In a response to a recent article by Matt Scott on Horse Racing Nation, Jim Rome asked an interesting question in the following tweet:
When I posed his direct question about his Breeders’ Cup winning mare to the readers of the Nation, I was a little surprised to see how decisive the answer was. The predominate number of comments said the same thing … No, do not send Mizdirection to Dubai. Many comments were a simple, “No,” while others explained that the trip would be in her best interest in the long run. Now this is not the first time I’ve heard of the dreaded “Dubai bounce” theory, but I question not only its validity, but also if that is the real reason so many do not want Mizdirection to go to Dubai.
I went straight to international racing expert, Patrick Cummings, and asked him if he believed a trip to Dubai adversely affects horses coming from America.
“Suggesting the Dubai bounce exists is nothing more than a product of arbitrary anecdote, if someone wants to say it does, they'll point to one horse and one post-Dubai performance as alleged proof of such a claim," said Cummings. "The stats are fairly clear - Trainers speak endlessly about different quirks of each of their horses, and I've long believed that some travel better than others, in some ways, just like people - some get over jet lag quicker than others. Horses are unique and some deal with it better. The proliferation of discussion around the Dubai bounce is rife with selective analysis by those that wish to perpetuate its existence.”
So, if you believe Mr. Cummings and his debunking of the “Dubai bounce” myth, as I do, I have to wonder why are American race fans so quick to offer up a clear “No” when Jim Rome asked whether he should send his star filly to be part of the rich Dubai World Cup card.
The question becomes all the more troubling when considering all the comments that came pouring in when it became clear that the English superstar, Frankel, would not be making the trip over to the U.S. for our Breeders’ Cup. Many American fans were quick to say that Frankel did not prove himself as an all-time great, or even the best horse in the world last year because his connections did not leave England, and more specifically, because he did not travel to America to compete in the Breeders’ Cup.
Judging from what I saw this week in response to Jim Rome and Mizdirection, there should have been a strong faction in favor of Frankel not leaving his homeland to come here, but there was not. It seems to be a clear double standard.
The message would seem to be: There is no need for American horses to prove themselves by traveling outside of our cozy borders, while conversely, international horses can only truly prove themselves by running in the United States.
Am I wrong, American race fans?