Letter from the President - October
History. The company has made history this year with our statistics, money earned and performance on the track. It's my hope that we make history at the end of this month when we run five horses in the Breeders' Cup. No other stable has had the success we've had this year - capturing five Grade 1 victories with four different horses. Two of those victories were added in September when Irish Smoke won the Spinaway and Lear's Princess dethroned Belmont Stakes winner Rags To Riches in the Gazelle. We almost completed a "September hat trick" this past weekend when Awesome Gem came an eyelash short of his first grade one victory in the Goodwood at Santa Anita.
I sometimes pinch myself to make sure that this year isn't a dream. The success is humbling, but at the same time I take great pride in the fact that our results are unmatched by any other stable this year. It is fair to say that this is perhaps the best year any partnership company has ever had. I hope that we can keep the momentum going for at least another four weeks as we lead up to the Breeders' Cup. I realize that none of this would be possible without the loyal support of our Partners and the tireless work of my team.
I was on the road quite a bit in September. I traveled to Kentucky for the yearling sale at Keeneland. I went to the sale in search of horses for both our pinhooking venture and candidates for our racing program. Some people think the sales are all fun and games, but we go there to work. They cataloged over 5,500 yearlings at the Keeneland sale. That's a lot of pedigrees and conformation to pour over. We're always up to the task though. We came home with a few and I'm thrilled with each of them.
That said, when I look at the numbers at these sales, I can't help but think that there are just too many horses and we are simply watering down the breed. I'd like to see this problem remedied or else it will prove detrimental to the long-term welfare of the sport. I think the only solution is for the market to dictate some sort of a correction (since there is no real governing body to implement strategic guidelines). If things don't change, the breeders will continue to breed anything - as long as the buyers act at the sales. If breeders get stuck with a bunch of unsold inventory, we might see a fundamental shift in how business is done. We've seen the beginning of a market shift on the high end as the big buyers were not quite as eager to spend big dollars on horses like the Green Monkey - a sixteen million dollar purchase who struggled to hit the board in a maiden race.
We shop in the middle market, and our situation is slightly different. We have much more flexibility. We can diversify our interests and that puts us in a good position at the sales. Additionally, we are bringing more capital to the sales than we ever have. With these resources and the adjustments in the market, we are coming home with the horses that we really want - horses that we might have missed out on in the past. They vet well, they are well conformed, and they have strong pedigrees.
I caught a nasty cold at the end of September. My wife, Debbie, joked that I have a case of Breeders' Cup fever. I admit that many of my waking hours are spent thinking about West Point Thoroughbreds' opportunity this month. October will be a whirlwind of activity for me, but I wouldn't trade this excitement for anything in the world. As a matter of fact, I look forward to sharing some of my thoughts with you. Starting next Monday and each Monday through the Breeders' Cup, I will post my thoughts and update you with the latest developments from all of our potential Breeders' Cup runners. The action will pick up on Friday when Irish Smoke contests the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades at Keeneland. Buckle your seatbelts and make sure your trays are locked in the upright position because October is going to be one heck of a ride.
Until next month...