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#1 Posted : Wednesday, May 20, 2015 5:14:47 PM(UTC)

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I an extremely heartfelt manner, I cannot help but be disappointed should American Pharoah win the Triple Crown.
I love the horse. I love how he is perfectly set up to sweep the Triple Crown. I love how he's done nothing wrong. I love how he's built, I love how he's bred, I love how he runs. But I hate his owner.
On HRN we have had multiple discussions of what it might mean should he really win, how people are looking not for the next triple crown winner, but the next super horse, and how it is unlikely that horse would continue to race.
I have never been a supporter of Zayat Stables. They are extremely profit focused, have no regard for the history of the sport, border on abusing their horses, and even more apparent is their desire to be blameless.
Lest we forget, these are the people who ran Nehro so much his hooves were stubs. These are the people who threw so much at Paynter, he almost died, and then rather than retire him, they ran him to boost his stud fee, and he didn't win another stakes. These are also the people who cheated the insurance company off the fake death of Thorn Song, the people who ran from Steve Asmussen without even stopping to think. Some loyalty, some humanity...
Let me ask, is it coincidence how much trouble they've had? How many horses they've lost, or come close to losing, such as Z Fortune, Paynter, and Nehro?

Zayat was quoted by the Daily Racing Form as saying the following, Zayat said the stable’s policy is to race them as long as they are sound, willing, and happy, which he said was the case with Paynter upon his recovery. “Obviously, if a horse is running off the charts and winning numerous graded stakes, every single farm in Kentucky will be calling on that horse,” he said. “We try not to get carried away by the farms. They can always wait another year, and that’s our perspective. If they want our horse, they’ll have to wait until he’s retired.”
Perhaps there's something I don't understand, but that doesn't sound like people who care about the fans, who care about anyone other than themselves. These are the people who retired Bodemeister, Pioneerof the Nile, Eskendereya, and others though their injuries were not severe (and by some accounts not existent).

And today we learn that Zayat retracts his former statement as easily as American Pharoah won the Preakness with a tidbit about insurance costing a lot of money, and let's not forget, this guy only owns one of the largest soda distributors in all of Egypt, let alone the Middle East.
Instead, he could not even sell the horse to an American interest. I am sure Lane's End would have gone to what Coolmore did, or WinStar, or possibly even a syndicate of several American farms, not an uncommon occurrence with horses with bloodlines like these.

So, I say to the same racing gods who Zayat claims to be guided by, please stop the Zayat train. I don't want my first triple crown winner to stop racing after the Belmont Stakes because he has a soft tissue injury. I don't want him to be euthanized one day for insurance money because Zayat read the first few chapters of JT Lundy's book and never bothered to finish it. And most of all, because I don't want my first Triple Crown winning horse to be the only winner I fall in love with. I want to fall in love with his trainer, not one who has killed 7 horses experimenting with rat poison, and I want to fall in love with his owners.

See you in three weeks.
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jenna.heusi on 5/20/2015(UTC), AnnaK on 5/20/2015(UTC)
#2 Posted : Wednesday, May 20, 2015 6:25:24 PM(UTC)

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Cocoa. There are from the fan forums many who feel the same way as you do. My problem with racing today is that the whole philosophy has changed: years ago they bred to race--now they race to breed. The price explosion in the sales ring helped account for this change as did the break up of the old time racing interests. The old time racing families laughed at those who paid exorbitant prices for various yearlings and kept the prices in check. And yes this system had its faults. It was too clubby and frowned upon any one coming up the ranks. And while they controlled the yearling prices, ironically they helped usher in the problems we have today of early retirements.

This of course is related to Secretariat and his retirement at the end of his three yr old season. I know Penny had no choice in the matter, but I don't blame her. Rather I blame the Hancocks, the Phipps and others who couldn't wait to get him into the breeding shed because of his triple crown victory, but also because Bold Ruler, Claiborne's top stallion was gone.

I have followed racing for many years, but I stopped watching it in the late 80's and 90's because I got sick of seeing Woody Stephens with that lopsided little grin of his answering the question of "where is your horse ( fill in the blank) going to race after the Belmont?" The answer was always: " well we'll be retiring him." I was tired of constantly seeing the fans cheated. Which is of course what will happen if AP wins the Belmont. I will be surprised if they actually race him again after a victory in the Belmont.

