If At First…

As you know, we’ve started shopping for horses. The reality is that there are two ways we can obtain our horses: private purchase or through a claim. We’ve talked about claiming so I’ll touch on private purchase for a moment.

A private purchase is exactly that – someone is selling a horse privately and not through a claiming race. You tend to see this happen as meets wind down and stables are trying to pare their numbers before heading to the next locale. Many top stables will shed nice horses that don’t fit into their New York or California allowance plans but will work out very nicely at mid-level tracks like Canterbury.

This week we had both options open to us. Jeff was offered a private purchase on a maiden out of Oaklawn and Clay and I were looking at a mid-level claimer at Hawthorne. I’m not going to mention their names because we may still be interested and I don’t want to tip our hand at all. The maiden looked to be a good price based upon his record and could probably work through his conditions around $7500 here. The claimer, if healthy, looked like he could compete in the $16,000 to perhaps even $20,000 range – AND we would have gotten him for less, which I love.

In the span of about 12 hours, the Oaklawn horse was sold before we could take a look and our claiming target was scratched. I went from thinking that by the end of the day yesterday we would be all set to start our season to going back to the drawing board!

In this game there is always another race and with the weekend is coming up, we’ll just try, try again.

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12 thoughts on “If At First…

  1. Hi Ted
    This post has me thinking about something I’ve always wanted to ask about this blog site…don’t the blog site entries “tip off” our competitors at Canterbury Park about our horses’ condition before and after the races and where we plan to place them in upcoming races and what our future strategies are and doesn’t this work against the club’s best interests because of that? Shouldn’t this blog site be accessible by club members only for this reason? What do other Club Members think about a password to sign on to this blog to keep our horses’ condition and our future plans four our horses private from our competition at the track? Kathy

    • Kathy – the short answer is “yes, it can tip them off”. It’s a balancing act, really. The longer response is that I know I’ve toyed with the idea of closing off the blog but that defeats the purpose of the Club which is to educate folks on racing. I will admit that there are times that I don’t elucidate ALL that may be happening with our horses for that reason but I balance that against the educational objectives of the Club to both it’s members and others that may not have the money to participate but still want to learn. I also try and remember to fill in the picture after a race or entry with that information after it’s too late for the competition to sidestep us. It’s a bit of a balancing act and I may not always be successful but I’d like to make sure that all that want to follow and learn can do so.

  2. There is no problem with taking your time and getting the transaction the way you want. Kind of like the way I look at the stock market most of the time.

    • I agree, Rick. Better to take some time and attempt to make a good decision then rush and miss something that could hurt us later.

      • No rush – I agree. Take our time and find the right horses. 🙂

        Going back to something that was mentioned earlier in another post. If a trainer (such as Clay) has a horse for an owner in a claiming race, and let’s say that the CRC wants that horse, can the CRC ask Clay to claim that horse for us?

  3. OK, so what’s to stop a person from contacting another trainer, claiming the horse, and then leaving the horse with the first trainer? I wouldn’t do this myself, but am wondering.

    • Nothing, I suppose. However if the stewards for wind of it as a way to circumvent the rules it could result in a suspension or fine. One would be better off asking the trainer to broker a deal with the owner or trying to do it yourself.

  4. I thought it was my understanding that a trainer can’t claim a horse from his own barn and if one claims a horse, it has to go to a different barn with a different trainer. What motivation would there be for the 1st trainer to claim a horse for a new owner with the expectation that the horse was going to the 1st trainer’s barn, then for the owner to turn around and send it to their own (Clay’s) barn? That just seems “non-business like” to me, which begs the question: what contract does the Club/owner have with Clay/trainer? Can an owner change trainers on a whim or at any time during the meet? And then change their mind again and go back to their 1st trainer? How does that work and how does a new owner go about finding a trainer for their horse?

    I’m also interested in finding out how a trainer finds a jockey and how the jockey’s agent finds trainers to hire their jockeys? Do we know yet who our jockey(s) will be this year? I thought it might be interesting to interview our jockey and give us some insight on what a jockey’s life is like and how they got into the sport and where they go during the off season.

    There are so many layers of information that goes along with this sport that it keeps me coming back year after year! Thanks Ted and Jeff for all of you work keeping us involved and excited about horse racing! Kathy

    • I answered the first part already so I’ll move to some of your others:

      An owner can change trainers for any reason at any time as many times as they want. That doesn’t mean a trainer is obliged to accept them back again – or even accept anyone as a client. Maybe they have enough horses at this point or the person in question is a very slow payer. It could be if an owner wants to come back that the trainer doesn’t want to go through that nightmare again. Any number of possible reasons.

      A jockey agent works the backside and tries to get his rider rides in the afternoon. Part of that could be getting on a trainer’s horses in the morning and, if the rider does a nice job, a chance to ride in the afternoon. A trainer has certain jocks he likes to work with and some of that is bred from years of working together (Rhone/Butler; Robertson/Bell) and some is a trainer trusting a jock’s ability from what he sees in the mornings or on other horses in the afternoon. We don’t have a rider lined up yet. Clay will evaluate the horses we end up bringing into the barn and see what rider would fit it best and go from there.

      Maybe on the backside tours this year we can impose upon a jockey to join us or we could do a video interview that we can post here and take some questions beforehand from the Club members that we can ask?

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