Updated on 09/16/2011 8:10AM

Street Cry's retirement untimely for future bettors


Bettors who made Street Cry the 6-1 favorite in the were tearing up their tickets on Tuesday morning when Godolphin Racing announced the horse's retirement just 14 hours after the future bet closed.

The retirement of Street Cry, because of an injury to his ankle, underscores one of the inherent risks of future betting: Horses are not guaranteed to start in the race for which they are bet, and refunds are never issued. The Tuesday announcement raised questions about when Street Cry's injury was diagnosed and whether Godolphin had an obligation to inform Breeders' Cup about a change in the horse's status.

Simon Crisford, a spokesman for Godolphin, said on Tuesday from England that Godolphin had not decided to retire the horse until "late on Monday night," after betting on the Classic wager had closed at 7 p.m. He also said that he had not known that the horse was being offered in a future bet over the weekend.

"There was no cloud hanging over the horse's head until late last night," Crisford said. "The timing of [the bet] and his retirement announcement are two completely separate issues."

Street Cry, the dominating winner of the 2002 Dubai World Cup, was retired because of a recurring problem in his right front ankle, Crisford said. The same injury kept Street Cry on the sidelines for most of 2001.

Crisford said that veterinarians noticed inflammation in the ankle on Monday morning during a routine examination. Over the next 12 hours, Godolphin managers weighed the "seriousness of the situation" and Street Cry's value at stud before making a decision.

Ken Kirchner, the director of product development for Breeders' Cup, said that Street Cry would have been pulled from the wagering if news of his retirement had reached anyone at the organization before the pool closed. Anyone who bet on the horse before then, however, would not have been entitled to a refund.

"We've tried to do everything we can to make sure a horse is sound and running, and nothing we had seen, read, or heard had indicated otherwise," said Kirchner, who is a member of the committee that selects the horses for inclusion in the pools.

Street Cry's retirement capped a puzzling four days for the future wager, which defied most handicapping predictions. With Street Cry out, favoritism will fall instead to the co-second choices, War Emblem, the 3-year-old winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and Macho Uno, winner of the Grade 2 Massachussetts Handicap this year, who were each bet down to 7-1. War Emblem was the true favorite, with $8,053 in handle compared with Macho Uno's $7,806.

A total $22,883- $13,113 in Pool 1 and $9,880 in Pool 3- was bet on Street Cry in the Future Wager.

Both Macho Uno and War Emblem were 20-1 on the morning line established by Mike Watchmaker, the national handicapper of Daily Racing Form. Another 20-1 shot, Momentum, was bet down to 9-1, fifth choice behind the 8-1 Repent, the 3-year-old who was second most recently in the Travers. Medaglia d'Oro, who beat Repent in the Travers, was 13-1.

"It's hard to believe some of the prices on these horses," said Kirchner.

Watchmaker said he believed the relatively small size of the Classic pool and the impact sizable wagers can have on prices accounted for some of the discrepancy between the final odds and the morning line. Watchmaker also said that some of the horses that were heavily bet, such as War Emblem, had "name recognition."

Handle on the Classic was $82,558, down slightly from the betting produced by the first Classic future wager, offered on the Fourth of July weekend. The size of the pool was comparable to the win, place, and show pool on a single race at a midsized track such as Ellis Park.

Breeders' Cup offered two other future bets last weekend, on the Sprint and Distaff. Both of those races had been offered over Fourth of July weekend as well.

The 2.30-1 favorite in the Distaff was Azeri, winner of five straight graded stakes, four of them Grade 1's. Summer Colony, the last horse to beat Azeri, was the second choice at 5-1. Farda Amiga, recent winner of the Alabama Stakes, was the third choice at 7-1.

In the Sprint, Orientate, who easily beat last year's Sprint winner, Squirtle Squirt, in the Forego at Saratoga on Sunday, was bet down to 4-1. Gygistar, the three-length winner of the seven-furlong Kings Bishop Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 24, was the second choice at 6-1. Swept Overboard, winner of the one-mile Metropolitan Handicap in his last start on May 27, was the third choice at 7-1.

Handle on the Distaff was $38,256, slightly lower than the handle in the first Distaff bet. Betting on the Sprint, however, was down 17 percent, from $48,193 to $39,884.

Kirchner said that it was difficult to explain the declines in betting, but he said that Breeders' Cup anticipates offering the future wagers next year. The format of the bets and the dates they are offered will likely be reconsidered, Kirchner said, and Breeders' Cup still hopes to expand the pool to 100 individual horses, an impossibility this year because of technical problems.

Breeders' Cup will offer two more future bets this year, on the Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies, from Sept. 20-22.

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