Day two of the Lexington sales showed a drop of 2.9% over last year's second session; not unexpected considering the economy and the fact the racing situation has not improved much over last year. Yes, the prospect of slots in Ohio and perhaps Illinois may be coming, but it appears yearling buyers want to see what purses would look like before putting their money down. For example, let's look at New Jersey where the Meadowlands has been saved. Yes, ,the perfect yearlings are going for good prices but overall, of the 46 NJ yearlings sold thus far, the gross was $2,170,000 for 46 yearlings for an average of $47,174. With some of these stallion stud fees ranging between $12,000 to $20,000, many of these yearlings are being sold at a loss or at a minimal profit.
Yesterday we mentioned that the Hambletonian would not be on NBC in 2012. In a clarification by Moira Fanning of the Hambletonian Society, she indicated one of the main reasons the Hambo would not be on a NBC network is that NBC will be broadcasting the 2012 Summer Olympics at that time. As for CBS, they are committed to the Masters. It would leave ABC as the only television network.
Considering the ratings the Hambo gets, it would be foolish to pay to get on broadcast television in 2012. The ratings would be even more anemic and the money would be going down the drain. It may behoove the broadcast partners to look at MAV TV which has been showing some harness racing events out of Pennsylvania; while the channel is not on basic cable everywhere, they have broadcast these events live and have rebroadcast them several times which may make the event more cost effective.
Prix d' Amerique already? Well not really, but tour groups apparently are being formed to go over and see Paris and the big race. From what I have been told, the Prix d'Amerique is probably one of the biggest spectacles in horse racing world wide. Having not gone on any of the tours I can't recommend any particular one, but if you are considering going, now is probably the time to check the tours out and see which tours interest you and pricing.
Speaking of French racing, Yonkers Raceway will be presenting their first exhibition race under saddle at 6:00pm as part of their Fall Festival. The Fall Festival is a fun evening for all involved and the SOA of NY and Yonkers Raceway should be congratulated for putting a fun evening together showing how important harness racing ins to NY agriculture. I do believe if done right, monte racing could become part of the wagering menu of standardbred racing. However, we are not close to it yet. Just the same, it is nice to see an exhibition race.
Auckland Reactor, who many thought was done after his disastrous North American campaign and illness down under, apparently has made it back to the races in fine mettle. He made his first appearance in a race over the last six months winning a FFA pace which included Monkey King in the field at Addington Raceway. He overcame his poor starts in a standing start race to win coming home in the last 800 meters (approx 1/2) mile in :55 seconds in the 2600m race. It looks like he is heading to the New Zealand Cup and then Miracle Mile. If you have Windows Media Player, you can see his return by clicking on this link.
I still think if given a chance to acclimate after having his surgery in North America, he could have became a solid pacer in North America; unfortunately his connections returned him home after those disastrous races, which destroyed their mission to race the best and set a fast record on him and retire him to the breeding shed. Racing him long term were not in their plans so he was sent home. No, I don't think he could have beaten North America's best, but he would have left the shores with a much better reputation.
Speaking of horses that were given little respect in the United States, Revenue S, who never really got the respect at the breeding shed anticipated was exported from the United States and sent to Norway to stand stud. There are high hopes for him back in Europe, despite the fact he only stud one year in Sweden before being exported to the United States. America's loss is Europe's gain.