What have we learned or seen in Triple Crown 2022 to date - Thoughts of a TB owner and horse lover

Holy Moly!

I loved Sword Dancer, and of course, Damascus.

I had a broodmare here who was bred in the purple (ASB). She produced a gorgeous filly for me who I kept until she passed. However, the mare wasn’t really my type, physically, and she had two foals that were more like her than the first filly was. I started getting phone calls asking if I wanted to sell her, which was weird. Anyway, I called a trainer/breeder in KY who I’d known a good while and asked her if she’d be interested. She was.

She has two generations of that mare’s produce producing for her, and the mare just passed away a couple of weeks short of her 31st birthday, the beginning of this month. She had a fabulous home.

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I, and other knowledgeable posters, have been sharing “facts”. You just don’t believe us.

Since you seem to think our credentials are questionable, I’ll share mine.
18 years as a TB breeder. Not a livelihood–that would make my husband laugh–more of a hobby.
We’ve bred 55 foals of racing age. 90% have raced, 78% are winners. 6% are stakes winners, 18% are stakes placed. 2 horses we bred qualified to run in the Kentucky Derby.
Our horses have raced and won in the U.S., Canada, U.K. France, Germany, Dubai, Bahrain, and Russia. Total earnings currently just under $4M. We celebrated our 100th win as breeders at Keeneland last month.
As breeder-owners (yes, with our own silks) we’ve raced on every major circuit in the U.S, except NY competing in everything from G1s to claiming races. Our first broodmare (retired) died with us. Our second left with her JC papers covered with our name and phone # “in case she ever needs a home”. The remainder are still young enough to be producing for us (and others).

So when I talk about the TB industry, I’m not just making things up.

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Thank you for hanging on to your mare and giving her a good home. Two of my off- the track TB geldings were rescued from New Holland and on the way to slaughter. They lived 29 and 31 years old. They were great horses… still miss them.

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Congrats on your success and i didn’t say were making things up. . Seems like you are among the 10-25% of the posters that actively involved in the TB industry. Thank you for the information shared with us on this site.

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(Bolding Mine)

Yes, many people in the U.S. seem to love to give their “opinions”, without taking the time to learn about the subject so they can express an informed opinion.

You have the “right” to opine that that Early Voting won the Preakness “despite his breeding” and to post the other opinions you have written here, but you can also expect people on this forum to tell you when you are wrong.

To ask that “for those who claim to be so knowledgeable” “share the facts” with you is in my opinion disingenuous. You disagree with the opinions here about the pedigrees of both the Derby and the Preakness winner.

Learn how to read a pedigree for yourself if you are interested and are forming “opinions” about the pedigrees and breeding of racehorses. It’s a fascinating subject, but don’t demand that posters here teach you.

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No, I stand corrected on Early Voting and agree that he is well-bred.

However, I stand by my comments that both Rick Strike and Early Voting won their races at the end of the day based on their performance and it WAS NOT a fluke that they won their races. The paces may have favored their running styles, and they were well ridden by their jockeys, but the horses still have to run and be willing participants in the game. If either one had not listened to the jocky and not been willing to make the right moves ( e.g. go between horses, race on the rail, be willing to be rated, run [past the other horses etc), they may not have won. The horse still had been willing to win, and it wasn’t a fluke that they did so.

Your post can apply to any horse race anywhere. What is your point?

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We don’t call Epicenter’s victories " flukes " Why call the Derby victory by Rich Strike a “fluke?” As some do. and have on this site. MY OPINION only, but I think it just came down to the fact that he was the best horse, at that time, given pace and other conditions of the race. What is wrong with with saying that he out- performed the rest of the field? Acknowledge that he is a good horse (NOT a great one) . There are reasons, why he did not win on the turf and synthetic dirt surface, but only he knows why. Put him on the dirt and he in undefeated or 2 for 2. I am curious to see how he progresses. …

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We call it a fluke because the Kentucky Derby is not a typical horse race. Never again will a horse race in a 10 furlong cavalry charge of 20 horses in front of the largest crowds the sport ever sees.

On top of that, the pace was exceptionally fast for the first half mile. You don’t get that kind of pace in most 10 furlong races ever.

His win being a fluke doesn’t mean he wasn’t the best horse that day. His win being a fluke doesn’t mean it wasn’t a great performance. He won the race with his own merits.

When people say it was a fluke, what they mean is that it is unlikely the stars will align again in his favor. Nothing in his previous performances indicated he would run like that. In a smaller field, traffic isn’t as much of a factor. With a normal pace, he no longer has as much of an advantage with his closing kick. When the track isn’t erupting with Derby Day energy, horses respond differently.

But we don’t know right now what kind of race horse Rich Strike will pan out to be. Maybe he finally figured it out on the first Saturday in May and will go down as one of the all time greats. But also history tells us there’s a good chance he will never reproduce such an impressive win. It will be fun to see what happens.

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The noun “fluke” is described as “an unexpected accidental occurrence, especially a startling piece of luck” in the dictionary. Chance, coincidence, accident, a twist of fate, piece/stroke of luck, piece/stroke of good fortune, lucky stroke, happy/lucky chance, or lucky break are all synonyms for the chance.

