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Zipse At The Track

American Race Fans: Double Standard or Mizdirection?

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? 


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Older Comments about American Race Fans: Double Standard or Mizdirection?...

Kinsale King was the last winner for the US, in 2010, but numbers have been down for overall US shippers. As for Lynne's remark, I have never seen better on-track conditions anywhere in the world for stabled horses as those that exist in the UAE. They put US backsides to shame.
How long has it been since American horses were very successful in Dubai? Was it before they switched from dirt to synthetic?
i think that our american horses should stay here and not be subjected to climate change, water change, feed and the customs of any foreign country, and further more if they are sold over there and they do not pan out to speak ..are they not destroyed and turned into food? I think our beloved racehorses should remain here as there are alot of people, trainers and such who will retire a horse and give him or her a pension. I do not want to sound like an idiot here...but I have 38 years in the racing industry...and I am just concerned with what has been going on here in our own country. i WISH ONLY THAT THE HORSES ALL OVER THE WORLD HAVE A GOOD LIFE. I have said my peace...Respectfully, Lynne Dunn. facebook.
Ugh - they're not their...
To Mike in SB - I wasn't really trying to debunk the myth in my comments, and using only American horses as the example doesn't work either...if their all thoroughbreds, the bounce factor should apply no matter where they return. You say to-MAY-to, I say to-MAH-to. For every anti-bounce theory, another no-bounce story emerges. In reality, it's ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENT than day-to-day racing, when stakes horses go off-form and are put away for a few months. Given the spacing perpetuated in the game right now, most horses aren't starting one a month anyway, and don't miss much more than they normally would.
Brian, you read my mind with this article. Like it or not, racing is now a global sport, and the new standard for top tier horses will become to travel internationally. I think all horses should travel to face the best, but I also recognize travel is tough. Using the tactics of domestic travel with shipping a few days before the race may not be the best recipe for success in the international world. A good measure should be Point of Entry and Little Mike assuming they both run the Sheema Classic at Dubai this year. Little mike having the prep in Dubai vs Point of Entry not. We know they are near equal here in the states, so all things else held equal it will be an interesting little experiment.
I am not sure Mr. Cummings actually debunked the Dubai Bounce Theory, he seemed to say that all horses are affected by travel in different ways, which would be hard for anyone to disagree with. He didn't have too many examples of American horses with great success after running in Dubai, Royal Delta is one of the few I can think of. Personally I think many horses are affected by the trip to Dubai, there have been several winners of the World Cup by horses that previously won the Breeders Cup Classic, Curlin and Cigar for example, but no winners of the Classic after running in the World Cup, and many horses require months before they race again after the trip. Horses today race too few times anyway, the months break after the Dubai races only adds to the problem. I admit to being selfish but I like to see our best horses run here in the United States. As for Frankle I would have loved to see him run in the United States, but I understand why they kept him in Europe, but I think he could be critized for not running in the Arc.
Thanks for writing this.
what makes a champ? ADAPTATION to whatever is thrown at him. Any horse capable of performing well in varied venues, they get lots of extra credit.
No you are not wrong. The double standard is there loud and clear. I do think America, should a horse say win in many regions of America, shouldn't be slammed. Why, because it is not just a country but an entire continent. Climate/weather and many other factors come into play when a horse travels through the US. However, should a horse stick to it's specific region, and there are several horses that do that, then it is not as impressive. I do not think Frankel should have to have left for America and flown god knows how many miles. He won all over England, and while I wish he had gone out of his own country, say Ireland or France, nobody can deny the greatness he displayed. Only those with a double standard can say he was not, for "lack of travel."
They call the US professional baseball champ WORLD champions, and then in the international competition they don't even in the finals.....DOUBLE standards abound
It would be a double standard if American fans were to say "No, don't go to Dubai, but Mizdirection is the greatest horse of all time." Frankel was no doubt a great horse, but he never beat the international company. Therefore no matter how great he was, he'll never be the greatest. Same with Mizdirection, he's a great turf sprinter, but he'll never be the greatest turf sprinter until he ships out of North America and beats the international company. That's the double standard.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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