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 Post subject: Leading Money Loser List
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:12 pm 
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Many tout Todd Pletcher as the wunderkind of thoroughbred trainers but how many look at ALL of the data before crowning him as king of trainers? Pletcher gets a large number of top bred, high dollar prospects to work with because owners are a fickle group who find it easier to follow fads than to look a little deeper into the facts. Sure Pletcher has had some nice runners that have made a lot of money but how many VERY EXPENSIVE horses have become VERY CHEAP claimers under his tutorage – I contend there has been more value lost with Pletcher horses than value gained.

This conclusion came to me purely by accident while looking for a young stallion prospect to claim for a friend rather than send his mares out in this economy. In scanning entries and results for cheap horses all over the U.S., I found one common denominator - Todd Pletcher. I will admit that my conclusion was obtained using the SWAG method (scientific wild assed guess) but I think it will stand up if anyone wants to actually take the time and effort to put a pencil to it. The proverbial double edged sword rule should apply when anyone chooses a trainer (or anything else). Good horses make good trainers but how many good horses are made into cripples or cheap claimers by “good trainers”? Pletcher consistently ranks tops on the list of leading money earners but there is no list for the top money losers – a list that should be just as important in choosing a trainer.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:24 pm 
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choir. you are preaching to it.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:15 am 
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It is not just Todd Pletcher, who by the way I think is a darn good trainer, and he is a pretty decent guy I have been told also.
I was at the Keeneland September sales for two weeks this past year, and some things caught my attention. The first two or three nights are like a big show, more like a circus. All the big money buyers are there, and they want attention. Looking to get interviewed and not shy about the cameras.
Later in the week, all the big shots were long gone, and you saw guys out doing the leg work for horses that were not going to be the big six figure horses. Bill Mott, Ken McPeek, Jim Crupi(who buys for Repole stable a lot), they were beating the bushes looking for good yearlings, right up to the last day.
This got me to thinking, and I have been working on going back through the 2009 sale, and looking at how the yearlings bought have performed on the track. I have gone through book 1, and it is amazing. The vast majority of the yearlings in book 1, who brought staggering amounts of money for the most part, have done next to nothing on the racetrack. Many never even made it.
I think it shows how much hype there is in the business today, and the smart guys know it, and realize you have to do the legwork and not worry about the attention or the sizzle.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:23 am 
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I'm not a Pletcher fan, but I won't hold it against him that he can't get badly bred horses to the track. Just because they sold for a lot of money doesn't mean they were well bred. As stlouiskid pointed out, many of these horses are bred to bring big money at the sales, not to excel on the race track. To me that makes them badly bred horses. I wouldn't even consider them show horses because they don't have particularly good conformation for anything.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:27 am 
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I think the idea of a ROI (return on investment) list for trainers would do a lot to clean up the business. It isn't just amongst the expensive yearlings that there are trainers getting credit for losing money. There are plenty of trainers who pad their win stats by claiming high and running low and letting the owner eat the loss.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:32 am 
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Dave C wrote:
I think the idea of a ROI (return on investment) list for trainers would do a lot to clean up the business. It isn't just amongst the expensive yearlings that there are trainers getting credit for losing money. There are plenty of trainers who pad their win stats by claiming high and running low and letting the owner eat the loss.


I would have no problem with that either, in which case Pletcher's standings would be drastically reversed. Pletcher plays a numbers game that keeps him on top. If those same numbers were used to count failures he would rank at the top there too. Too many trainers get credited for having a good horse that would win for just about anyone but never get cited for the number of failures. Conversely, trainers like Rick Dutrow and Jamie Ness that consistently take horses and improve them get the wrath of everyone for being needle trainers when they have no worse medication record than the media favorite trainers.

Pletcher learned at the feet of the master (DWL) in public relations and marketing, unfortunately he also uses his training techniques. A good trainer will be able to determine each individual’s talents and hone them to maximize their potential. In "training mills" like the big stables have to be to handle the sheer numbers; horses are forced to conform to the stable regimen. Those that don't show immediate promise are culled to make room for the next victim. Of course, in stables that only run a horse a few times a year the day money can get expensive before that determination is ever made.

Most owners would be satisfied if they could just own a horse that would pay his own way and tickled to death if they actually turned a profit. That would be a rarity today; fifty or sixty years ago it would be mandatory.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:21 am 
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I have long come to believe that, how can i put this..

taking say, the results of the 2008 keeneland September yearling sale and breaking the books down and seeing what horse sold for what to try to get an avg etc, is a futile exercise, because you have to first realize, you really have 2 different sales within one sale if that make sense.

the people, at the first book for the most part,are not necessarily there to.. they aren't there necessarily on the quest for the best bang for their buck. they are there to be seen, they want to be associated with the best just as much as they want to win. they don't want to just win they want to win big races. they not only want to win big races, they want to do it with the best / most established bloodlines they can. Because there is a small handful of horses that makes all this possible, you get fireworks. fireworks drive up price.

then you have the nuts and bolts of the sale, the rest of the sale.

