News On The Street – by Denise Gault

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Established in 1987, Race Street Management, Inc is the Arabian industries’ oldest and most respected Bloodstock Agency, representing the finest Arabian bloodstock from the world’s most successful race programs.

Denise discusses current trends and topics-on the street.

NEWS ON THE STREET by Denise Gault

March 20, 2012        International Relations…….Both Social and Racing

No doubt you were either there or read all about it…I’m referring to the 25th Silver Anniversary DARLEY AWARDS celebration that took place 3 weeks ago. A big hand goes to the ARC Stewards and the team of HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival headed by Lara Sawaya. It was a very exciting weekend, starting with the Saturday evening races at Sam Houston Race Park, including the first ever HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies IFHAR Cup held in the U.S., while on Sunday evening the spotlight was on the black tie Darley Awards banquet. Both big events were glued together by frequent trips to the Galleria across the street from the JW Marriott, keeping everyone entertained nonstop.

It was fantastic seeing so many international faces in the crowd; From the UAE dignitaries and racing officials, IFHAR Board members, and the Chairs of most Arabian racing organizations from around the world, it was truly an international event.

So with the great connections and new friends we’ve made, I suggest we invite them back with their horses to join us in racing here in the U.S. We have a big backyard to play in and lots of money up for grabs, and we’re willing to share it with our new found friends. First stop, Delaware Park, noted for its great location half way between New York and Washington, DC, its big prize money, its top stakes program, and its countryside gallops reminiscent of Newmarket. From there, you can go anywhere in the U.S., including Pimlico Race Course, home of the PREAKNESS, just down the interstate highway. Delaware Park and EARA is setting up their welcoming committee now. Intrigued? I’ll put you in touch with the who’s who.

Calling All Breeders!

At the Darleys banquet, unquestionably the highlight of the celebration was the Awards announcements, but after the trophies were presented, the photos taken, and the applause settled down, a very important event took place; the annual Darley Stallion Auction fundraiser, during which breedings to 7 superstar stallions were auctioned off, thanks to Bill Smith, who revved up the crowd for a few more minutes of their attention.  This brings me to something very dear to my heart, and hopefully anyone who cares about the future of Arabian racing….BREEDING. So where have all our breeders gone? Can we depend on the half a dozen big US breeders to produce the “inventory” needed to fill the races that so many have worked hard to develop at new as well as existing venues? Look around and you will see the ongoing cooperation between countries and open communications between breeds is advancing new opportunities for Arabian racing. A race on PREAKNESS DAY, really? Wow! So assuming this game continues to grow and we are invited to race at tracks traditionally supported by other breeds, most notably the Thoroughbred breed, will the Arabian community be ready to step up with enough horses in 3, 4, 5 years from now? And let’s not forget filling the needs of tracks that have supported us all these years.

At a time when access to world class sires is readily available via cooled and frozen semen and stud fees are more than sensibly priced, there is no excuse not to breed your mare if you are a true supporter of Arabian racing. If you have a good mare, don’t leave her open as surely you have a favorite stud in mind for her. If you don’t have a mare, there are many breeders willing to sell, lease, or in some cases even loan you an excellent mare. The opportunities are tremendous and right in front of you. There are 3 more months of breeding season, still plenty of time to get involved, so go for it!  

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February 15, 2012

The 25th Silver Anniversary of our esteemed DARLEY AWARDS has generated quite a buzz in international circles of the Arabian race industry with all eyes focused on the March 4th ceremony in Houston, Texas.  On this evening, Arabian racing enthusiasts from the US and the world will witness the crowning of our Darley Champions, the best of the 2011 racing season.

The credit for bringing our “Oscars” of Arabian racing to international attention goes to HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, whose vision and generosity, along with his untiring executive director, Lara Sawaya, has propelled this year’s Darley Awards into the global spotlight, earning it the title of HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival Darley Awards. Further adding to the excitement is the newly created HH Sheikha Fatima Bin Mubarak Darley Award to be presented to outstanding international women for 2011.

A little history…. After founding the Arabian Racing Cup (ARC) in the early 1980’s, Dr Sam Harrison, a pioneer in US Arabian racing,  established the Darley Awards in 1987, and the prestigious event has been held annually since.

Dr Sam and Bettye Harrison

There are 11 categories, 7 for horses (3 Year Old Colt/ Filly; 4 Year Old Colt/ Filly; Older Horse; Older Mare; and the crown jewel, Horse of the Year, and 4 for people (Breeder, Owner, Trainer and Jockey). Each category has 5 nominees vying for Darley Champion in their respective category, with the Horse Of The Year reserved for the one horse chosen from all nominees. A voting panel made up of the 8 ARC Board of Stewards, on which I serve, national and regional racing organization leaders, media publishers and editors, and racing officials, votes by secret ballot.  Not until the evening of the gala affair when the MC opens the envelope and announces “And the winner is….” are the Champions revealed.

A little trivia……In its 25 year history, there have been over 1,000 nominees, 24 of whom were named Darley Champion in their category, some multiple times during their career, while 24 have been crowned Darley Champion Horse Of The Year. The Horse Of The Year stats are intriguing: 8 have been female, 3 have won Horse Of The Year twice: NF PROOF in 1989 and 1990, DA ADIOS in 2002 and 2004, and the reigning Horse Of The Year, SAND WITCHH in 2009 and 2010. Of the 24 Horse Of The Year Champions, 10 are owned by families in UAE and Qatar.