I have no animosity towards the Zayats. I am aware that it is a business and god knows I've seen enough stuff in the show world from drug usage to killing horses for insurance money to know no business involving horses is clean. As a matter of fact it is anything but. However, Baffert and today's trainers are no different than the greats of the past. Heroin, Morphine, cocaine were used constantly in the old days. Of course it has to be remembered over the counter medicines contained various opiates and were perfectly legal for human consumption. Trainers of the past used to distill coffee by heating it over a flame and then injecting the substance into the horse to run faster. This is where the expression " a horse running hot or cold" comes from. If the horse had been injected he was "hot", if not he was "cold". As to arsenic, or rat poison it was part of a concoction called Fowler's mixture and given to horses repeatedly. Arsenic in small doses will not kill you immediately, but it does build up in tissues and will eventually cause death. Though someone can be what is termed an arsenic eater for a long time before this happens. The drugs today in racing are stronger and no less debilitating, but Baffert is certainly not the only one using them.

I do wish there would be some concern for the fans in the decisions that are made because given the financial situations of so many states with exploding pension obligations and soon to be Medicaid obligations because of the Obamacare expansion, the monies that are being generated by casinos are going to go the way of the dodo and racing better wake up to a new world where gambling monies are the only thing fueling purses. That day is fast approaching. West Virginia is the canary in the coal mine here in the U.S. Or what racing should do is take a good hard look at Ontario and what happened when the slots program suddenly ended, the bottom dropped out of the industry. Now they are desperate to get fans and wagering dollars back to the track. Good luck on that if you don't have the top horses to show case. Yes I have mixed feelings as well.

Edited by user Wednesday, May 20, 2015 6:59:24 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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jenna.heusi on 5/20/2015(UTC), AnnaK on 5/20/2015(UTC)
#3 Posted : Wednesday, May 20, 2015 7:38:27 PM(UTC)

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I've felt this way before in the past.

I disdained Big Browns connections- especially his trainer. I almost found myself laughing when he was eased in the Belmont. Also- I felt guilty. I realized it wasn't B B's fault. He wasn't the one on the mic. He was just running his races.
I was never a "Chromie". I really didn't/don't like his owners. When the crown was on the line, I rooted for him to pull it off (I admit I rooted harder for Tonalist).

Unfortunately these wonderful Equine Athletes that we fall in Love with are at the mercy of their owners/trainers/etc. They have no say in what/where/when they will or will not race.
They have no say in when they will be whisked off to the breeding shed.

I do remember, and have read about a time when they ran past their 3 year old season- barring injuries of course.

Today they are bred for speed & to breed. The faster they are, the faster they run off the track and into the shed.
Sometimes even if a horse merely flashes potential- they are gone off the track and into the shed.
When they are injured- off to the shed they go. I think this practice is just perpetuating the weaker framed thoroughbred.

You mentioned Nehro. That's like a stab to the heart. I loved that horse. I clearly remember falling in love with him in my first attended LA Derby. I remember screaming for him in the KY Derby when he finished a game 2nd. I remember crying on 2013 KY Derby day when it was announced that he had died.

As far as American Pharoah- he is an exceptional colt. It would be an injustice to him not to root for him- because he is an exceptional colt.
And when they turn for home in the Belmont and he is on the lead and pricks his ears like he always does when he hears the roar of the crowd- he will be an extraordinary colt.
I will cheer for him- because he is an exceptional (extraordinary) colt- despite his connections.

Edited by user Wednesday, May 20, 2015 7:40:53 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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AnnaK on 5/20/2015(UTC)
#4 Posted : Wednesday, May 20, 2015 11:08:39 PM(UTC)

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Given there's so much in the world that's run by greedy short sighted people, much of horse racing isn't going to be any different. And i agree, it is really hard to wrestle with our mixed feelings about a horse and his connections. If AP wins the Belmont, he's what's amazing. Connections eventually get outed for what they are, and then we're even more admiring that the horse prevailed despite his connections. I really hope he runs at least to the end of the year, but what I really hope for AP is that he is cared for by people who adore him at Ashford, because so much of the rest of it doesn't matter to him.
#5 Posted : Wednesday, May 20, 2015 11:25:52 PM(UTC)

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I read all the posts on this thread and one thing, to me, is apparent. The author of each of these care more about the wholesome-ness of the sport and the equine athletes that make it special, than most of the movers and shakers that make it what it is. How great would it be if everything was on the up and up????
"Amateurs practice until they get it right. Pros practice until they can't get it wrong."
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Buckpasser on 5/21/2015(UTC)
#6 Posted : Thursday, May 21, 2015 11:22:24 AM(UTC)

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It seems like the only way a good horse run a 4 year old campaign is if he get his &*#& cut off(sad to say it but its the truth). I was and still piss that Union Rags didn't get to run as a 4 year old. I want him to prove to everyone he was a high caliber horse that just had some bad luck.

Edited by user Thursday, May 21, 2015 11:24:30 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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