The Friday Show Presented By Woodbine Racetrack: We Hardly Knew Ya?

by | 09.08.2017 | 8:57am
After winning the Allen Jerkens, Practical Joke will take aim at the Breeders' Cup Mile

After winning the Allen Jerkens Stakes a couple weeks ago and collecting his third Grade 1 career victory, word came this week that Practical Joke would be retired as a 3-year-old following this season. It's an all-too familiar scenario for fans of Thoroughbred racing. Just as a horse develops a following and shows potential as a future contender in the older division, he's given his retirement papers and sent to the breeding shed.

In this edition of The Friday Show, Scott Jagow and Ray Paulick discuss what's really driving these decisions and what might be done to curtail the early retirement from racing of so many talented colts. Plus, Ray reports from South Florida the latest developments on Hurricane Irma preparations.

Watch this week's Friday Show below and share your thoughts.

  • Tom Trosin

    “They want people to be rewarded quickly with 2 year olds and quickly with sprints. They have given up on distance racing as a foundation of our sport”
    A pretty spot on thought. All they need do is look at the slow painful death that quarter horse racing has been suffering for the last 25 years as the harbinger. But they won’t and its sad

  • disqus_VDMOBiuPfw

    California has more phony Grade 1 races than anybody, for juveniles and others. And the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity in late December? Why do they get to have an early KD prep like that?

    • Blue Larkspur

      because there is no snow!!! ;-)

      • disqus_VDMOBiuPfw

        Is there a Christmas and New Year’s? They race at Aqueduct in the snow.

  • Michael Castellano

    The race grading system has definitely come off the rails, and is in the hands of the fox. You know, the one that visits the hen house. Grade 1 races these days typically are devoid of true grade 1 quality horses. This in turn has helped produce an inferior grade of horses going to the breeding shed, as racing to at least 4 often demonstrates who the best horses really are, not just the ones that are the most precocious. We see this more clearly with turf horses, who are less effected by early retirement and demonstrate that older horses are often the best and soundest ones. There is also no standard of soundness with dirt horses. If a fast two year old wins a big race and then breakdowns down, his or her unsoundness is not even considered as a negative and the animal may enter the breeding shed along with a graduating class that has never proved they have a shred of endurance. In short, breeding interesting are as much of a factor as any other racing problem which is leading the industry towards extinction.

  • David Worley

    Scott & Ray, thanks for taking up this topic on the Friday show.

    I’m not going to reiterate my points from last week, people can go read the Practical Joke press release discussion regarding what has already been said. I found both of your insights about the Graded Stakes Committee to be interesting. A normal citizen/fan with some math and programming ability could do a lot to remedy this.

    One could write an algorithm which uses Equibase data to retroactively rate a past stakes race as a future indicator of racing ability and performance. You have to do this in retrospect because it would be difficult to determine the quality of (say) the 2016 Malibu Stakes (run at the end of December for 3YOs) but it is totally clear what the empirical quality of the 2014 Malibu was by now in the middle of 2017. Working backward and using weighted averages one could see the general quality of the Malibu in comparison to other races and one could see whether the race is improving or deteriorating. I would call this rating and trend something like a “Stakes Power Rating” or SPR for short.

    Once these figures are complete they could be automatically updated and then the task is to publish them widely. At first they would probably do very little, but with time (if they are qualitatively better) the SPR would be more important than the Grade of the race for horse breeding valuation. This would be an empirical valuation rather than a tradition or status one (which is what the Grade of stakes races essentially is today).

    So I leave this idea here, on the doorstep of the PR, for someone to pick up and run with. If a wealthy donor wants to come pay for a six month sabbatical from my job for me, I’m happy to develop this, but unfortunately I am totally swamped in life right now. But, I’m saying it here publicly, this isn’t that difficult of a task and all the data necessary is there. We just need some programming and math muscle to get it working. The algorithm itself should be totally transparent and open for people to see. It could be a communal project.

    Thanks again for your good work with the PR and for this week’s Friday Show. I’d love to hear people’s comments about this idea.

    • Blue Larkspur

      the sport doesn’t care … sorry to be the bearer of bad news :-(

    • theosmachine

      David, excellent comment. This sport is dying due to the lack of innovation and your plan is far to advance for the 80 year old’s that run the sport and just want to have a committee decide. Maybe racing can hang on for another 20 years so people like yourself can get an opportunity. I certainly hope so.

  • Romanella

    Thanks for a very informative show and insight into what has happened to Graded stakes for young horses. I had no idea
    Mr. Paulick, I wish you and your family plus all the people and animals in Florida great safety
    This is very upsetting , especially after Harvey

    • Blue Larkspur

      It is, Romanella … it sure is

  • Jack Frazier

    In a word: GREED. Another reason racing is on life support.

    • Blue Larkspur

      That would not include Chad Brown …it would include, however, dirt speed trainers

  • Bryan Langlois

    I know it would take even more than an act of God to happen, but we need to bring back something like the old ACRS where there is a points system that is tied to a nice bonus at the end of the racing season for older horses that compete in the series. The Pegasus alone is not going to be enough to keep horses in training longer. The tracks need to come together on this, put the damn egos aside, and work for the greater good. A series like this, if marketed correctly, can really appeal to the public and can prevent horses from ducking each other by basically making a rule of “If you want to be in the running, you have to compete in so many of the races on the schedule”. Otherwise you are ineligible. Then you know where the big horses will be pointing towards throughout the year, and you can market things better that way. Racing needs more of a true “Season” of racing that fans can really get excited about and follow, and that the handicappers can get behind by offering other incentive bets on those races.

  • todd fortune

    Commissioner would be a good idea. Not sure how it could be orchestrated in thou and having somebody like Roger Goodell would be a scary thought. League no longer reports his salary but the last time they did it was 44 million.

  • Marlaine Meeker

    Great discussion. Talking about sprinters saw X Y Jet in clip and wondered what happened to him. Prayers for everyone in Florida and still in Texas.

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