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Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Buck I St Pat Dispute

As you know, Buck I St Pat has been denied entry into the Breeders Crown and the ORC has fined the connections $1,500 for filing a frivilous appeal.  Howard Taylor, attorney and member of the ownership group, has indicated they are willing spend $10,000 to fight the $1,500 fine, claiming the ORC chair was very rude.

The argument made by Buck I St Pat's ownership team is the ORC has some discretion in letting the horse race, whereas I previously had shown the rules indicated otherwise.  They argue this is not some cheap claimer; this is a two-time Breeders Crown Champion.

Well, I disagree.  Yes, Buck I St Pat may be a two-time BC champion, but in her recent form she certainly does not present herself as being a champion, but more like an unsound $20,000 claimer.  How much should past performance count for entry into a prestigious race?

Would you have let Hambletonian winner Shiaway St Pat race towards the end of his career in the BC, because he was a Hambletonian winner?  Granted, this is an extreme example as at the end he was racing in $2,500 claimers. But the point remains the same, he was a shadow of his former self as it appears to be the case with Buck I St Pat.

The qualifying rules are mean to protect the wagering public from horses that are unable to remain on stride.  If you cover the name of the horse up and look at the program lines for Buck I St Pat, does that look like a horse who can reliably be expected to remain on stride?  No.  Yes, it may be a case of protecting the wagering public from themselves, but any racing commission has a responsibility to make sure a horse being offered as a wagering proposition has a reasonable chance of remaining flat.

Buck I St Pat's owners indicated this was likely going to be her last race; an attempt to dip into the well one last time.  There is a good chance Buck I St Pat has raced her last race and is heading into retirement.  Rather than trying to race her this last time, it would have been more fitting for Buck I St Pat's connections to have retired the horse and let her lead this year's BC field in the post parade as part of a formal retirement ceremony.  That would have been a more fitting end of her career.  The last thing this great mare needed was for her career to end in a commission hearing room.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Good post and I love your idea of the retirement ceremony. I don't understand why owners can't see what would be best for the animal and a win/win in the big picture of the sport.

Last Wednesday, a thoroughbred named Ballast, a two time winner of the Tropical Turf Handicap (G3) and multiple shows and places in other graded turf stakes, raced in a $5,000 claimer on a sloppy track. This champion turf horse had hit rock bottom. Thankfully, one of his former trainers, Graham Motion, was keeping an eye on him and bought him privately after the race to retire him.

It's sad to me that it took that kind of action to retire the 10 yr old. In the same breath I'm thrilled that there are good people in the sport who will do what is right by the animal.

It's good in so many ways for the sport to honor/respect the animal rather than treating them as a disposable commodity. Sometimes dollars get in the way of good sense.