i did the same thing with the 2007 sale about a year ago. I think i even posted the results here. i was not shocked at some of the insane prices of te first book.

what really surprised me more than anything, was that the astonishing, flat out.. failure.. like not even marginal success, just, utter failure that was the first book.. horses that sold for 500k not running at all. anywhere. million dollar horses running in 25k claimers. For every 500k yearling in the first book that won a grade 3 or a grade 2 there were 15 or so horses right behind him that never broke their maiden or were at best very low level claimers. I think the leading or top 2 or 3 leading horses in that book never raced or something like that. it sad something like that. that would have been mine that bird's crop of yearlings. And i did a lot of leg work on this.. I understand every horse cannot be a graded stakes winner, or even a graded stakes runners, but you have horses that sold for 800k in maiden claimers at tamp bay downs and and getting drilled lol time and time again

I came to my own personal conclusion and i could very well be wrong on this, but this is just what i think that when you get to the top, the less leg work is actually done as far as breeding. that point it's just find whoever is the most popular that isn't going to produce a 5 legged horse because he's too inbreed, hope he has good confirmation and put him in the sales ring to collect your money.

another thing.. there is one specific sales agency that stood out to be to be beyond horrid. i won't name names. but in the first book it's like everything they sold just, go to jail go directly to jail do not pass go. I don't know just how much a sales agency has to do with this stuff, it was just so blatant that i could not, not make the connection

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:40 am 
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bdw0617 wrote:
I have long come to believe that, how can i put this..

taking say, the results of the 2008 keeneland September yearling sale and breaking the books down and seeing what horse sold for what to try to get an avg etc, is a futile exercise, because you have to first realize, you really have 2 different sales within one sale if that make sense.

the people, at the first book for the most part,are not necessarily there to.. they aren't there necessarily on the quest for the best bang for their buck. they are there to be seen, they want to be associated with the best just as much as they want to win. they don't want to just win they want to win big races. they not only want to win big races, they want to do it with the best / most established bloodlines they can. Because there is a small handful of horses that makes all this possible, you get fireworks. fireworks drive up price.

then you have the nuts and bolts of the sale, the rest of the sale.

i did the same thing with the 2007 sale about a year ago. I think i even posted the results here. i was not shocked at some of the insane prices of te first book.

what really surprised me more than anything, was that the astonishing, flat out.. failure.. like not even marginal success, just, utter failure that was the first book.. horses that sold for 500k not running at all. anywhere. million dollar horses running in 25k claimers. For every 500k yearling in the first book that won a grade 3 or a grade 2 there were 15 or so horses right behind him that never broke their maiden or were at best very low level claimers. I think the leading or top 2 or 3 leading horses in that book never raced or something like that. it sad something like that. that would have been mine that bird's crop of yearlings. And i did a lot of leg work on this.. I understand every horse cannot be a graded stakes winner, or even a graded stakes runners, but you have horses that sold for 800k in maiden claimers at tamp bay downs and and getting drilled lol time and time again

I came to my own personal conclusion and i could very well be wrong on this, but this is just what i think that when you get to the top, the less leg work is actually done as far as breeding. that point it's just find whoever is the most popular that isn't going to produce a 5 legged horse because he's too inbreed, hope he has good confirmation and put him in the sales ring to collect your money.

another thing.. there is one specific sales agency that stood out to be to be beyond horrid. i won't name names. but in the first book it's like everything they sold just, go to jail go directly to jail do not pass go. I don't know just how much a sales agency has to do with this stuff, it was just so blatant that i could not, not make the connection


Anyone serious about raising racehorses has enough sense to allow their young stock the chance to RUN in pastures and raise hell with each other. Cosmetic scratches and bumps are not a concern.

Anyone raising sales animals for select sales is raising a catalogue page like a feedlot steer. They should be pretty to look at, and sleek like a showhorse. They don't spend time running around pastures. That they are not competitive all too often is not much of a surprise.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:54 am 
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An ex-Pletcher trainee...
http://www.pedigreequery.com/forum/view ... hp?t=31780

And might I add, they don't have Dendrology listed on toddpletcherracing.com under the "Stallions". He would be if he had amounted to anything.

One thing we are forgetting is that they can't all be super stars. For every Grade 1 winner Pletcher has, there is a Tom, Dick, Hairy, etc. etc. That's what makes the Grade 1 winners so special. And they don't have to be worth anything as a yearling.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:37 pm 
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Shammy posted a very interesting link to a study in another thread. The study found that fat yearlings (show prepped, so they are fat and glossy) are never able to over come this later in their racing career. Perhaps Shammy could find this study again and post the link?

The second point is that there is not one overall factor driving the TB market. Each segment--owners, breeders, stallion owners, pin hookers, trainers, and the racing public are all focused on their own economic needs, and not on the overall industry. What is good from one segment of the market may be very bad for other segments.

Right now it sure looks like the very big money is made by the stallion owners, not by the folks who actually run their horses.

