Finding a diamond in the rough for a bargain price is the goal of most buyers of unraced horses.

While seven-figure yearlings and 2-year-olds receive the lion’s share of attention at auction, they usually don’t live up to their lofty prices, whereas a few of the relatively inexpensive yearlings typically prove to be steals.

In spite of the advancements made in evaluating racing prospects, the selection process is still far more art than science, with a strong dose of luck mixed in.  But this is true of assessing aspiring athletes in any sport, as vividly illustrated by the 44 exclusive players who started for their respective teams on offense and defense in the centerpiece of America’s most popular sport, the 2015 Super Bowl.

An organization named 247Sports has a staff of 50 recruiting evaluators and reporters that compile data– from the major media recruiting services–on America’s high school athletes in football and basketball.   Each prospect is ranked on a scale ranging from no stars or unranked to the elite category of five stars.

CBS Sports examined the high school star rankings for the starting players for the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks in the 2015 Super Bowl and found that “not one starter was a 5-star recruit out of high school” and only seven of the 44 players or 16% were 4-star recruits.   The average player ratings for the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots were 2.4 and 2.3, respectively.  The quarterback for the Seahawks, Russell Wilson, was a 2-star prospect.

Individuals and partnerships in horse racing also have a chance to find the next I’ll Have Another or even a John Henry for a modest sum.   This has always been the allure for owners with meager budgets.  What’s being purchased is not a horse, but rather dreams, opportunity, and hope.

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