January 16, 2006

Regarding the USTA’s poll assessing the “deservingness” of Continental Victory, Malabar Man, Matt’s Scooter, Miss Easy and Moni Maker for the living hall of fame.. Guess what. THEY’RE all qualified each in his or her unique way.

Continental Victory. This Hambletonian winner may have been as good a 3-year-old trotting filly as anyone has ever seen.

Malabar Man lugged amateur driver Malvern Burroughs to gold and glory on two continents and in doing so provided almost Hollywood like saga not to mention the priceless extra reams of press coverage.

Matt’s Scooter became the world’s fastest harness horse at the apex of what must be considered an illustrious racing career.

Miss Easy was a pacing filly on a par with the legendary distaffers.

Moni Maker is well… Moni Maker…

All five are “living hall of famers” or at least they should be.

Illuminating piece by Harold Howe in his Harness Edge Magazine illustrating the ticklish ramifications of buy backs- routine in the thoroughbred world but frowned upon in the harness world. Fortunately insightful thoroughbred and harness breeder/owner Bob Anderson did put the topic in proper perspective.

Horses are first and foremost commodities and as such have levels of value. Despite the venue, the auction itself is not exactly a fire sale. Especially since at some auctions like art auctions it’s not even uncommon to commence bidding at a designated number.

The bidder seeks to acquire merchandise for a minimal investment while the seller seeks what he considers fair market value. Unfortunately, there’s no barometer for determining fair market value except whatever number each individual attaches to the product. Nor is there such a thing as book value to suggest subsequent value after 12 months usage or 12,000 miles (whichever comes first) placing the buyer in a sort of limbo. The seller on the other hand has already absorbed the cost of manufacture and is understandably reluctant to part with a lexus for what is essentially a corolla type bid.

As Bob Anderson stated it’s not unreasonable for a consignor reserve a horse at about two thirds its real value. Needless to say consignors assessing unrealistic numbers will wind up taking some back.

There’s also the growing trend toward partnerization and/or tacit understandings amongst many bidders who may not be combining on the horse in the ring but do have associations on other horses. This has a huge impact on the number of bids any horse is likely to attract.

Curious if the degree of partnerization is nearly as prevalent in the thoroughbred world as it has become in our world?

Kudos to Harness Edge for addressing the topic.

Anyone involved in the information dissemination business (touting) knows full well the inevitability of loss axiom. The player will ultimately lose (except for those few who attain elite professional status) therefore the playing field must constantly be replenished to in order to stay in business. Since the player must ultimately lose it is also advisable to make that process as painless and pleasant as possible. This the casino people understand very well.

The racing industry needs to understand that regardless of how many betting outlets there ultimately may be, if what they’re betting on proves not to be worth betting on, it ultimately will not work.

Bob Marks



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