be convinced that winning the ATC – Alternative Triple Crown, with sane intervals in between the three legs, as you have suggested – will keep their horses out of the hands of the vets and on the track, where they belong.

    I would suggest that the convincers find out which of the NY and CA owners who took their horses to Churchill in past Derbies were treated with that special condencending attitude that CD can exhibit at the drop of a hat.  Then those owners unite and network the other owners.

    Find out which owners at CD would be receptive to an ATC, forever reasons they might have.  

    2) The venture has to be willing to lose large amounts of money in the short run, say, for the first five years.  There’s got to be a budget – a real budget, not oneof these NYRA LSD fantasies – and people who along the line from Day One to the end of Year Five know exactly where they are in terms of the job getting done.

    3) New York State’s massive debt.  At some point, they’ll have no choice.  They’ll have to confiscate @ 90% of the casino profits to pay down their mortgages.  The rug gets pulled out from under the feet of the people running the post-NYRA franchise (and the wasteful state educational departments, etc.).  

    When will this happen?  Can’t tell you.  But it will happen.

    4) “Under new management” is not always a good thing.  If Cuomo’s post-NYRA management is worse than what preceded it, no one anywhere in the country in 2017 is going to listen to ten seconds of a sales call trying to enlist the other owners in a ATC.

    Thanks for asking.

  • James Staples

    The word on the street is the safest non GRASS racing/training surface in AMERCIA is the Bowie Training Center by far…and its not about “THE MONEY” is the biggest & most used line of BS on the planet right along with the HORSE comes first…ty FE…great post…

  • wallyhorse


    Cuomo has a Presidential campaign in 2016 to think of.  If he pulls the casino funds, the “bluebloods” won’t use it against him in 2014 (when he is widely expected to be easily re-elected Governor), they will wait until 2016 and come out full-bore at Cuomo in both the Democratic Primary and general election.  It’s exactly the kind of thing that may be “right” now, but can haunt Cuomo when he runs for President and has to deal with people in other states, especially Kentucky where the sport still matters.

  • Jimculpepper

    I was puzzled by those who held Bodes pedigree to be so infinitely superior tp IHA; still colts this good must have a “good” pedigree.

  • Jimculpepper

    Back in the good old days “before the war” there were real horsemen here in the Nashville basin who bred a stud and then sent him back to work as a race horse or cavalry mount.

  • Don Reed

    Mr. Cuomo may or may not have the option of being able to hold off on confiscating casino profits (and any other source of previously untouched revenue) prior to 2014 or 2016.

    The issue of horse racing (or anything to do with or related to the sport) in a U.S. presidential campaign – regardless of which party is for it, the other being against it (to grossly simplify) – is virtually unimaginable.  In the national consciousness, we’re about 360th on the list, in a dead heat at 1% with the number of people who still think Rachel Ray is hot.

    My plea is that we retire the specific word, “blueblood.”  It once, a long time ago, pertained and had a relevance to the owners in horse racing.

    No longer.  It died when Alfred Vanderbilt passed away.  Now, with some notable exceptions, it’s every grub for himself.  With the sport permanently desperate for owners with deep pockets, it’s amazing we haven’t invited Putin in to see if he’d like to have a go at it, maybe take Pimlico off our hands (at the same time,  relocate the hotel chains from the Catskills & create a Baltimore Borscht Belt).

  • mary

    I’ve stopped falling 

  • mary

    I’ve stopped following the sophomore colts. I mean how many of them are even left in racing?  Every time a big race comes up, another one falls by the wayside usually with an injury that’s not permanent, would allow for racing next year but instead another horse goes off to stud. Yes horses get injured for a variety of reasons but if I had one who folded so quickly I’d think twice about sending it to stud. But then a generation or so ago, that’s what happened. Brilliant horses got injured including those due to soundness issues and went straight to stud attracting mares.

    In the meantime, it’s been much more fun to follow the exploits of Frankel in Europe, a combination of speed, stamina, class and above all else durability and great management by his connections.

    American racing what’s that again?

  • mary

     The injury’s short-term, but it collided with the fact that his racing career was clearly meant to be short-term as well.