With a foot of snow and 4 foot high drifts in our pastures, it seems strange that folks have asked me for a 2018 racing season update .............. right? Nevertheless, here you go.
We are down to 2 Minnesota Breds for the 2018 Minnesota racing season. AJ's Angel (Astar Thoroughbreds Stable) and Twin Cities Magic (Astar Lindquist Stables) are training well at Hawthorne as top tier trainer Gary Scherer has worked them progressively longer at 3 furlongs, 4 furlongs and 5 furlongs. Gary will work them 6 furlongs this week and then blow them out with a harder 3 furlong work the week after that.
Gary works them slowly early, though their times have been in the top half of horses working on those days and distances, to prep them. We also know, as do most people, that the Minnesota track is no place to prep horses unless you have no choice. Not only is the weather poor early in the season but the aches and pain suffered at the hard and fast track are not acceptable. In addition, according to the MRC 2017 Vet report, equine fatalities and injuries doubled last year.
After over a decade of pretty heavy Minnesota involvement and attending most race days at our season table, we have cut our ties and declined to renew our table and memberships. We once ran upwards of 50 starts and 10 horses in Minnesota each year, and we are thankful Gary continues to train for our much smaller stables considering the fact that we decided to drastically reduce our "Minnesota" racing stable footprint.
I pray Minnesota folks develop the wisdom and honesty to distinguish occasional action and propaganda from results. Results are often hidden or rarely mentioned. Humorously ignored in 2017 reports and minutes from most Minnesota horse organizations was the fact that only 76 mares were actually bred in Minnesota in 2017, which was even lower than the 80 I estimated many months ago on the illustrated chart. That number of mares bred was the lowest number, by far, in over the last two decades and reflected a shocking 42% decline from 2016. Foaling also declined with only 218 foals reported in 2016, the most recent Jockey Club year in the Minnesota state fact book, which was the lowest number in the last 4 reported years and a 12% year over year decline! Oh, and the fact that equine fatalities and injuries doubled in 2017 seems to have also been omitted from, "pat themselves on the back", horse organizational reports and minutes.
In closing, we also bred two stakes winning mares to Mr. Z. and Bayern in Kentucky this year, and plan to have a winter farm near Louisville before next winter, so we can avoid next year's Minnesota blizzards. Haha.
Dave Astar is a race horse owner, stallion owner, breeder, 40 year business executive, and 50 year handicapper.