Thursday, April 21, 2011

In Memory...

I was lucky enough to have interviewed Jess Jackson in December of 09. This is a reprint of that interview:

First and foremost I would genuinely like to thank you for taking the time to allow me to interview you for Odds On Favorite.  

OOF: During a time when an individual would work one job essentially their entire lives you had a number of career changes. While a police officer during the depression you worked your way through law school then founded a firm that went on to argue cases’ before the Supreme Court. You founded Kendall Jackson filling a hole in the market of producing a quality wine at an affordable price. And now you’ve moved into the realm of being a Thoroughbred owner and breeder. Of all these quite amazing accomplishments which avenue was the most challenging to undertake?

JJ:  Every undertaking that one takes seriously is challenging and every challenge is unique. Because of that it would be very hard to compare one career challenge with another: they test you in different ways and reward you in different ways.
  
OOF: You caused quite a stir (to say the least) when you entered into the Thoroughbred industry. As you know there was a long standing ‘insiders” tradition that secret commissions and dual agency were just the way the industry works. As it has been described to me “every one gets cheated when they first enter the owners market” (including me). I know I’m not going to make any friends here but I respect what you did regarding your particular dealings and believe the changes you brought about will ultimately help Thoroughbred racing. Describe if you will what led you to undertake the legal action and not just accept what had happened?

JJ:  Dual representation is unethical and illegal. Bloodstock agents deceive newcomers by conspiring with sellers to drive up prices. Then they split the overpayment. I sued and won. I didn't need the money. I just wanted to do what was right. Some people said I should have worked within the system: well, people tried that and it never worked. I took it up a notch and that seems to have worked.

OOF: You created more controversy by testifying before congress regarding the use of steroids within the industry. I personally believe in an outright ban on them and know you testified for that as well. Do you feel there will be a time within the near future where steroids will be permanently banned?   

JJ:  There first needs to be a single, unified body that governs the entire sport. Right now it’s a hodgepodge of different rules, different authorities, different penalties depending on where you race. I don’t think we’ll see meaningful changes until we have a single, authoritative organization.

OOF: You have made your disdain for Poly or “Plastic” tracks well known. What are your feelings regarding the future of plastic tracks and should the “powers that be” create three divisions of racing, dirt, turf and poly?

JJ:  We should get rid of plastic surfaces altogether

OOF: You obviously had personal interaction with Curlin during his career; I remember for example watching you visit him just before the Breeders Cup in California where in an apparent attempt to find mints he was attacking your jacket pockets. How much interaction were you able to actually have with him during his race career and now in his new career?

JJ:  I am very close to Curlin and continue to spend a good deal of time with him.  I have a deep affection for him.

OOF:  His new foals will be hitting the ground “running” soon how do you foresee his stallion career developing and unfolding?

JJ:  The point of breeding Curlin is to create racehorses that not only have speed and strength, but durability. I want to see the breed step up to another level—for the good of the horses themselves and the sport. When Curlin’s offspring become champions, it will underscore the importance of this direction of breeding.

OOF: How is Rachel progressing towards her reappearance next year?

JJ:  Rachel will be in top form. She can’t wait to get going.

OOF: Although I thought Zenyatta’s performance in the Breeders Cup was outstanding looking at the overall body of work she and Rachel achieved over the course of the entire year I believe Rachel wins hands down. What kind of emotions do you think you would feel standing up on that stage to receive the Horse of the Year award three years in a row?

JJ:  I would feel gratitude and respect for the voters. I would feel that they had truly  recognized the horse that had the best year. I could not be more proud of Rachel and our team no matter what the HOY outcome.

OOF: Who would win in a race between Curlin and Rachel?

JJ:  Who can say? That’s why we watch horse races.

OOF:  What would you like your biggest legacy in Thoroughbred racing to be?

JJ:  I would like to feel that I helped bring a higher level of integrity to the business—such as the elimination of dual agency and the establishment of a single, authoritative organization to oversee the sport. I’d like to think I contributed to the betterment of the race horse species and to the better enjoyment of the sport by the fans.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Out on a Limb part 2

In July of 2009, I wrote a piece about some horses in the Fasig-Tipton sale that I liked. I thought I would look up what became of them and see how good of an “eye” I have at picking horses.

Hip: 169 – I wrote:

“Bay Colt out of Bernardini / Lyphard’s Delta, a late foal, foaled the 6th of May probably attributed to his slightly smaller stature. But other than that he certainly looked the part of a race horse, sharp eye, smooth (and I mean smooth) mover, nice knees, I would be surprised if this horse doesn’t win some big races, apparently others had the same thought as he sold for $350,000”.