The reason I question its applicability in evaluating the conclusion of the 2022 Kentucky Derby is that Richie’s victory, in my opinion, was not a “result of chance,”, etc. as defined above.
I, too, was taken aback by the CRAZY first quarter and half-mile pace, and I understand how it may suit horses who prefer to run ahead of the pack. Rich Strike, on the other hand, was provided with a collection of factors (e.g., wild pace, racing position on the rail, good jockey ride, dirt track, targets to run at, distance, heart, etc.) and he was able to take advantage of them and OUTPERFORM the competition. As you stated, he will almost certainly never be exposed to the conditions he faced in the Derby again. To me, using the term” fluke,” belittles the ultimate outcome by Rich Strike and just does not to a horse that was the best in the race at that time. If the stars are not in his favor it may never happen again. However this time they were and he WON based upon his own heart and ability. He should be given credit for that.

Oh, I forgot to mention I know how to read a pedigree. Thanks for your comments. As a kid, myself and the kids at the stable used to get the auction catalogs for the yearling sales at Saratoga and “go shopping,” based on breeding. Then after we picked out our top “ten selections,” our training would drive us up to Saratoga and we would get a chance to see our selections in the “flesh.” We would attend the sales and it would be fun to see how much “our selections,” sold for. Of course, when there was A Spendthrift Farm, I would order their stallion catalogs from them annually and select the stallions I would send my aged TB “mare,” At that time Rasie A Native and Exclusive Native were the “hot sires”. . Granted it was all a game and in fun. Please make sure comments are accurate in the future, as others here have requested of me.

Just got back from New York and am catching up. Trying to decide between LOL and WTF. Maybe both?

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I think an 80-1 shot beating that field, who wasn’t even drawn into the race until the DWL scratch, is most definitely an “unexpected occurrence” and a “startling piece of luck.” Not “luck” in the sense of pure random chance…in racing sometimes you make your own luck, and clearly that was the case for Rich Strike. He gave a phenomenal performance and was given a perfect ride; all the stars aligned for him that day and he made the most of it. Sometimes the stars align and the horse doesn’t fire…that’s what keeps everybody in the game, because the outcome isn’t guaranteed, and any good horse can have a Great Day, and any good horse can have a bad day.

No one denies Rich Strike his well-earned KY Derby win. But no one, not even his owners, believed he is a triple crown horse. It remains to be seen just how good or great he is, and I wish his connections all the best in the Belmont and hopefully the Travers and BC Classic.

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I agree with everything you said. Your statement, “Sometimes the stars align and the horse doesn’t fire… that’s what keeps everybody in the game, because the outcome isn’t guaranteed, and any good horse can have a Great Day, and any good horse can have a bad day,” is an excellent example of what happened with the 2022 Preakness. I had put Epicenter’s name on the trophy; I thought it was his race to lose, and that is what happened, but ttings did not go in his favor. Was it a fluke that Early Voting won? No, I think it was his day to be the best.
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Perhaps I should have said that you might study analysing pedigrees since what you see in his pedigree is black type and the 3x2 to Smart Strike doesn’t jump out at you.

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I am not sure I understand your question. Please clarify. If you are talking bloodlines, I am VERY much an amateur in that area and that is NOT my area of expertise. But it is fun to review the breeding lines.

When looking at the typical TB pedigree I will know most of the “Black Type” sires as well as the female lines in the 2nd -4th generation,and of course the leading sires of the day ( e.g. Tapits). Because those are the horse I most likely saw race. I CAN NOT say I know the first generation as well as I know the later generation, because I have other thing to do and really don’t keep up with commercial TB breeding of the moment besides what is posted on “The Bloodhorse” and associated links. Thanks.

Thank you for the clarification. That in-breeding 3 x 2 to Smart Strike did come to my attention, and I wondered about it, since in the older pedigrees( that I am familiar with you would not see that kind of crossing. Perhaps Raise A 2 x2 but that is all the way back in the 3rd and 4th generation. I just kind of thought that was the practice nowadays. I am really dating myself here. . when I first started following the sport 40 breedings a year was a full book for a stallion and no overseas breeding. So please forgive me if I seem a little out of date as far as what the industry is doing with TB breeding and no longer playing the “TB sales game,” with friends. It was fun going to the Saratoga sale, we would see LeRoy Jolley, Woody Stephens, Laz Barrera, the Firestones, etc… but no Bob Baffert. I was there when Wajima sold for 1 million. I think that was one of the first million dollar yearlings… band he was on my stable group’s list of top ten horses to buy…

(Bolding mine) It’s not the practice nowadays. That’s why it jumps out at people and why the horse may have a difficult time getting good mares if he goes to stud.

How fun it must have been to go to Saratoga sale!

It is generally not done to have a common ancestor as close as 2nd/3rd generation. That’s why knowledgeable enthusiasts raise eyebrows, and speculate that this particular pairing was not very deliberately and carefully planned. Those of us who have worked in and around the industry may see it as a “breeding of opportunity” opposed to a well-researched mating.

I have to agree with you 100%! The book was not full, handy mare in heat, perhaps even the stallion needed to practice being a gentleman in the breeding shed (speculation on my part, some can be complete idiots) and so they decided to breed them. At the end, the:“breeding gods,” decided to bless them with First Strike.

Can you tell me why Calumet decided to start his career on the turf? I have been totally lost there in that I did not see any big turf horses in the first generation and from what you could tell from the tv he didn’t seem to move like a turf horse. Completely lost here. Thanks.