Lucky ChuckyMuscles Yankee

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  Perretti Farms Stallions

 Standing at Cool Winds Farm of Ohio!
LUCKY CHUCKY 2,1:55.1 3,1:50.4 $2,099,973

Standing at Winbak Farm of New York!
MUSCLES YANKEE 2,1:56.3; 3,1:52.2 ($1,424,938)

Trotlines 125

CHUCKY ALMOST DONE


But a handful of nominations remain available to Lucky Chucky, last year’s trotter of the year. Given the USTA mandated limitation number of 140 mares, there’s precious little wiggle room and when he hits that number, Lucky Chucky will be done.


Thus far, the first year stallion has been more than exemplary in stopping his early mares and appears to be a sure-fire breeder.


MUSCLES AWAITING HIS APRIL-MAY CALLS
Given the slight adjustment to the phantom implemented last spring, old faithful Muscles Yankee is ahead of himself at this point of the season and he’ll have no difficulty accommodating the last minute breeding requests he traditionally receives in April and May.


Now 16 and firmly entrenched as “The Hambletonian sire” Muscles Yankee is credited with the last three Hambletonian champions in Deweycheatumnhowe, Muscle Hill and last year’s winner Muscle Massive. Of those, Muscle Hill has been mentioned as the greatest trotting colt of this or perhaps any era.


Therefore should that promising filly unfortunately have to “leave the training track” for whatever reason, rest assured, Muscles Yankee is ready to accommodate as usual.


PURSE DISPARITIES
A survey of raceway tracks discloses that claimers especially the lower level types often race for purses comprising 80% or even larger percentages of their listed value.


At Chester one day, $10,000 claimers raced for $9,000, while the $12,500- $15,000 handicap claimer went for $11,000.


At Pocono, the $15’s raced for $12,500, the $12,5’s for $10,000 and the $7,500’s for $6,000.
On March 25th, an Art Major 3-year-old named Lucky Cadet won a race at Pompano which was gleefully reported by all the Harness websites citing how a $90,000 yearling was victorious at that track.
What was not reported is that the purse for that overnight event was $4,000.


The same evening, $4,000 claimers raced for $3,300 at the same track.


At thoroughbred tracks, maidens and non winners of one or two race for significantly higher purses than their harness counterparts.’

There are two very discernable points here-one being that not every yearling sold is a major stakes candidate and the other is that every overnight raceway horse was a yearling at one point in its life. And as such, was raised, cared for and consigned just like the stakes colts.


Unfortunately yearling purchasers much to their chagrin realize months later that their prized acquisition may not make the lucrative events he was nominated to but yet will prove to be a relatively useful racehorse down the road.


The problem here is that so much money has been spent just training and staking which can never be recouped by the original owner who invariably winds up selling the animal for pennies on the dollar only to see it prove a moneymaker for as an overnighter for someone else.

 
Therefore, it becomes imperative to revamp existing purse structures thus enabling yearling buyers to race that marginal or developing prospect in overnight conditioned races for respectable purses as our thoroughbred counterparts do. The Canadian tracks like Woodbine and Mohawk are far more “green horse” friendly than many of our U.S. tracks but that in essence is not enough.


Under the current spectrum more and more breeders will question the escalating cost factor versus the diminishing yearling return market and simply decide not to manufacture yearlings projected to be auction giveaways.


The end result is that less will be indeed more as years from now there just won’t be enough horses to fill out the overnight raceway cards.

 

TIME TO BUY
The handle numbers from the recently concluded Meadowlands Winter meeting are depressing. What will happen down the road in East Rutherford is uncertain but surely all harness racing will be impacted.


Ironically, there has never been a better time to own a standardbred race horse than right now given the healthy purse structures at the racino tracks.


Unfortunately nobody other than ourselves is aware of this as we have been noticeably derelict in getting this message out beyond our controlled borders preferring instead to preach to the choir.
Why not inundate the financial pages of media adjacent to harness tracks illustrating the benefits of racehorse ownership when overnight claimers often race for 80-90% of their listed value?
This won’t help breeders as cited above but until purse structures are revised successful claimers can often prove profitable within a few starts after their acquisition. In short, there’s money to be made with overnight horses.
But, nobody other than ourselves will have a clue unless we get this word out.
GENETICS
With all due respect to an esteemed colleague and hall of famer, we don’t quite share the urgency of addressing stallion limitation numbers at this time.


Regardless of the validity of a potential down the road problem it appears the industry has far more pressing problems some of which are cited above which could render any potential genetic diversity issues to the back burner.


Harness Racing is at a major crisis point right now and unless we can figure out how to survive without total subsidization it might not matter much how the genes match up in the future. 


A PET PEEVE 
Often wondered why race secretaries deliberately over classify horses coming off layoffs resulting in the following scenarios.


First and foremost, the returnee who is unlikely to be race tight will use the race as a conditioner and is odds on not to exert maximum competitive effort. Often it winds up impeding the normal projected flow of the race by its mere presence.


For example, a recent “invitational” at a major track included two overmatched returnees who went off at 100-1 and 64-1 respectively.


The longer priced horse had the rail and yielded quickly to the pacesetter who wound up setting rather leisurely fractions.


The long shot remained in the pocket throughout with the other long shot returnee occupying the three hole which forced contenders to either move prematurely against an unchallenged pacesetter or face the unenviable task of trying to close into what would be a lightning final quarter.


Either way, the race was flawed and evolved into a poor betting proposition unless of course you perceived the pacesetter would get an uncontested lead with non contenders in the closest proximity.

This often occurs when field “fillers” are utilized thus becoming the antidote to the ‘full field” theory.

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