Young and promising – and profitable!

Professor Ulf Lindström:
2 year old horses do NOT suffer from early debut – on the contrary!

"It's the economy, stupid." At the end of the day horse owning is an expensive pastime. Believe it or not, owners of race horses are realists. But even they may be allowed to dream, a dream that takes them to the winners' circle and some wordly rewards too that make them buy, well, another yearling, and another. Meanwhile, the community of owners could do with a break, some beer-money on the way to fame and fortune.

Once the yearling is paid for at the auction for, let's say, €10,000 the trainer's fee and incidental expenses start ticking. By the time the horse is theoretically ready for entering the first race as a two-year old the total outlay for the owner has come to about €35,000.

So, how many horses out of the crops are returning some money, enough even to bring the two-year old season to break-even, or gross earnings of €22,000 in the case of Sweden?

First and last: nothing much changes in Swedish two-year old trotting. For the last six years about the same proportion of the crops, 1.5 per cent, ever enters a purse race. Of the 81 individuals that have earned their upkeep, or at least SEK 200,000 in purse money, 39 are colts, 10 geldings, and 32 filles.

For the top earners, seven or eight races constitute the typical campaigning of the first season at the race track. This is a full schedule considering that two-year old races in the Nordic countries only start late in the season. For the exceptional talents, the top three, about €70,000 may be garnered. The "gender gap" is surprisingly small and will remain so with more and more races with an oaks-division for equal purses.

And so the controversial issue: two-year olds are too young to race? To perform at the maximum ability, perhaps beyond the limit, is harmful to their later careers. They could have had a better life-time record if only the debut had been put off to the three-year old season.

Again, the record shows this is baloney. Only 1 out of 3 individuals failed to reach the earnings required to pay the costs for the three-year old season. (Five out of 64 never entered a race again, for reasons that include accidents too.) Moreover, almost 1 out of 3 went for a three-year old season that brought in €50,000 or more in earnings. So, even if the careers of these three-year olds suddenly come to an abrupt end at age four, the owner had collected enough money to start over again with a new yearling. 

The data confirm the survey by Hakan Persson (cf., ref) of the 50 top two-year old performers born in Sweden 2006: 26 per cent went on to become millionaires in Swedish kronor.

True and obvious, the two-year olds in this survey are not just the average individuals, and the conclusions must take that into account. But, the 81 are not in any way the blue-bloods, not invariably the most expensive of the respective crops (data from auction sales in Sweden are incomplete). 

Indeed, they were probably fine individuals already at two in terms of conformation and temperament or both - and a few with flaws that make one wonder about the received wisdom of horsemanship. Still, the Swedish trotting industry is wasting away money by preparing too few horses for debut as two-year olds. The statistics for 2011 (crops of 2009 and 2008) are proof of the expensive routines:

Registered 2YOs (crop of 2009): 3,534. Debutants: 297. Combined earnings of the crop: SEK 13.326,700.

Registered 3YOs (crop of 2008): 3,474. Starters: 1,664.

Combined earnings of the crop: SEK 99.417,750.

Trotters are private property. Every owner is entitled to both their wares and opinions, including the question of debut at age two. Equally true is that the Swedish community of trotting aficionados, the industry, is suffering from the self-imposed restraints on early debut. 


2013 (Crop of 2011, total 3534, started 297, 1.6%):

Name & sex            Starts  Place  Earnings SEK                                                                                                                                                 

1 ONCEFORALL FACE c     4      2 1 0   670 000

2 SOONERORLATER f       8      3 2 1   488 000

3 ELTON ATTACK (DE) c   5      2 0 1   473 853

4 EXPLOSIVE DE VIE (US)g   5   0 4 1   468 323

5 ORION TILLY c         9      2 2 1   450 200

6 M.T.JEST c            6      0 3 2   367 800

7 SPECIALESS* (IT) c    5      4 0 0   321 461

8 ENYA BOKO f           7      5 0 1   321 000

9 EUNICE BOKO (US) f    4      2 1 0   312 500

10 OLYMPIA TILLY f      5      3 0 0   275 000

11 SNOW FLAKE GOJ f     5      2 1 0   245 000

12 THEWAYIAM ÅS c       2      2 0 0   240 000

13 BEAR MY CROWN f      7      0 2 0   229 000

14 GABRIELLA SISU f     8      2 0 3   222 500

15 ABAZ AMERICA c       3      2 0 0   210 000

16 GLOBAL REALITY c     9      2 1 2   204 851

17 KICKANS GIRL f       6      3 0 0   201 500


2012 (Crop of 2010, total 3469, started 288, 1.6%)

                                             Earnings 3YO 

1 DENIM BOKO f          5      3 2 0   970 000    300 018

2 NUGGET'S FACE f       9      5 2 1   677 279     81 000

3 DONNA DI QUATTRO f    7      3 1 2   633 690    256 100 

4 VÄSTERBO LOVEBOAT c   6      5 0 1   520 000    529 000

5 MARQUIS ÅS c          6      2 0 1   428 070    418 849 

6 RARING TO GO f        5      1 1 1   407 066    116 539 

7 RE DOC g              6      3 1 1   367 500     11 000 

8 TUMBLE DUST (DK) c    5      2 0 1   351 038  1 368 761

9 ACAI AM f             5      2 1 1   315 000    210 000

10 SALLY HILL f         5      3 1 0   310 000    184 500

11 MAX ANDOVER c       11      0 0 3   308 473     72 090

12 POOCHAI c            5      2 2 0   250 000    707 500

13 GIMEHEAVEN SISU c    8      1 3 1   229 000    451 000

14 LET'S DANCE D.E. (DE) c  7  1 1 0   224 784     52 750

15 DREAM WITH ME N.L. (NL) c 5 3 2 0   220 914    179 637  

16 COOL KEEPER (US) c   6      3 1 1   220 000    778 500

        