His name now is “Biondetti”. To date he has ran four times winning three (including a Group one race) and won over three hundred thousand. Here is a link to his page:
http://godolphin.com/HorseDetail.aspx?cid=1_2_1&id=864


Out on the limb Grade: A

Ok, not to blow my own horn here but I think I nailed that one pretty good. One for one on the limb lets see who’s next.


Hip: 313 – I wrote:


“Chestnut Colt out of Posse / Cash Flow, this is Cash Flow’s first foal, her dam Capestele a Black Type mare, has had 15 foals with 14 to race all of them have been winners. He was very well balanced, a good mover with perfect knees, and a big chest; in fact his chest may have been too big as his front hooves when he walked were a little too far apart as they came down. One last very distinguishing note about him his attitude, this horse had a “TUDE,” during the entire showing he was working hard trying to bite his handler while looking at me as if to say “what the hell do you want, get out of here.” I asked the handler if he was difficult to handle, he turned his head to look away and no, no, he’s nice, over by the barn however my wife heard another handler mumble, “nasty that’s what HE is.” I think if the right trainer could get him to focus that nasty attitude toward the track he’d be a nice allowance horse (or even more) that could win his share of races. Apparently no one else agreed with me on this one as his reserve was not met”.


His name is now “Kid Curry”. To date he has ran three times winning once and earned over twenty three thousand.


Out on the limb Grade: A-

I thought he would make a good allowance horse and so far he’s doing that. Time will tell if he be able to move up or to the claiming ranks.


Hip: 128 – I wrote:

“Bay Colt out of A.P. Warrior / Girl Gone Crazy, this is a big good looking Colt. His body is perfectly put together, very nice mover, very smooth, very balanced, he possesses what my friend Bob Feld described as a “Racy Look” this horse looks like he can run. Wouldn’t surprise me to see this horse in some higher level stakes races in a year or two, he sold for $85,000 to Divine Assetts.”

His name now is “Hawk Warrior”. At the Fasig sale he sold for eighty five thousand. He was then resold in March of this year for over three hundred thousand. He has since been shipped to Japan. Where according to “Thoroughbred Data Base” he has ran once and won once. No dollar amount has been listed on TDB as to his earnings.


Out on the limb Grade: A

Though we are yet to have a good look at what he can do on the track as far as pinhooking he was a dream come true. Who wouldn’t spend a hundred thousand or so with expenses, to make over three hundred thousand?


Hip: 395 – I wrote:


“Dark Bay/Brown Colt out of Medaglia D'oro / Honeycomb Gus, a January foal he’s had plenty of time to grow, and he has. He’s a bull of a horse, perfect balance, perfect legs, huge barrel chest, long thick neck, sharp eye. He’s named Standing O and for good reason, he deserves a standing ovation just by the way he looks. I can see him winning stakes races and going on to a successful stud career. Apparently others had a similar assessment as he sold for $250,000.”
So far “Standing O” has yet to race. Looking back I think I was more influenced by the lunch I had with Barry Irwin on the day he bought him then I was by the horse. Note to self: Make your own decisions and don’t let other influence you!


Out on a limb Grade: Incomplete

On one hand since he hasn’t ran yet we don’t know what he’s capable of doing. On the other hand since he hasn’t run yet we have to wonder if he’s capable of doing so.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Consistently finding Affluent new owners the Holy Grail of Thoroughbred racing.


There are many legends surrounding the search for the Holy Grail with Chr├ętien de Troyes Arthurian anecdote being probably the most recognizable. According to the story Arthur’s knights searched for many years before Perceval found it at the abode of the Fisher King.


In the business of buying and selling race horses being able to consistently attract new affluent owners is akin to finding the Holy Grail. Quite obviously the affluent are the Holy Grail because not only do they have the means to pay a premium for quality horses they also have the means to pay all the bills.


But ask most within the Thoroughbred community and they’ll tell you that consistently attracting the affluent is just as difficult as finding the Holy Grail. They’ll tell you things like “until we get our house in order attracting new owners will be difficult.” Or, if it were easy then racing wouldn't be in the decline that it is. 


But what if I told you the affluent fit not only the financial but also the personality demographic to become owners?  Here are some facts about affluent males which back up my statements:


1) Lamborghini’s sell from 240k to 1.4million yet the 1.4mill sell out fastest and have the longest waiting list. Myth: women buy with emotion men buy with logic. Truth: women mature, men just get older. 


2) Men spend a lot of money on symbolic validation on their success, status, and prosperity. Example men aren’t clotheshorses they would shop at Wal-Mart but will train themselves to appreciate fashion in a means of self-validation. This buying for validation – what the are suppose to buy, where their suppose to patronize – extends to almost every product and service.


