Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mistakes of the Past?

While studying the history of Thoroughbred racing I came upon an interesting comparison of the market as it is now and how it was a hundred and seventy years ago.

In the late 1820 to early 1830’s speculative fever reached a high point across America the prices of everything soared and money poured into businesses across the nation from the coffers of banks and individual investors.

Horse breeders borrowed heavily from banks and investors to expand their acreage and stables. They brought in so much money from selling each crop of horses that every year they doubled and tripled the number of foals they produced.

However when the economy collapsed in 1837 breeders found themselves trapped with an oversupply of a product no longer in demand. The effect within the industry was predictable as across the board prices plummeted and the business of selling horses took a nose dive.

Although by no means is the Thoroughbred industry the only business which has replicated errors of the past, just look at the daily bail outs to prove that, but the comparison is eerily similar and illustrates well the old saying that “if you don’t heed the mistakes of the past you are bound to repeat them”.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bob Feld - Bongo Stables

OOF: With 3 Breeders Cup winners, national prominence by The Blood-Horse Market Watch and two of the first 24 yearlings you bought or 12% winning Graded Stakes races – obviously you have a good eye for horse flesh, what are some of the things you look for?

BOB: There are two things that seem to jump out at me when a horse first comes out of the stall and walks towards me and they are balance and athleticism. After that I like a strong shoulder. I am very particular about conformation even though I know good horses have faults. I tend to lean towards perfect though and I am constantly learning what I can live with and what I can't

OOF: When we were looking at horses together at the Fasig-Tipton sale in July you depicted one horse as having a “racy” look to him, how would you describe a “racy” look?

BOB: Looking at horses is so esoteric. It is such a personal thing. People tend to land on the same horse at the sales but it really comes down to personal preference. Racy is definitely a "look" but it is hard to describe. Everything about the horse flows. It has "good lines." To break it down and make a simple analogy I think most people looking at a Chevy Corvette sitting next to a Ford Fiesta would say that the Corvette looks racier.

OOF: The story of the filly Debie Ginsburg is wonderful, I saw a promotion about her before a race on HRTV and it honestly touched me what influenced your decision to name the horse after Debie?

BOB: Debie and I had been friends for years. She worked for the California Breeders' magazine and did a lot of her work and research in their library that is open to the public. It is a very nice library that I have spent a lot of time in doing research20myself. Debie LOVED the game and it was her life. She asked me one day if she could interview me about how I name my horses. I told her absolutely. Years had gone by and she never interviewed me. There were always other stories taking precedence and I teased her relentlessly about it. When she unexpectedly passed away at such an early age I thought it would be neat to honor her with a horse in her name. I thought, let Debie Ginsburg the horse write the story, which she has. When she won her debut it was one of the great days of racing for me!

OOF: You have been involved with pretty much all aspects of the Thoroughbred business from hot walking to working with your brother who trained, to selling shares with Team Valor, to now owning and running your own stable of horses through Bongo Racing Stables, what has been the most difficult and the most rewarding?

BOB: The difficulty is always finding clients. It is a never ending search and you c an never have enough it seems like. The most rewarding part is easy. Watching a horse I bought at auction win. To me there is no feeling in the world like winning a race with a yearling purchase. When you are fortunate enough to have a yearling purchase like Balance, who won three grade 1's and went into the starting gate for the Kentucky Oaks as the favorite, it is a great feeling of achievement.

OOF: Which horse in your stable would you consider the best at this moment Rush Rush, Majormotionpicture or another?

BOB: There is no doubt in my mind it is Majormotionpicture. He is the most talented horse I have ever been around. He is amazing. He does everything so easily. His stride is incredibly long and smooth. I liken him to Tiger Woods when he joined the tour. I felt in my heart Tiger was the greatest player that ever lived. I remember arguing with my friends fathers who watched Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus in their primes. They had a "show me" an attitude which is proper and natural. Until Tiger started breaking their records it was all conjecture. Talk is cheap in this game and I just hope Majormotionpicture gets a chance to show everyone what I know in my heart. I am looking forward to a fun ride with him in 2009.

OOF: One more question, how’s the weather in Southern California?

BOB: Believe it or not as I type this it is pouring down rain in sunny California! I am still wearing my shorts though :)