Tag Archives: Big Brown

The Haiku Handicapper: The 2008 Eclipse Awards

With the finalists for this year’s Eclipse Awards having been recently announced, it is time to start picking the winners. To see who made the cut click here, and to see the nominees’ big wins, click here.  

Now let’s get on with the show…

Two-Year-Old Male
Cup win or promise?
Old Fashioned will be better
Midshipman wins now 

Two-Year-Old Female
So many Grade Ones
Stardom Bound is Eclipse Bound
No one else is close 

Three-Year-Old Male
Big Brown and the rest
Triple Crown run clinched his spot
It’s a one horse race 

Three-Year-Old Female
All deserving picks
Tempting sympathetic choice
Stablemate gets it 

Older Male
Curlin raked in dough
Yet another mortal lock
Classic changed nothing 

Older Female
Not a hard choice here
Zenyatta stays unbeaten
Best of a strong field 

Male Sprinter
Constant dilemma
One huge race or steady run?
Benny bucks his foes 

Female Sprinter
Juv champ snubbed elsewhere?
Not a bad consolation
She has my blessing 

Male Turf Horse
Multi-surface threat
Einstein deserves an award
This will do nicely 

Female Turf Horse
Forever ran big
Goldikova beat the boys
Tie favors home team 

Steeplechaser
Stabbing blindly here
The incumbent never lost
Good Night Shirt repeats 

Owner
Love or hate them
IEAH won a bunch
Doesn’t feel good though 

Breeder
McNair’s big swan song
He left this for the Texans?
Seller’s remorse much? 

Trainer
Record setting year
Plus Curlin, minus drug fuss
Still equals Eclipse 

Jockey
State sweep’s impressive
Go-Go wins in all 50
Two straight for Gomez

Apprentice Jockey
The Sweede Gets the nod
When in doubt, pick who you know
She made me money 

Horse of the Year
Time to flip a coin
Heads, Curlin. Tails, Zenyatta.
It’s up…Heads it is

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Bang for your buck

Success on the racetrack does not always lead to success in the breeding shed. El Aleman, by Point Given, is led around the Keeneland saddling area. 

Success on the racetrack does not always lead to success in the breeding shed. El Aleman, by Point Given, is led around the Keeneland saddling area.

Word came out yesterday that Curlin will stand at Lane’s End in Kentucky for a $75,000 stud fee.

When news like this comes with hard numbers, it is pretty safe to assume the horse in question is probably done racing. I guess no one could provide Jess Jackson with the “appropriate venue and purse” he was looking for. There goes my post-Thanksgiving farewell excursion to Churchill Downs.

Oh well. I’ll probably still end up reviving the Haiku Handicapper for the Clark Handicap (G2) regardless. I have to have some kind of product to put out there to keep things fresh and interesting during the slow winter months. 

Anyway, back to the business at hand. I was a bit surprised at the tag set for Curlin’s inaugural year in the breeding shed. It is understood that times are tough in the economy and he has proven nothing yet as a sire, but for a horse with his accolades and bloodlines, $75,000 seems a tad low.

To put it in perspective, Street Sense, a fellow 2004 foal who retired as a three-year-old, stood for the same price in his first season. Sure, one could give the argument that Street Sense ran huge as a two year old while Curlin did not even start and the case could be made that Darley may have been capitalizing on the fact that Street Sense is by a hot sire, Street Cry (Ire), but the fact remains that Curlin holds the advantage in career wins, money earned and perhaps most importantly, head-to-head matchups (2-1). This alone should put Curlin at least a couple thousand bucks ahead of his old foe.

Then again, we have the example of dual classic winner Smarty Jones, who began his stallion career with a tag of $100,000 after finishing no worse than second in a roughly seven month long racing career. Though a sire can not be defined by a single crop, Smarty’s first career winner came in Puerto Rico. Not exactly a hotbed for up and coming juveniles. He has sired one Grade 1-placed foal from his freshman crop, which is more than most can claim, but on the whole, Smarty Jones has yet to live up to the hype that followed him into the Three Chimneys stud barn.

With all of this in mind, I began to look back at the initial stud fees of other high-profile horses in recent years to see how the newest big names to go to the breeding shed stack up. Then, I compared those figures to their current stud fees to see how things have changed. Have a look for yourself…

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A Big Brown fly in the ointment

Michael Iavarone has no sense of timing.

Whether his claim of threats tied to Big Brown’s performance was true or not, the Breeders’ Cup broadcast was not the time or place to be airing that kind of dirty laundry. This is a day to showcase to new viewers the best the sport has to offer, not its seedy underbelly.

Clearly, this is Mr. Iavarone’s last desperate grasp at riding Big Brown’s star before the dual classic winner disappears to the breeding shed, taking his owner’s national notoriety with him. The IEAH Stables’ Co-President and Co-CEO has had four months to bring this revelation to light, and trying to steal the spotlight from the biggest day in racing is classless.

Maybe there was a good reason for Iavarone’s delay. Perhaps he was not allowed to comment on the situation while it was still under investigation. Maybe he felt the safety of his family would be compromised by making his announcement any sooner. Either way, if he wanted to inform the public about the threats to his family, there were better ways to go about it. Gathering the media before or after the races for a press conference would have accomplished the same goal while showing the Breeders’ Cup the respect it deserves.

A wag of the finger also goes to ABC for giving Iavarone the platform to make his claim. Aside from the content itself, the thrown-together presentation gave the the segment the feel of an impromptu moderated press conference, starting abruptly and finishing even more so. The whole thing came off as unprofessional, and someone should be reprimanded for letting it happen.

What Big Brown did in May was something special, but the actions of his connections are getting old very quickly. It is nice to see great horses do great things, but with owners like Michael Iavarone and his IEAH Stables drawing negative attention to themselves and the game, it becomes difficult to root for the player in spite of the team.

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