JC / Railbird



Alicia Wincze talks with breeders and buyers about corrective surgery:

“I think if they’re talking about weakening the gene pool with medication, then they’re also weakening the gene pool by doing (corrective surgery),” said trainer Charlie Lopresti. “They’re taking mares that produce crooked foals, cosmetically fixing them and selling them for a lot of money at the sale. It used to be back in the old days, only the strong survived, and if they were crooked and they could run through it, they were good horses.

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing, but I think we all need to get on the same page. And if they’re going to try and clean up the racing act, they need to clean up their act too.”

The International Market

Keeneland auctioneers adapt:

“You try and get rhythm in your chant, but at the same time you understand you’ve got people out there speaking probably 15 or 20 different languages, and most of the time they’re looking at the tote board now instead of listening to you,” he said. “So it’s very important that you are clear and precise in your numbers and everybody understands what the bid is and what the current asking price is.”

An Inconvenient Truth

Nick Nicholson, retiring president of Keeneland:

There is a difference in dirt, turf and synthetic, and the turf and synthetic are safer. We should not as an industry ignore that fact because it’s an inconvenient truth. If you care about riders and you care about horses you have to continue on the journey of safer racing surfaces. This is not subject to the whim of a few people, including me. It’s an industry responsibility. Does that mean we have to continue to make better dirt tracks? Sure. Shame on us that we haven’t done it for 50 years.

Following California’s mandate and the three-year debacle that was Santa Anita’s installation(s) of synthetic(s), the movement toward synthetic surfaces in the United States pretty much came to an end. As a matter for discussion, synthetics are dead. No track has converted in years. Keeneland, which has experienced great success with its Polytrack, dissolved its partnership with the company that made the surface in late 2011, citing market conditions.

What a shame.

Tax Break

Get a FREE racehorse in 2011, courtesy of the IRS. From an analysis of the recently passed federal tax bill in today’s TDN:

Bonus Depreciation was increased to 100 percent for eligible horses or farm equipment placed in service after September 8, 2010 and before January 1, 2012. In other words, the entire cost of eligible horses or farm equipment purchased and place [sic] in service during that period can be written off. For example, two yearlings purchased and placed in service in 2011 at a total cost of $1 million can be entirely written off that year.

Just in time for Keeneland January shopping. (And a reminder that there are more ways to support ownership than increasing takeout for purses.)

I haven’t done more than skim the sale catalog online, but @irish_1 pointed out on Twitter this morning that Antoniette, dam of G1 La Brea winner Switch, is up for auction next month as hip #267 in foal to Roman Ruler.

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