Archives for October 2019


Before and after last night’s deciding Game 7 in the 2019 World Series, the New York Post reported online about the physical condition of the injured ace pitcher for the Washington Nationals:

“HOUSTON — Three days after not being able to raise his right arm due to a nerve issue in his neck, Max Scherzer will start for the Nationals on Wednesday night in Game 7.

‘I feel good, the cortisone shot worked,’ Scherzer said after the victory.

He received the injection Sunday when he was scratched for Game 5.”

Imagine that a story in a major newspaper read as follows after the 2020 Kentucky Derby:

“LOUISVILLE — Three days after not being able to raise his right front leg due to a nerve issue, (the name of the winning colt) will start in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. 

‘The colt showed no lameness,’ his trainer said after the victory, ‘the cortisone shot worked.’

He received the injection Wednesday night.”

According to WebMD, “Cortisone is a type of steroid, a drug that lowers inflammation, which is something that can lead to less pain.”

The game-winnng Scherzer cortisone-injection story was reported matter-of-factly in a plethora of newspapers and there were no allegations about abusing athletes.  Had Scherzer been an equine athlete, who won the Kentucky Derby or Breeders’ Cup Classic, a firestorm of criticism and outrage would surely have ensued.

Copyright © 2019 Horse Racing Business


The QIPCO Champions Day at Ascot is the British version of the Breeders’ Cup.  Champions Day 2019 was held at Ascot Racecourse on October 19th and the Breeders’ Cup is scheduled for November 1st and 2nd.  The events are year-end championships, but they are structurally different.

Champions Day consists of only six turf races for 3-year-olds and up:

  • Class 1 Sprint at 6 furlongs with a purse (in U. S. currency) of $746,500
  • Class 2 race for fillies and mares over 2 miles with a purse of $576,000
  • Class 1 race at 1 ½ miles with a purse of $704,000
  • Class 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over 1 mile with a purse of $1,408,000
  • Class 1 Champions Stake at 1 ¼ miles with a purse of $1,739,000
  • Class 2 Handicap over 1 mile with a purse of $320,000

In contrast, the Breeders’ Cup cards 14 predominately Grade 1 races spread over Friday and Saturday. Unlike Champions Day, the Breeders’ Cup has races on both dirt and turf and has five races for 2-year-olds.  While two of the six Champions Day purses exceed $1 million, every Breeders’ Cup race is worth at least $1 million, with the two feature races—the Classic and the Turf–offering purses of $6 million and $4 million, respectively.

The best distance horses in Europe are targeted for the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in early October in France and then their connections have the option of competing in Champions Day at Ascot or the Breeders’ Cup or both. It takes quite a horse to take on top-level turf horses three times in less than a month. 

The 4-year-old Irish-based filly Magical qualifies. She finished 5th in the 2019 Arc, won the 2019 Champions Stake, and will now run in either the Breeders Cup Turf or the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

Based on a lot of evidence, one would infer that the European horses really are more rugged than their American counterparts. This result is likely a combination of breeding for distance, training, fewer sprints, and drug-free races.

Copyright © 2019 Horse Racing Business

After this post went live, news came that Magical was scratched owing to spiking a fever.


Forbes magazine recently published the 2019 list ofAmerica’s Richest Sports Team Owners.”  Three have interests in Thoroughbred racing–Dan Gilbert, Gayle Benson and Vincent Viola.

Dan Gilbert, number 10 on the Forbes list and majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association, operates Thistledown as part of Jack Casino, and he recently sold Turfway Park to Churchill Downs, Inc. The Cavaliers won the NBA title in 2016.

Gayle Benson, widow of Tom Benson, owns the New Orleans Pelicans of the NBA and the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League. She has an estimated net worth of $3.1 billion and ranks number 32 on the Forbes team-owner wealth list.  Her horses race under GMB Racing. The Saints won the 2010 Super Bowl.

Vincent Viola, number 42 on the list with a net worth of $2.2 billion, owns the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League and races under the name of St. Elias Stable.  He was part owner of 2017 Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and is a steward of the Jockey Club.

Following are the top-ten team owners ranked by wealth.  No one is remotely close to Steve Ballmer, whose wealth fluctuates greatly with the value of Microsoft stock, the company where he made his fortune.

Rank, Owner, Net worth, Source of Wealth, Team(s)

1. Steve Ballmer: $51.7 billion, Microsoft (Los Angeles Clippers)

2. David Tepper: $12 billion, hedge funds (Carolina Panthers)

3. Philip Anschutz: $11.5 billion, investments (Los Angeles Kings, LA Galaxy)

4. Stanley Kroenke: $9.7 billion, sports, real estate (Los Angeles Rams, Arsenal, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids)

5. Jerry Jones: $8.6 billion, Dallas Cowboys

6. Micky Arison: $8.1 billion, Carnival Cruises (Miami Heat)

7. Shahid Khan: $7.8 billion, auto parts (Jacksonville Jaguars)

8. Stephen Ross: $7.6 billion, real estate (Miami Dolphins)

9. Robert Kraft: $6.9 billion, New England Patriots, New England Revolution

10. Daniel Gilbert: $6.5 billion, Quicken Loans (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Horse Racing Business 2019