Nice horse, but top ten is a joke
From 1936-1953 an inactive baseball player (retired at least one full year after 1945) was immediatly eligible for induction into Cooperstown. the five-year waiting rule was not adopted until 1954 and even then grandfathered in candidates who garnered votes even though they had not been out of the game for five years. Baseball, just as an example, never had the artificiality of the racings initial inductions. And yes, one could say man 'o war was a first ballot Hall of Famer as he went in the first year he was eligible, but again how much water does that hold, maybe not so much for MOW, but for the other horses inducted in 1957. I note that not one of the 1957 inductees raced after 1935. Was there another invisible barrier which prevented the induction of Seasbiscuit and War Admiral who both made it in 1958? Does it mean that Sir Barton and Twenty Grand, et al were more deserving of inclusion over the 1958 horses, or if it had been a truly open vote would those horses have EVER made it in, or perhaps waited a considerable time over more deserving throughbreds? What about the class of '59? Citation and Whirlaway are both popular top ten choices among experts and amatuers alike with the former often occupying any one of the top three slots on practically every poll. Where they not allowed to compete for induction against the horses which made it in 1957 or 1958? If not, what does it say about the viability of the immortality dropped on the horses admitted in those classes? You must see the slippery slope the racing hall embarked on which excluded horses from competing one against another for puely artifical reasons. When that happens you end up with artificial (or at best, premature) inductees and the weight given induction goes down dramatically.
Buckpasser I don't disagree with anything you have said, however I still maintain it was/is a non-sensical process for determining and honoring greatness in the thouroughbred athlete. On that we will just have to agree to disagree. In other Halls of Fame, be they devoted to sport or some other purusit, it really means something to be in the charter group of inductees or to be ehshrined when first eligible. All your numerous missives reflect that as far as Saratoga goes, it means very little, especially as a reference for the evaluation, comparision, rating and ranking of thoroughbred race horses throughtout the history of the sport and I will not place much, if any importance, on that factor in rating horses of the past. Too bad.
I'm sorry buckpasser, I still see the early nomination and induction policy as nonsensical. Why would the nomination procedure be fair in year one and still fair in year three when members presumably could nominate a horse with which they had connections? Why not from the outset use the common sense rubic that one just can't nominate or vote for a horse with which one has a connection? Why was the same policy not implemented with the jockeys and trainers enshrined? it is patently ridiculous to have a horse, nominally the greatest runner of all time in America, who's career ended 35 years before the initial Hall induction and not enshrine him as number one with a bullet and every other horse, of whatever era, to come after. If the horse, objectively, was the greatest runner ever, the partiality arguement you propound just doesn't work. you make it sound like a jury where if someone has formed a pre-existing opinion they can't participate. that may be in decding the fate of a criminal defendant, but it is ludicrous when going about the business of honoring a race horse. none of the other sports Halls of Fame, as far as i know, pursued such an illogical course.
That's 'transparency'. Sorry for the poor typing and spelling.
Undoubtedly you are correct buckpasser (and I have no reason to doubt it). In looking over the Hall of Fame roster it looks as though in Year 1 (1955) only horses who raced pre-20th century were considered and further that in year two (1956) only those who raced up to the end of the first decade of the 2Oth century (like Colin and Sysbony) could gain admittance. If in fact Man o' War was enshrined when first eligible, it shoots my little arguement all to hell, which is okay. It also shows the HOF at its' inception anyway, was one nonsensical organization. Can you imagine the baseball Hall, for instance, when it started in the 1930s, saying: "we are established to honor the all-time greats of the game, but for now you can forget that Ruth guy, and Ty Cobb, too because, for now, we are only honoring fellas who played with no gloves when the ball was pitched underhand"? Just another stupid Racing HOF move like enshrining active jockeys (trainers I can understand, as they are ususally active in the game up until their deaths). Still, and it gives no help in the Man 'o War/secretariat debate, the length of time between a horses career and admission into the Hall can be used as a gauge of comparision one horse to another. As mentioned above somewhere, in addtion to Secretariat, some horses like Kelso, Ruffian, Affirmed and Seattle Slew (among others, it's not an exhaustive list) were admiited very quickly, some with a waiver of the standing eligibility waiting period. Certainly those horses could, and pehaps should, be ranked above those who, and not knocking their greatness for there time, didn't get the invite to Saratoga for 10, 20, 30 and in rare cases like Sun Beau, 50+ years after their eligibility. Of course the problem here is that we rate horses on a very limited (10-1) scale, rather then ranking horses one against another. It's all well and good to say "I like Flying Paster, I'll give him a 10" and then realizing (or not) that you have just rated a nice, but not all-time great, horse the same as a Kelso or Man 'o War. We would have much greater and more accurate results, as well as greater transparity for debate, were we to rank horses (1-10, 0r 25 or even a hundred) with the rank given an ordinal score and make those ranking lists public so we could debate with the outliers. Baby steps I guess, but on my wish list.