3) Status for men is more of a matter of competition and comparison. Affluent men will compete fiercely against other within their class for status through things like best new toy.


4) They seek approval, recognition, respect – some from only their peers others from the world at large all from those they do business with.


OK so let’s look at the facts: the affluent will spend big bucks to show off their success while competing against each other to gain respect. If this doesn’t scream Thoroughbred race horse owner then you’re not paying attention.  


A few more tidbits of information, at last count there were more than 11 million households with an annual income of one to nine million dollars. The ultra-affluent (defined as an annual income of over nine million) who also fit the demographic profile spend even more extravagantly. Some examples of their spending habits are that they spend on an average annual basis 30k on wine, 200k on jewelry, and 250k on clothes.  


The facts are that there is a huge untapped market of new affluent owners. They have the money, they fit the demographic profile so why aren’t they owners? Perhaps those charged with finding them don't know where to look or how to attract them. 


That's the real trick knowing where to look and how to market to them. I have spent over twenty years in the field of marketing and sales with much of that time being dedicated to becoming an expert in selling to the affluent.  I would be glad to speak with anyone who would like to learn how to find that Holy Grail. If you're interested in expanding your business you can contact me at: oddsonfavorite@live.com

Friday, May 7, 2010

Riding For Their Lives


WHY WE'RE DOING THIS, AND HOW YOU CAN HELP

The way I see it, Thoroughbred race horses have contributed to the very meaning of life, so they too deserve to retire with dignity and not be sent to the slaughterhouse just because they now do six furlongs in 1:16 instead of 1:12. 

We invite you to follow our journey, and if you'd like to sponsor us, just click on the link. 

The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation currently cares for over 1200 unwanted horses. When you sponsor us, we are helping them in their mission to save ALL unwanted racehorses. 

Two men riding bikes over 620 miles, visiting eleven race tracks in twenty five days and saving 8,000 race horses by doing so. They need your help, they need your support, to find out how you can get involved:


Thoroughbred horses give us so much excitement, joy and even heart break. They run their hearts out and all they ask for in return is to be taken care of.   

A needed pat on the back


With a lot of negativity floating around the Thoroughbred industry it’s nice to see a major publication give the industry a pat on the back. That’s what the Thoroughbred Daily News did with its new spring magazine named “Success Stories”. http://www.thoroughbreddailynews.com/restricted/pdf/magazine/SuccessStories.pdf

The online magazine details five different operations of various interests within the industry. Who although may have differing business modules all are “firm believers in doing things the right way”.

 At a time when we are inundated  with stories of diminishing revenues, abusive owners and never ending debate of slot machines it’s nice to have an injection of good news in the industry. Way to go Thoroughbred Daily News keep up the good work!

Side note: I still love ya’ even if you didn’t run my article on the tax break I discovered through Section 179 of the Economic Stimulus Package (The Paulick Report linked to it).

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Check your tickets…


I noticed the sign as I made my annual Derby day contribution to Twin Spires. As I walked away from the counter I thought about looking through the dozen or so ticket in my hand, but decided against it. I reasoned that I had watched him punch in the numbers I dictated so what could be wrong with the tickets?

As the race ended I thought to myself “well as least I got an exacta”. I dutifully waited for the odds to be shown and was quite pleased to see the 76:1 odds. But when I began flipping through the losing tickets I noticed something wrong. The 2 / 4 boxed bet I had made was entered as a 2/ 4 straight bet. The pretty good payout I was already mentally spending was now nothing. My new mantra is and forever shall be “check your tickets”.   

5th Place??



Groovidute (the girl I picked as a runner in Sept Keeneland 08) came in 5th in her Maiden. At first I was disappointed then I looked it up and saw the horse that won was owned by West Point. Then I watched a reply of the race. (http://www.tampabaydowns.com/DailyReplays.aspx 8th race) She broke from the three hole and immediately took a left turn and dove to the rail. But by the time the pack entered the back stretch she had a half length lead - last to first. She was intensely rank. Her head was straight up and she and the jockey were in a tug of war. By the time they reached the far turn she was worn out and faded back. She did reach within herself and gave what she had left going towards the line. So, all in all she actually did okay for her first time out. Obviously she wasn't ready to run her form proved that. But she has speed and attitude so hopefully they can turn that into a winner (if her handlers have a brain they will).  

