In Fact, He Raises a Good Point

One of the points used to prove that Jess Jackson is not a sportsman is that he stated that he wished the Woodward purse was a bit higher.

Is he being a persnickety rich guy or pointing out a genuine inequity in a purse structure that favors breeding your talented 3yos versus campaigning them at 4? He’s probably being a persnickety rich guy (not that I care, see points 1-3), but this also raises an interesting point.

Who among us has not bemoaned the retirement of a talented 3yo colt bound for the shed? Who among us doesn’t want to see our “stars” (because 3yo colts are the only ones marketed to a mainstream audience) race longer?

Let’s face it, there’s no financial incentive for owners to return their talented 3yo to the track and the purse difference between the $1M Travers or $1M Pennsylvania Derby vs the $500k Woodward couldn’t be a better example.

Our friend Frank at That’s Amore Stables elaborated brilliantly last year:

Consider this: on the same weekend that Big Brown contested the $2 million Kentucky Derby, the richest race at Churchill for four year-olds was the $500,000 Turf Classic.

At Pimlico, older males ran in the $250,000 Pimlico Special while Big Brown was cleaning up in the $1 million Preakness.

And in New York, while Big Brown tries to secure the Triple Crown in the $1 million Belmont, older males will tussle on the turf in the $400,000 Manhattan.

In other words, while Big Brown was running for $4 million in purses, your older horse — call him Old Grey — topped out at $1,150,000. Old Grey was running for less than 30 percent of the purses available to Big Brown.

While JJ is probably playing a little poker to see if he can get NYRA to sweeten the pot, he inadvertently highlights systemic measures in place to support the “bred to be a stallion” phenomena. Now there’s something to complain about!