Category Archives: Racing Culture

Cracking the Code of the Saratoga Sales

Cracking the Code of the Saratoga Sales

August in Saratoga Springs, New York, is a whirl of Thoroughbred racing, parties and galas, retired race horse fundraisers and elite Thoroughbred yearling sales. The six-week race meet and never-ending activities are not for the fainthearted.

It takes a strong heart, a keen eye and a substantial line of credit to purchase a well-bred yearling at Saratoga. The good news is the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion and grounds are open to all. In fact, curious onlookers and racing fans strolling the grounds to take in the sights can end up ringside, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, legendary football coach Bill Parcells or chef Bobby Flay. If you can’t make it to Saratoga to hang with Sheikh Mo, Bill or Bobby, the sales are livestreamed each evening.

The Saratoga yearling sales are auctions of highly curated bloodstock representing the best bloodlines (pedigrees) and physicals (conformation and athleticism). In late winter and early spring, the Fasig-Tipton auction house sent out teams of advisers to thoroughbred farms across the country to evaluate potential sales’ candidates. Like the Marines, many apply and (relatively) few are chosen.

There are two separate yearling sales in August. The first is the Saratoga Sale where the best-of-the best bloodstock come from all quarters – Kentucky, Florida, Ireland, Ontario, etc. The second sale is for New York-breds, horses born in New York. Drawing from a smaller sampling, the pedigree aspect of these New York-bred horses may not equal those in the Select Sale, but they are close in physical qualities, and, they are eligible for the lucrative New York incentive program.

Yearlings accepted and entered in the sales are listed online and in print catalogs. Each horse’s entry is called its “page” and offers a complete snapshot of its blood lines, success of close members of its female family (the dam’s portion of the pedigree) and eligibilities and nominations to races and jurisdictions.

Deciphering a Sales Page

Image of online sales page from 2018 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Sale

Barn 10 – location on Fasig-Tipton sales grounds

Hip no. 250 – ID number

Consigned by – either the owner or sales agent for the owner

Chestnut colt – color and gender

Pedigree – The colt’s color and date of birth is on the left, and three generations are highlighted in blue and pink. Hard Spun is the sire (father) and Indy Punch is the dam (mother). Danzig is his grandsire, Indy Flash is her grand-dam, also known as the second-dam. Hard Spun – Danzig – Northern Dancer is the sire line. Indy Punch – Indy Flash – Mirror Bright is the dam line, also called the bottom line; their offspring are called the female family.

Sire Paragraph – Who the sire is – Hard Spun, his race record and graded black type or divisional honors; the number of crops of foal born (8), black type winners from his foals, gross earnings of his offspring, names and earning records of leading offspring.

Female Family – Race and produce records of the descending females in the family; includes individual details of money won, abbreviated race and produce records of direct offspring.

Nominations and eligibility – Race and race series nominations (Breeders’ Cup) and state-bred registration and eligibilities (Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund).

Updates
Because the members of the colt’s immediate female family are actively racing and winning, his pedigree is updated in real time online and updates will be announced as he enters the sales ring. On this page, the green arrows and red type signal updates to the pedigree.

 

Footwear For a Wet Day at the Track

Make a rainy day at the track a breeze with these weatherproof and waterproof shoes. There’s a style for everyone from stiletto heeled mavens to walk-over friendly flats.

If you like to prepare ahead of time, many shoe-soles can be rubberized by a cobbler!

Aquatalia's "Harlee" weatherproof pump. $395 at Nordstrom
Aquatalia’s “Harlee” weatherproof pump. $395 at Nordstrom

 

100% waterproof Breezy Ballet from Muck Boot Company. $70 from Muck Boot. Available in solids and floral, too.
Aquatalia's "Shelby" in Bark suede, also in black calf or black suede. $495 at Zappo's.
Aquatalia’s “Shelby” in Bark suede, also in black calf or black suede. $495 at Zappo’s.
Bogs Urban Farmer Shoe. Comes in black and teal, too. $80 at Zappo's.
Bogs “Urban Farmer Shoe” in red; comes in black and teal, too. $80 at Zappo’s.

Cole Haan "Kelsey" waterproof pump. Also comes in a nude neutral. About $200 at Nordstrom.

Cole Haan “Kelsey” waterproof pump. Also comes in a nude neutral. About $200 at Nordstrom.

Muck™ Women's Muckster II Ankle Boots; $99 at Cabela's.
Muck™ Women’s Muckster II Ankle Boots; $99 at Cabela’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ADDENDUM

As suggested on Twitter, there are those who like to MacGyver their own footwear. With that in mind:

macgyver

 

 

 

 

 

ziploc

gorilla

Shared Belief Is Lost to Colic

Colic is a merciless thief, taking when and where it wants. Thursday afternoon, news of Shared Belief succumbing to colic left a plaintive void in horse racing and among the legion of horse lovers that transcends sport and borders. Despite advancements in surgeries and medications, some cases of colic just aren’t fixable.