Sunday, March 14, 2010

What we learned

The NTRA needs more bandwidth: After advertising they were broadcasting both the races of Rachel and Zenyatta they experienced and apparent system crash. Going by the Twitter comments not only were no videos of either race broadcast but the NTRA was able to cultivate an overabundance of irate fans. Way to go guys, way to show the sport. Ok stuff happens but next time you purport you’re broadcasting then make sure you’re ready for the traffic.

Rachel wasn’t ready: According to Bloodhorse Jess Jackson has decided not to run Rachel against Zentatta in the Apple Blossom. He was quoted as saying “Yesterday’s race while a disappointment, helped us define Rachel Alexandra’s racing condition. While she is healthy, just as I had anticipated she is not in top form. Therefore, I decided today she will not be going to the Oaklawn Invitational on April 9. Steve and I discussed this fully and we now regret we tried to accelerate her training in order meet the Apple Blossom schedule. We have a whole season before us to help define her greatness. She will tell us when her next race will be.” She was not in “top shape” yet she still ran a 100 Beyer. Calvin Borel stated he wanted to let her run but was instructed not to. Maybe next time Steve will listen to Calvin and let Rachel do her thing.

Every little thing she do is magic: Ok, how many adjectives could be used to describe her. She danced, she pranced, she was magic; blocked in she worked her way through glared at Dance To My Tune and blew by on a hand ride. Watch the race again and analyze for yourself how she looked at the other horses. In the vernacular of horses she was telling them there is no damn way your getting past me. Simply put she is something special. And I can guarantee in the near future there will be no end to Stallion owners wanting to “call her up a thousand times a day…”.  


Friday, March 12, 2010

The entire racing community will be watching…but will anyone else?



I don’t have to tell you that March 13th will be a big day in Thoroughbred racing. With the prep races of Rachel Alexandra running in the New Orleans Ladies and Zenyatta in the Santa Margarita it will be a VERY big day for racing.

I don’t have to tell you these races will be the lead up to biggest showdown since Seabiscuit vs. War Admiral, since Alydar vs. Affirmed, since Wyatt Erpt vs. the Dalton Gang. I don’t have to tell you these races should bring a national spotlight upon our sport. I also don’t have to tell you NONE of the major networks are covering the races.

Although my point of view is tainted due to my love of the sport I am mystified as to why none of the major networks deemed these races worthy to broadcast. Where are our marketing representatives those who claim to promote and market the sport? Those who charge membership fees under the guise of promoting Thoroughbred ownership and breeding.

Did they fight to get these races televised to a national audience? I look at TOBA’s web site and there is no indication that they even tried. If I’m wrong then show me I am.

Marketing this great sport should be a privilege it should be undertaken with zeal. Not a place to show up for eight hours a day and collect a paycheck. If you truly want to promote ownership, if you truly want to promote breeding then promote racing.

A full court press should have been undertaken to get these races televised. A blow by blow description of marketing strategies and their outcomes should have been posted on their web site. Their members deserve that. They deserve to know their membership dues are being used for something other then under attended seminars.  

At least the NTRA has taken a pro-active stance and will offer free live video streaming of the races. Yes, one can rightfully argue they should also be involved in marketing the races. But at least they are doing something to promote our sport by televising the races to those who don’t have satellite services.

Our mantra should be “if you want to grow the sport then show the sport”. The sport will sell its self. Introduce the excitement and joy of racing to the uneducated and ownership could skyrocket. Do nothing and watch the numbers plummet.  So the question begs to be asked of the two which is better. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Consistency AND Value



When looking to breed those are words everyone wants to hear and Indian Charlie delivers both. Standing at Airdrie Stud at a fee of 70K, or 63K, if paid before November 1, 2010, he’s worth every penny.

Look at his progeny: which includes 4 Champions, Grade 1 stakes heroes Indian Blessing, Fleet Indian and Pampered Princess, and 76 stakes horses with over $26M in earnings through December 2008.

His recent stakes performers include two time Champion INDIAN BLESSING, a multiple Grade I winner in 2008 as well as the jaw-droppingly fast Mr Nightlinger, a multiple graded stakes winner that is widely viewed as the nation's top turf sprinter. Siring an Eclipse champion in each of the last three years, Indian Charlie has arrived as one of the nation's most important proven stallions at stud (Aridrie Stud web site). Much like him his prodigy posses both speed and attitude (he’s bit me several times).

Look at the numbers: last year his yearlings sold for a total of $5,346,000 and average of $121,000 and a med of $85,000 with a 2008 fee of $50,000. Simply put he’s money - and when looking to breed your mare you just can’t get much better than that.

Look at him: physically imposing possessing both a well muscled and balanced body he’s a very nice horse. If you go see him I can guarantee you’ll be impressed, but don’t forget the peppermints he can get a little testy otherwise.