Did you know…….Our sponsor, HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his brothers, while students in California in the early to mid 1990’s, purchased some top American-bred Arabians and in short order were leading owners in California, which at the time was the hotbed of Arabian racing in the US. While all returned home after their studies, HH Shiekh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan established his US breeding program at Sharon Clarke’s Rigbie Farm in Maryland. Under the guidance of Guy Neivens, HH Sheikh Tahnoon’s long time, trusted manager, this team has produced 2 Horse Of The Year Champions, namely TRIPLE FIVE in 2001and THOROUGHBRED in 2008. TRIPLE FIVE, who was also 2001 4 Year Old Filly and 2004 Older Mare Champion, has only 2 foals of racing age, VENOM, her son who is reigning 2010 Darley Champion 3 Year Old Colt, and a daughter, GOLDEN ODESSEY, who is nominated in this year’s 3 Year Old Filly of the Year category and considered a top contender. It doesn’t stop there as this filly is by 1992 Darley Champion Older Horse, OH BY GOSH, one of my all time favorite horses.  Then there’s THOROUGHBRED; In addition to being named 2009 Darley Horse Of The Year, he was 2008 and 2009 Older Horse Of The Year, and he, himself, is sired  by the great champion, TC TOMTYR, Darley Champion 1991 3 Year Old Colt, 1993 and 1994 Older Horse Of The Year. Personally, I love seeing these older foundation American bloodlines proving their strength in our modern international pedigrees. You’ve got to love the French strength on the American speed. By the way, also in their breeding barn are the Champion mares DIXIE VALENTINE and SAND WITCHH, reigning Horse of the Year. This team is awesome, and these are just a few of their successes. They have racked up sterling record by any standard, and the fun has just begun, at least for the spectators!

The Arabian horse has always be recognized as international in stature, and in a way, we could say the Darley Awards have had a strong international connection for a very long time. Perhaps it’s only fitting we join together and face our challenges while we celebrate our successes. I know Dr Sam would want it this way, and no question would relish our upcoming event.

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January 17, 2012  ~ The New Year marks a new beginning for a couple of very nice horses soon to run under new ownership in Oman. The Race Street-brokered horses, US and UK winner, GENUINELY AT RISK, and up and coming UK runner, BALZAN, arrived in Muscat this past week, having been prepped by noted UK trainer, Bill Smith.  GENUINELY AT RISK will have his work cut out for him when he meets Oman’s top stakes horses, ALAZAR and CHRISS, both sons of the international stakes sire, CHNDAKA,  in Oman’s 1st major stake of the new year on 26 January. ALAZAR, also brokered by Race Street, is coming off 8 wins since arriving in Oman in the fall of 2010, while CHRISS, started making his mark early on in this, his first race season in Oman.  No doubt seeing these 4 go head to head on the 26th will be a thrilling race for all Omani race goers. As for me, with connections to all 3, I’ll be rooting them all on!

Market Watch:

I’m receiving more inquiries for prospects than at this time last year, which I interpret as a positive sign for U.S. breeders. With racing expanding globally, there is going to be a need for more “inventory” to fill races at all race venues. I’m hopeful savvy breeders will recognize this and plan accordingly.

That reminds me, possibly the “hottest” new sire to come on line this breeding season is the Shadwell-owned champion, NO RISK AL MAURY, who retired from racing after his Group I win in the International Malazgirt Trophy stake in Istanbul this past September.  In the 6 years of his race career, he started 25 times, amassing 17 wins, 4 seconds, and 3 thirds, including 6 Group I wins, 6 Group I places, 5 Group II wins and 1 Group II place, in 4 countries, and on all 3 surfaces types : turf, dirt and all weather.  Easy to see why he was recently ranked by the Pattern Race and Handicapper Committee as the Number #1 horse with a rating of 128 in the first ever International Purebred Arabian Rankings.  Needless to say, I am extremely proud to be managing his U.S. breeding book. Along with Shadwell’s other champion sires, MADJANI, CHNDAKA, NIVOUR DE CARDONNE, and KAOLINO, Race Street’s 2012 U.S. stallion roster is quite the powerhouse!

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News On the Street- December 2011

Hard to believe 2011 has come and gone in a flash and despite our ailing economy, I see opportunities for Arabian racing growing on the national level. Along with our season circuits, in 2011 we saw the running of two H.H. Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup stakes (Delaware Park and Sam Houston Race Course), five Wathba Stud Cup series races in California, and the Grade 1 UAE President’s Cup at the world famous Churchill Downs. Talk about an up tick in our racing world, it makes me dizzy with excitement, finally!

For over 20 years my focus has been the Arabian market, both private and public (auctions), and other than a few big jewels selling, it’s been flat for a few years; This is very tough on our breeders who dedicate their knowledge, money and bloodstock producing our “inventory”. Without our breeders, there is no market, there is no racing. I racked up a lot of miles in 2011, traveling to the Nederlands, UK, Paris, UAE, and Qatar (first time back there since 1993!). Here’s what I observed: Arabian racing globally is also experiencing an incredible surge in racing opportunities. Even Australia will hold their first H.H. Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup stake. Imagine how excited they are!

So, do I see a hint of optimism creeping in? You bet! Look at what 2012 holds for all of us: For the first time in its 25 year history the coveted Darley Awards, honoring the best in US Arabian racing, is truly a global event thanks to the vision and generosity of HH Sheikh Mansoor and Lara Sawaya, the director of his Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival, and HH Fatima Bint Mubarak Darley Award, recognizing distinguished women in international Arabian racing.

What does this mean for all of us? It means more opportunities, more rewards, and more fun, and perhaps selfishly I say this…a better, stronger market for our dedicated breeders and owners. I have so much more to share, but will wait for my next installment.

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