06/19/2009 8:52PM

From 7.9 to 4.4

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After writing the Sunday column about Wesley Ward's triumphs at Ascot and the state of 2-year-old racing here and abroad, I got curious about how many starts our 2-year-old champions are making these days as compared to the recent past. And constant readers know what happens when I get curious about this kind of stuff: I somewhat compulsively open up Champions and The American Racing Manual and start making a color-coded chart.

Here, then, are the number of starts, month by month, made by the 36 2-year-old champion colts or geldings since 1973. At the bottom is a total for each of the four nine-year periods during that span:

The key finding is in the highlighted green section: The champion 2-year-olds from 1973 through 1981 made an average of 7.9 starts as juveniles, while those from 2000 through 2008 made an average of 4.4 starts. And if you remove Seattle Slew's unusual three-start campaign, and Johannesburg's European one, the gap increases to 8.5 vs. 4.1.

Enpe More than 1 year ago
Today, this is less about being a "2 year old champion" and all about winning the BC Juvinile. So the real metric is "hom many starts the BC Juvy winner makes as a 2yo."
Rob More than 1 year ago
Steve, As always I enjoy the blog, keep us th good work. Watching Royal Ascot this week I noticed that there were two Group I sprints, The King Stand and the Golden Jubilee, one at 5F and the other at 6F. It got be looking and another three Group I's at 6F or shorter are run during the flat season in England, The July Cup, The Nuthrope Stakes, and the Haydock Sprint Cup. Here in America other than the Breeders' Cup, there is only one other three year old and up Group I at 6F or shorter, The Vosburgh. Given the American emphasis on speed why only one Group I in open company?
aaron More than 1 year ago
The dispute between Nassau and NYRA is just a silly little dispute between to incompetent agencies who could care less about their customer base. Also,involved,but seemingly powerless are the politicians of NY,who are costing the state $1000,000 a day in income by refusing to put in slots. My question to you is: what is the upside of this dispute. I have a Nassau account and never knew the races were on the computer.I would guess almost everyone betting thru Nassau was watching the races on cable. In fairness,it is inexplicable to me that NYRA cannot broadcast its signal on its website. Nobody in racing or government seem to have a clue on what to do.
ml/nj More than 1 year ago
Two year-olds not only raced more, but they raced shorter distances; or at least the ones that went on to be champions at three and older did. I did a study which I posted to the old DRF Forum, now lost, which showed a correlation between two year-old champions and their longevity seemed to be strongly related to the number of short races they had early in their careers. (Based upon the PPs in the DRF Champions book)
gofor broke More than 1 year ago
Sunday at Belmont was one of the biggest track biases I've seen in NY this year. 6 of the first 8 races were won by horses hugging the rail, and the 9th race exacta was rail - 2 post. Both on the inside all the way. I thought Cocoa Beach might beat the bias, but 1 to 9 for an outside closer today was insane. Comical.
Ernie More than 1 year ago
"I somewhat compulsively open up Champions and The American Racing Manual" Desert island essentials, in order, seriously, Dog, Guitar, Champions, Racing Manuals...."
T.R. Slyder More than 1 year ago
I apologize for this being out of place, but I wasn't sure where else to take this story. ESPN.com today linked to MSG Plus's coverage of "Jean Luc Salmon" being thrown from his horse yesterday at Belmont, and his horse winning. I guess they were surprised that losing a 115 pounds increases a horse's speed. The embedded video mentions that "salmon" was ok after the fall, but ESPN.com mentioned nothing of his well-being. Just that this was a funny video because a riderless horse wins! This is the same network that seldom covers horse racing but went wild with accusations after Eight Belles' death. But when a human falls off a horse, the same network can't be bothered to mention if he's ok or not. http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=4275064&categoryid=2378529
Sean More than 1 year ago
Not a good sign that Street Sense is the only horse in the last 5 (maybe more, I'm doing this off the top of my head) years that not only ran in the Kentucky Derby but was healthy at the time of the Kentucky Derby. Although I have to say that the # of races as a 2-year old, in my opinion, has little to do with it. Look at Easy Goer...I don't think 6 compared to 5 or 4 is that big of a difference. The real difference comes as a 3 year old. Easy Goer ran 9 times as a 3 year old...whens the last time a top-flight 3 year old ran 9 times? Although it is interesting that through all this concern about breeding, we have Medaliga D'Oro, who was one of the last iron horse in my opinions, quickly becoming one of the top sires. Even Birdstone, who didn't run a lot, clearly is breeding quality horses with stamina. The sad fact with breeding is that its like any business...its about the market and what people want to buy. For too long, speed was #1. I think we're starting to see a shift, if a very slow shift, to stamina and strength. To be honest...I don't know how breeding became a game of trying to stretch fast horses out to a 1 1/8 or 1 1/4 mile to win a classic race.
rawlawltd More than 1 year ago
Thought the P5 @ Monmouth with a carryover was very interesting. Figured it was safe to eliminate Barcola & another favorite & built a play around that. For 50 cents I saw a chance to maybe get 2 C's in the mix at an affordable price. Wrong knucklehead!! Went to my NYRA-1 account & was promptly surprised that the minimum bet was $2. Didn't think it was prudent to play a $1000 P5, so after 3 hours of handicapping, I passed. You know the result. Of course, no resonse from NYRA as to why it would be so hard to take a 4 bit bet when a dime works for the super. (Haven't used the term "bit" in years, still love it!) Must have more say in this game. I invite all to investigate HANA, a group that is trying to let our handle do the talking. Would love to hear more on this blog about joining, rather than bitching. Whadaya think, Steve????
92LNeck More than 1 year ago
Steven: Thanks for the tip on the shared winnings tax form. I was not aware of this form. From my research, it looks like Form 5754 "Statement by Person(s) Receiving Gambling Winnings" would do the trick. I can see how this would work at the track or OTB, but I'm curious how the online wagering portals would deal with this given that the deposit will probably be placed in my account before I had a chance to get them this form. Checking the HELP at youbet, twinspires and xpressbet, none of them mention this form that I could find. Anyway...I hope to solve this dilemma soon. Almost had to last night with 5 of 6 in the Hol P6 which paid half a million.