So the question is, what part of the industry is making money?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:27 pm 
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i would very much like to see the link to the first part. that's interesting stuff.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 3:54 am 
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bdw0617 wrote:
I

the people, at the first book for the most part,are not necessarily there to.. they aren't there necessarily on the quest for the best bang for their buck. they are there to be seen, they want to be associated with the best just as much as they want to win. they don't want to just win they want to win big races. they not only want to win big races, they want to do it with the best / most established bloodlines they can. Because there is a small handful of horses that makes all this possible, you get fireworks. fireworks drive up price.


Look at it this way: the people who are fishing in the Book 1 pool are not there to buy racehorses. They're speculating on the value of future breeding stock.

Look at Fusaichi Pegasus. He was by Mr Prospector out of a Danzig mare from a high class family--breeding was perfect, if he would run. And run he did. That $4 million that was paid out for him as a yearling suddenly seemed like a bargain compared to the $60 million Coolmore paid for him in syndication--15 times his purchase price PLUS his substantial winnings on the track. At stud, Coolmore priced him in such a way that he would pay off that $60 million in his first 3 years. Everything else has been pure profit for the shareholders. Even if he stands at 15,000 a year for the rest of his career, and only covers 90 mares in a year in both hemispheres (probably on the low end), 20 shareholders would make a minimum of $60,000 each accounting for the expenses related to his care.

The same can be said for buying Mariah's Storm and putting her in foal to Storm Cat. Coolmore won BIG on that gamble, even bigger than Fusaichi Pegasus.

The reason those buyers are focusing on those bloodlines is that those bloodlines are the ones where speculation has a snowball's chance of paying off. Nobody is going to pay top dollar for a son of Pleasant Tap, even if he were a full to David Junior, either at the yearling sales or in syndication. Nobody is going to pay high 6 to 7 figures for a daughter of Include, even if she is a Gr-1 winner (Panty Raid, Cash Included). They would for a daughter of Hasili, even if her sire had been a dachshund, because Hasili has shown such an amazing ability to breed the high-dollar, high-stud fee colts.

It's gambling, off the track.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:31 am 
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Bast wrote:
bdw0617 wrote:
I have long come to believe that, how can i put this..

taking say, the results of the 2008 keeneland September yearling sale and breaking the books down and seeing what horse sold for what to try to get an avg etc, is a futile exercise, because you have to first realize, you really have 2 different sales within one sale if that make sense.

the people, at the first book for the most part,are not necessarily there to.. they aren't there necessarily on the quest for the best bang for their buck. they are there to be seen, they want to be associated with the best just as much as they want to win. they don't want to just win they want to win big races. they not only want to win big races, they want to do it with the best / most established bloodlines they can. Because there is a small handful of horses that makes all this possible, you get fireworks. fireworks drive up price.

then you have the nuts and bolts of the sale, the rest of the sale.

i did the same thing with the 2007 sale about a year ago. I think i even posted the results here. i was not shocked at some of the insane prices of te first book.

what really surprised me more than anything, was that the astonishing, flat out.. failure.. like not even marginal success, just, utter failure that was the first book.. horses that sold for 500k not running at all. anywhere. million dollar horses running in 25k claimers. For every 500k yearling in the first book that won a grade 3 or a grade 2 there were 15 or so horses right behind him that never broke their maiden or were at best very low level claimers. I think the leading or top 2 or 3 leading horses in that book never raced or something like that. it sad something like that. that would have been mine that bird's crop of yearlings. And i did a lot of leg work on this.. I understand every horse cannot be a graded stakes winner, or even a graded stakes runners, but you have horses that sold for 800k in maiden claimers at tamp bay downs and and getting drilled lol time and time again

I came to my own personal conclusion and i could very well be wrong on this, but this is just what i think that when you get to the top, the less leg work is actually done as far as breeding. that point it's just find whoever is the most popular that isn't going to produce a 5 legged horse because he's too inbreed, hope he has good confirmation and put him in the sales ring to collect your money.

another thing.. there is one specific sales agency that stood out to be to be beyond horrid. i won't name names. but in the first book it's like everything they sold just, go to jail go directly to jail do not pass go. I don't know just how much a sales agency has to do with this stuff, it was just so blatant that i could not, not make the connection


Anyone serious about raising racehorses has enough sense to allow their young stock the chance to RUN in pastures and raise hell with each other. Cosmetic scratches and bumps are not a concern.

Anyone raising sales animals for select sales is raising a catalogue page like a feedlot steer. They should be pretty to look at, and sleek like a showhorse. They don't spend time running around pastures. That they are not competitive all too often is not much of a surprise.



I was wondering about that myself, in my usual half-a-brain, disorganized fashion, while watching daily races at the Duck: "Hey, isn't that another high-priced yearling who ended up a cheap claimer?"

I contrasted that with Zenyatta, who was a 'bargain' price at $60k (right?).

My only conclusion at that time was: breeding and racing both contain elements of luck and surprise.

Training, maybe, as well?

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:50 pm 
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Zenyatta had a very ugly skin rash, and wasn't "pretty". Hence the bargain price.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 8:07 pm 
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And Curlin was bought for $57K as a yearling by McPeek, beating the bushes as was mentioned earlier in the thread.


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