Letter from the President - April
It's April Fool's Day, and I must admit at West Point Thoroughbreds we like to have a little fun on this holiday. Truth be told, practical jokes are a regular occurrence with our group - and that's pretty much all year round. One of my team members suggested that I write a spoof Letter from the President this month. As tempted as I was to do it, I'm a little nervous about bad karma. We've got so much going on in April, that I'm doing everything I can to please the "gods of racing" and generate good luck.
The month really kicks off for the stable on Saturday when El Gato Malo runs in the Santa Anita Derby. In that race, he will seek to avenge his lone career defeat to Colonel John in the Sham Stakes. Bringing the karma theme full circle, I'm hoping we'll have some good racing luck on Saturday. If everything goes well, El Gato Malo will head to Louisville as one of the favorites in the Kentucky Derby. Just over a year ago, we had to buy back El Gato Malo, a member of our 06 Pinhooking Venture, at the two-year-old auction. Fate's fickle hand allowed us to take the ride of a lifetime since then, and we hope the journey makes a quick stop for a garland of roses on the first Saturday in May.
El Gato Malo isn't our only 2008 Kentucky Derby aspirant. As the three-year-old landscape continues to change, some horses have fallen off the trail while others have just begun to make their mark. One horse that falls into the latter category is our undefeated colt Kohana. He didn't debut until February but scored an authoritative victory at Gulfstream Park and came right back with an impressive allowance win in his second race. He earned himself an entry in the Arkansas Derby on April 12th. I compare the "Road to the Roses" to the NCAA basketball tournament. You have an idea going in who is expected to do well, but then a team like Davidson will shock several teams while some favorites will fall away early. So many things can change in the span of six to seven weeks. Such is the case with Kohana, and we hope he pulls off an upset in Arkansas.
Finally, at the end of the week I head to Ocala for our annual Partner Gala to introduce the Class of 2008. This event gets bigger and bigger each year, and our Partners really enjoy meeting the new two-year-olds in person (so to speak). There really is no substitute for the sights and sounds associated with touching and seeing a new horse. Success in this sport is as much emotional as it is empirical. Our Partners often remark that there is no replacement for that gut feel that you get when you see a horse that you really like. However, this event is much more than seeing the horses. It's an educational opportunity for our Partners. We bring in speakers to interact with the clients and increase their knowledge of the sport and of the animals. The sense of community we build among the attendees lasts a lifetime, and I believe that the emotional connection you get through sharing these experiences sets us apart.
After this weekend, I hope that I will be able to share an amazing four weeks with you on the Derby trail. If things work out for us this weekend, then keep an eye on our web site. We will have a special Kentucky Derby section chronicling the build up to the first Saturday in May.
Until next month...