2011 (Crop of 2009, total 3382, started 249, 1.3%):


1 DREAMS TAKE TIME c    9      7 0 0   883 000    779 250

2 FASCINATION f         7      6 0 1   868 500  3 200 000 

3 DAIRY QUEEN f         8      2 2 0   452 555          0

4 LILLEN SISU c        11      2 4 2   451 500    578 500

5 GLOBAL OFFSHORE c     9      4 2 0   415 000  1 033 500

6 HERE TO ROCK F. c     8      2 2 1   409 000    179 500

7 QUID PRO QUO c        5      3 0 2   325 000  1 589 384

8 ARNIE KEN g          11      1 3 2   281 250    102 000

9 AMERICAN IDOL g       7      3 0 0   266 250    447 500

10 PIN KRONOS (IT) f    5      2 2 0   244 000      7 595

11 TRISTAN TORO (DE) c  5      3 1 0   231 158     52 492  

12 ROMEO AMOK c         6      1 2 1   202 000    316 000


2010 (Crop of 2008, 3269, started 247, 1.3%):


1 GLOBAL NOBLE c        7      4 2 0   855 000    362 000

2 OASIS BI (IT) c       7      3 3 0   608 449    498 000  

3 GO GREEN PELLINI c    7      5 0 0   418 000    390 000 

4 RUSTY DUST (DK) c     6      3 1 0   394 138  1 139 788

5 DAVID SISU c          7      3 1 1   378 300    702 500

6 LOOKSLIKE A FACE g    6      1 1 2   330 000          0

7 DEESSE D'INVERNE f    7      2 2 1   287 500    144 200        

8 ULIXORIO* (FR) c      5      1 0 1   250 149   Exported

9 GLOBAL NOVA* f        8      3 2 1   228 500    795 673

10 TIFFANY VALUE f      7      3 0 1   224 700     69 900

11 ONLY KRONOS* (IT) f  5      3 1 0   212 915 ITA€88 569

12 REX AMOK g           4      2 1 0   208 000          0

13 DONTTELLMEWHATTODO* c  6    2 1 1   207 200    158 500

14 ELSA TOOMA f         5      2 1 2   202 500    361 400



2009 (Crop of 2007, total 3687, started 333, 1.6%):

1 NOAK L.B.* (IT) g     8      3 1 0   729 626FIN€163 469

2 RAJA MIRCHI c         7      5 0 0   710 000  3 435 000

3 SONG GLIDER f         9      4 2 2   600 000     24 375 

4 AMOUR RAPIDE c        9      4 1 2   487 500    516 796 

5 NEVER* (IT) f         7      3 1 1   402 079ITA €83 645

6 MAHAGONY* f           6      4 1 0   265 000    163 600

7 GOLDSHOE ELINA* (FI) f  10   4 2 1   262 669 FIN   €830

8 KING OF THE MOOR* (US) c 3   2 1 0   230 000   Exported

9 VÄSTERBO FACE IT* g   9      1 3 2   225 000    634 620

10 CAVIAR DE VIE (US) c 8      1 1 0   214 282     84 700



2008  (Crop of 2006, total 3909, started 259, 1.0%):

1 SINOU MADRIK (FR) c   8      2 3 2   655 238    830 390

2 ZIMBA BOKO f          5      3 1 1   612 066    330 870

3 VESUVIO ÅS* c         6      2 1 1   425 013FIN€242 921

4 TURBO VIKING* c       7      4 0 2   410 000    683 900

5 JUGGLE FACE c        12      6 0 1   362 500  1 100 000

6 DIGITAL CHIT CHAT f  10      0 5 0   362 500    100 000

7 GLOIRE D'INVERNE f   10      2 2 0   335 000     66 814

8 GLOBAL LIGHTNING g    7      4 2 0   330 000    100 000

9 NOVELTY ÅS f          6      1 0 0   317 717  1 197 573

10 LINDY'S PHOTO f     10      4 1 0   238 000     98 000

11 CALYPSO SUND f       9      2 2 2   215 000     27 500

12 BARON LUX g          7      3 0 1   212 000          0

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Note: Some of the horses that were exported could not be documented for their earnings as three-year olds; instead data for total earnings included if available.

Sources:

SWE: https://www.travsport.se/wicket/page?115

FIN: http://heppa.hippos.fi/heppa/horse/HorseBasic.html

ITA: http://www.gaet.it/

References: 

Håkan Persson, "2-åringar, födda 2006," (in Swedish): http://www.stallbredbyn.se/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=543:2-aringar-foedda-2006&catid=19:traeningslaera&Itemid=172

Interesting view from the US-side: www.harnessracingupdate.com

Write to the author under: euret@live.com


2014_04

© Nikolaus Matzka 2014–2017