Whether the horse is a demi-god like Shared Belief or a backyard pony, with a tough case of colic the decision to euthanize is both easy and difficult. Easy because after options have been tried and evaluated, it is the only path that remains to abate pain, suffering and possible further injury; when we sign on as horse owners, keeping horses pain-free and comfortable is our creed. Difficult because, admit it or not, we love them, and consider them family; and we grieve and don’t want to let them go…

Shared Belief was a tremendous race horse. Fast, game, tactical, an Eclipse Award champion. His lithe, aerodynamic frame skipped over the track, besting war horses like California Chrome and Moreno. In the Charles Town Classic, jockey Mike Smith felt Shared Belief wasn’t travelling correctly and pulled him up. It turned out the favorite had a non-displaced fracture of the point of a hip. With stall rest, rehabbing at Pegasus Equine Rehabilitation and Training Center (the Mayo Clinic of horse facilities) and a leisurely return to life at the track, the four-year-old gelding was on course.

That is until something went awry in the loops, curves and switchbacks that characterize the geography of a horse’s intestines. According to Jim Rome on Jungle Racing’s Facebook page, Shared Belief was observed being uncomfortable and treatment started immediately, see link below. Unresponsive to initial protocols, Shared Belief was emergency shipped to University of California, Davis Equine Surgical Emergency and Critical Care Service where it was discerned surgery was the only recourse.

No veterinarian wants to say and no owner wants to hear that a horse is compromised to the point of needing surgery to resolve an acute colic. Shared Belief was unable to overcome colic’s assault on his system and did not survive.
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Requiescat in pace.

Thoroughbred racing is a sport filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Some of the most thrilling and…

Posted by Jungle Racing on Thursday, December 3, 2015

Link embedded from Facebook

Racing Films & Panel Featured at EQUUS Film Festival

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Image & art courtesy of ©Beatrice Bulteau & Suzanne Kopp-Moskow
A broad-based panel comprised of racing industry professionals and film makers will present “The Right Side of the Track: The Positive Side of Horse Racing” at 3:15 p.m., Friday, November 20, at the EQUUS Film Festival in New York City. The panel  will include a 15 minute film, The Black Turf Project, which looks at the role black jockeys have in racing history incl as first winners of the KY Derby. The racing films will be screened throughout the festival.

L. A. Pomeroy of Equestrian Media Services will moderate the panel that includes: 

  • Nicholas Carter & Drew Perkins, directors, Racing the Times film
  • Daryle Ann Lindley Giardino, Executive Producer, Behind The Gate film
  • Gary Contessa, licensed Thoroughbred trainer and racing educator, Contessa Racing Stable
  • Ross Peddicord, Program Executive Director, MD Horse Industry Board
  • Ken Brown, The Black Turf Project film
  • Rachel Connolly Kwock, Producer/Director, Riding in Stride film

Yes that’s four films covering horse racing being screened at the festival! Check for times here.

 Celebration of horses
You’ll find feature films, documentaries, shorts, even commercials from every corner of the U.S. as well as from Europe, Tibet and India. Find all festival information on the website and Facebook page.

Starting with a VIP party (attend with a free pass) at Manhattan Saddlery on Thursday evening, over the next two days the EQUUS Film Festival features juried screenings on Friday and Saturday, and several lectures and directors’ panels that range from wild horses to horse racing, with discussions about horse psyches and welfare issues too.

A common thread throughout the films and panels is telling the stories of horses. For this festival, horses aren’t supporting cast, they are the main characters and catalysts. Festival founder Lisa Diersen, started with this premise three years ago, in St. Charles, Illinois. Since then, the festival has moved to Manhattan and settled in to the landmark Village East Cinema, that is a showcase venue for other festivals including the esteemed Tribeca Film Festival. Activities other than screenings will take place at the Ukrainian National Home at 140-142 2nd Avenue, 2nd floor.

The legend of Snowman

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Photo courtesy of Harry and Snowman/©Budd Photo

Not to be missed is Harry and Snowman, the tale of a discarded Amish plow horse, destined for slaughter, who was given a reprieve by a post-WWII émigré from Holland, Harry de Leyer. Without giving everything away, Snowman becomes a national celebrity and a cherished member of de Leyer’s family. Film maker Ron Davis put out a call to the horse show community and was able to interview de Leyer’s contemporaries and to access amateur and professional vintage photos and footage of Snowman and de Leyer in action. The de Leyer family, including Harry, is integral to the film.

Kids and horses … free activities!
Of interest to families, children are welcome to a morning full of horse-themed activities at the Li’l Herc’s Kids Fest Children’s Film Screening & Fest – at no cost, but reservations are required. This event is at Ukrainian National Home.

In addition to the films, the theater will house a Literary Corner where authors of equestrian-themed literature will be available to meet the public and sign books. A Pop-Up Artist, Filmmakers & Literary Gallery will be featured Friday and Saturday afternoons at the Ukrainian National Home.

EQUUS festival attendance and ticket costs start at free for Lil Herc’s Kids Fest and Thursday’s VIP reception (both require reservations) to $250 for a full-immersion Pony VIP all-access pass. Screening options are $35-$50.