09/14/2007 12:54AM

Oh Brother


If you get your racing news from DRF, you might think the $2.9 million Dynaformer-Preach yearling sold at Keeneland Monday was a half-brother to Pulpit. You would be wrong, according to The New York Times and dozens of the nation's other daily newspapers, who all reported that the colt was Barbaro's brother.

"Barbaro's Sibling Is Sold" was The Times's headline for a brief from The Associated Press that ran in Tuesday's editions. "Barbaro Sibling Sold for $2.9 Million" said The Denver Post. One paper after another reprinted the same story and a similar headline, as did all the websites that get their news from wire services and dailies.

It's bad enough that sports copy editors at major news organizations don't know that racehorses with the same sire are not considered brothers or siblings, given that the same stallion can sire hundreds of foals a year; it's having the same dam that makes horses siblings. Worse, some of these same rewrite men then used the initial mistake as a jumping-off point to wax fake-eloquent about Barbaro.

"Barbaro's life and racing career ended tragically," the Cincinnatti Enquirer lamented, "but his legacy continued Monday during the first day of Keeneland's yearling sale in Lexington."

Desert God More than 1 year ago
Good stuff. I have an uncle back on Long Island who mails Newsday articles to me out here in AZ on the Spitzer-NYRA story, it's always amusing to read racing stories by writers who know the difference between a racehorse and a fried egg but little else. On another note... All of those greyhound pics you've been posting finally prompted me to look at the Tucson Greyhound Park web site and tonight I will go out and try their free place pick 5 contest that offers a $500 prize - http://www.tucdogtrak.com/track_events.htm Haven't been since '96 so it should be interesting to see what the pools are. A friend from Canada who used to go out there with us would wait until the last minute and bet $2 to win on any dog who had $0 on him to win. He took down the whole pool exactly one time, for a whopping $243. We'll see if that strategy is worth it these days. Cheers, Desert God
alan More than 1 year ago
Looks like the Friends of Barbaro may have a mole at the Times.
Kyri More than 1 year ago
Well, yeah, but... Genetically, he is a half-brother to Barbaro (and maybe a bit more depending on what's on his dam's side). Technical Thoroughbred jargon doesn't change that he is in fact a sibling. And if it gets some people interested, and following this horse (hoping that he does well -- he's magnificent looking, but we all know the stats with the sale young'uns), isn't it a good thing, despite the technical error?
EJXD2 More than 1 year ago
When Smarty Jones mania was in full swing, I remember a similar story appearing when a horse by Elusive Quality won a maiden race. "Half brother to Smarty Jones wins race" or some such thing. I e-mailed the reporter and told him that horses with the same father aren't considered related because of the numbers involved. He said, "How silly. If you have the same father, then you're at least half brothers." I sent him every Elusive Quality winner and Distorted Humor (Funny Cide's sire) for a week, but he didn't report on a one of them.
Jeff Moss More than 1 year ago
My publication reported that the 2.9 yearling purchase was a half brother to Convent and Friar, but what do we know?
Michael Thomas More than 1 year ago
Not only that lovely mistake, but the nation's newspaper of record, The Times, just reported today that the governor's proposal to extend the NYRA franchise would convert the organization to "a nonprofit group." Oops.
Anne Mayea More than 1 year ago
This is something I still don't understand about horse racing - I show dogs and dogs sired by the same dog are considered 1/2 siblings and the same in cats, goats, etc..Granted that many TB sires can sire hundred of offspring - but they still are genetic 1/2 siblings.. Anne Mayea
EJS More than 1 year ago
Oh, Brother, can you spare a Dynaformer?
T Waits More than 1 year ago
Sad that for the last year and half, horse racing has equalled BARBARO in the mind of most major media organizations (and of course the public at-large). If that's the sort of thing that's going to pass as coverage of the sport, I'd prefer the usual state of neglect; it'd save me a lot of annoyance.
Floppydog More than 1 year ago
Never ever trust a daily that doesn't find the room for a graded morning line.