Lisa Danielle won Broodmare of the Year last year, and it's a lifetime achievement award. As my favorite runner of all time, I'm so elated to see TCL enjoying this type of success as a broodmare! Way to go, girl!
The shift from a graded stakes earnings system to a points system for the Derby is a good start. Though it hasn't yet resulted in a decline in the vastly inflated purse structure of the Derby trail/late 2yo preps, there's every possibility that it will eventually have that effect, considering the graded stakes earnings system precipitated that structure.
There's a pretty good fix for this that makes more sense than setting an age limit on breeding: significantly decreased the number and grade of graded stakes for two year olds and early three year olds. Looking at results from the last several years, do any juvenile races besides the Breeders' Cup races, Champagne, and maybe Hollywood Futurity really deserve G1 designation? This would mean people need to race their horses longer in order to get the credentials necessary to be attractive stallions, and favor bloodlines resulting in horses who were stronger as late three and four year olds and able to win those G1 races. That, and shifting purse money away from two and three year old stakes and back towards races for older horses, where it used to be concentrated.
Great article, Mary! I was in agreement on London Bridge until I heard Mike Smith talking about him not handling the dirt on HRTV this morning. Aotearoa is a horse everyone seems to have forgotten about despite what I thought was an impressive win last time. And I have thought Colonel Joan could be a bomber at a big price since the Surfer Girl - she was motoring at the end of that one.
I very much respect Shug as a horseman and his patience with his horses is one of his biggest assets. But I have to say that, unless the horse has shown signs of being knocked out from the Champagne (which is possible), I really don't understand this decision. If I know anything about racing it's that these animals can be injured at any time, without warning, and making long range plans can be dangerous business. Bypassing a chance to be two year old champion with a horse that is doing well and should appreciate the extra turn and added distance in favor of a race six months away seems ridiculous, especially considering that there is no reason to think the BC Juvenile should be any harder on the horse than the 1 1/8 mile Remsen. There's not even anything to gain by running in the Remsen - he wins a low-purse G2 and gets exactly as many Derby points as winning the BC Juvenile. IF he wins. Letting your horse tell you when to run and when to rest is great, but if the horse is doing well, I don't see why you wouldn't strike while the iron is hot.
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