I have been following the Man 'o War/Secretariat deabte with great interest, but have what I think is a significant question about the former before crowning him "the best of all time". The question arises from a comparitive evaluation of Man 'o War by the people who were, and are, put in a position to know, the nominators and electors of the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame at Saratoga. The HOF begain enshirning horses, jockeys and trainers beginning in 1955. One would think if Man 'o War was, at the time (1) eligible and (2) the best thing ever seen on an American flat track, he would have entered the Hall in the chater class by acclimation. Certainly the initial classes of say, the Baeball and Football Halls, admitted what were then the consensus greatest eligible players in the respective sports (in 1939 the Cooperstown admitted Cobb and Ruth, the average, hits and homerun leaders. In 1963 Canton opened its doors to the very biggest names in pro ball; Grange, Baugh and Thorpe). Man o' War didn't make into the racing Hall, until its' THIRD election in 1957. In addtion to foundation type horses like Domino, Lexington and Hindoo, near contemporary racers like Colin, Sysbony, Beldame and Artful preceded Man o' War into the Saratoga shrine. Man 'o War's 1957 class included Sir Barton, Gallant Fox, Equipose, Exterminator, Sarazen, Blue Larkspur and Twenty Grand, and while that doesn't make these horses any more worthy of enshrinement then Man o' War, it certainly doesn't make them less deserving. What it does speak to however, is that in the mid-1950s, the nominators and electors of the Hall, operating much closer in time to Man o' War's racing career the those rating here and the 'experts' who came up with the Bloodhorse Top 100 list (many of whom may have actually seen the horse run as opposed to relying on anecdotes) and fully cognizant of his stud career and impact on the breed, while looking at the shole history of thorughbred racing said, no, there are other horses more deserving of enshrinement before Man 'o War. That must have some impact of which horse one puts in the top spot. Conversley, in 1974, the first year of Secretariat's retirement, the Hall waived its' eligibility requirement and admitted the horse into the Hall practicall by acclaimation. Again the contemporary evaluation of the horse has to count for something, and something big when rating and ranking horse of differant era. Not to say Halls don't get it wrong; they often give us head-scratching selection while passing over deserving candidates year-after-year until they fade from living memory leaving only the anecdotes and the records if extant. This was not the case with Man o' War. He was there, he wa eligible among the horses making up the whole history of the sport and was passed over by folks who's business it was to know and evaluate the greats of the game
I have been following the Man 'o War/Secretariat deabte with great interest, but have what I think is a significant question about the former before crowning him "the best of all time". The question arises from a comparitive evaluation of Man 'o War by the people who were, and are, put in a position to know, the nominators and electors of the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame at Saratoga. The HOF begain enshirning horses, jockeys and trainers beginning in 1955. One would think if Man 'o
Thanks Icy. Chenery is hardly an isolated instance, as I don't know of any major breeding and/or racing organization where the owners got rich soley from the success of the stable operation. It seems almost universal that the big horse owners were wildly successful in some other business pursuit (or inherited big bucks from a wildly successful ancestor) before starting into the horse business. At best, even though it provides a income for numerous empolyees of the operation, for the owners it remains an expensive hobby with very low (if any) profit margins as compared to their other business pursuits. Since most are, or were, wholly owned family outfits the tax effects of the death of the owner(s) can have profound impact on the contiuned viability of the stable which rarely outlive the primary owner. I always thought Penny took the most prudent course. It was a gamble, but the Secretariat name is still making money for her and her heirs forty years later as evidenced by all the swag for sale over at secretariat.com. This one horse has become one of the most profitable brand names in this, or any other sport. Penny is no longer in the horse racing or breeding business, but is full guns in the Secretariat business and doing damn well at that.
Icy you are forgetting that the major bulk of Chenery's estate was his utility investments, and Meadow Stable was just a small portion of his his assets in the estate. Penny's siblings, who were also beneficiaries of the estate care whether the stable continued or not. But for syndicating the horses, the estate would have to have liquidated the broodmare and stud stock and effectively put the place out of business. Because Chenery died in calendar year 1973 and not '72, Penny had leverage to sell the horse on her terms and could, to a large extent, dictate price and terms, which included running Secretariat in 1973. Because of that, the heirs werea ble ot protect the bulk of the Cenrery estate and keep the horse racing and breeding business open. It was a gamble on Penny's part. Remember all of the race winnings from 1972, Ridge's big year, went into the estate and were subject to the inheritence tax. On the other hand, everything in 1973, went to heirs and not the estate and could be used to defray the tax bill. Riva Ridge may have resurrected the farm's image after a lot of down years, but if not for Secretariat Meadow would have ceased to exist.
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