“The latest and greatest is always a big deal. Customers have to have that new iPhone. In the tech world, we make sure to satisfy their needs. It’s the way business works.”

The Ruling Class

August 26, 2018

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The Real Life Ventures and Adventures of Trey and Batman

by Trey Nosrac

Episode 4

We stopped for Egg McMuffins and coffee, my breakfast of champions. We dined alfresco on a round, white, cement table with a blue metal umbrella impaled through a hole in the middle. In a few weeks, I am taking him yearling shopping. I am a semi-pro in the harness racing wars. My new partner from Silicon Valley is a rookie.

My job is explaining myself, a task often attempted but rarely accomplished.

I put down my coffee, looked him in the sunglasses and opened this session, “I got a parable, or maybe an allegory, or possibly a Hobson’s Choice for you.”

He ran a hand over his tidy salt and pepper burr of hair and said, “Fire away.”

“Imagine you just got a diagnosis that you need a very complicated heart valve replacement operation.”

He sipped his black with no sugar and sighed, “Heart trouble? Why didn’t you nickname me R2 D2 so I could just change circuit boards?”

I gave him an eye roll, “You’re starting to sound like me, and that’s not a compliment.”

“You’re infectious, so parable me.”

“Okay, here’s the deal, there are two surgeons who can do this job. Their names are Doctor Newton and Doctor Oldman. You, a digital savant who pioneered the wireless insanity that has infected the world, will start googling and investigating these surgeons.”

“Of course.”

I leaned back and said, “You find that Dr. Xavier Newton is 27 years old. He comes from a long line of famous surgeons, great pedigree. Dr. Newton is a strapping physical specimen who has won two National Rowing championships during his time at Harvard Medical School where, of course, he was top of his class. With great fanfare, he recently began working at the Cleveland Clinic. Members of the medical community view this young doctor as the chosen one.”

He asked, “And the other guy?”

“Dr. Alan Oldman. He is 59 years old. His waistline has expanded, and his hairline has receded. The girls don’t call as much anymore. It happens.”

“So this is about decision making?”

I nodded, “Yeah, my choice is Dr. Oldman. When it comes to the sire of our yearling, I have the same philosophy. My thinking may not be popular, may not be wise, and will cull about half of the possible yearlings on our list.”

He paused, then asked, “You feel that Oldman’s babies will be less expensive? Newton’s will be overpriced?”

“Nope, we are buyers. The price of the stud fee does not matter for us. This rule has nothing to do with money. This is more important than money.”

“Experience, reliability?”

I shot him with my index finger and thumb, “Bingo. Oldman has performed the procedure a thousand times. Newton, with all his promise, is just beginning his career.”

He shrugged and pushed back a little, “The latest and greatest is always a big deal. Customers have to have that new iPhone. In the tech world, we make sure to satisfy their needs. It’s the way business works.”

“Not for me. We have one shot and a smallish budget, I go with a proven sire. The old pro has proven he can make horses, even great horses. The new kid on the block will be the rage, the odds are good that he will have good crops because he will get the top broodmares to fill his dance card, but there is a slight chance that Dr. Newton might not be so great.”

“You want to eliminate that chance.”

I nodded.

He countered, “But that means we are at risk of missing the next big thing.”

“True, but one of Trey’s rules for yearling selection is that until a sire has had a MINIMUM of three racing crops, he does not go on our list of biddable prospects.”

“Is biddable a word?”

“Possibly.”

“An Iron-clad rule in the land of Trey?”

“Let’s call it a pragmatic rule. Buyers with big bankrolls who are shooting for the big time have different rules. Even middle-tier customers often go ape for the newbies. For yearling sires, Trey goes old school.”

“And you’re such a cutting-edge guy with your Hawaiian shirts, gold chains, and semi-mullet.”

I gave him a smirk and continued, “All these ways to pick a yearling makes the game fun for lunatics like me. Everybody has their own ideas on selecting yearlings. You can make up your own rules reading a catalog. You can make your own mistakes. I’m quite good at it.”

“Making mistakes?”

I shrugged, “It’s a gift. There are very few sure things in the harness racing game. In my mind, a proven stallion with a long record of success, regardless of age, is as close as we come to a sure thing.”

“Do you have data?”

“Astoundingly, I do. Take a look at this.” I pulled up the USTA site, tapped to Sire Statistics, and moved next to him so he could see my screen. “See this button? It shows ‘Leading Sires Average Earnings 2018’. This site is huge for me. The best thing is it keeps me away from doing the math. I’m clicking on the link to 3-year old trotters racing this year. See this list?”

He read the display and said, “It looks like Chapter Seven is the best with an average per foal of $28,432. Let’s do it, get one of those.”

“Can’t. That stallion isn’t an Ohio breed sire, none of the top three are. You said you want to race in Ohio. To race in Ohio, we need a sire registered here the year the baby was born. I know most of the Ohio sires by heart. On this list, the Ohio daddies that are doing great are… My MVP, Stormin Norman, Wishing Stone, Manofmanymissions, and Break the Bank K. Those five go on our list.”

He asked, “That’s all we have to choose from?”

“No, click back and then click on leading 2-year old trotter stallion earnings.”

He did.

“Okay, the Ohio Sires on this page are Broadway Hall, Wishing Stone, Full Count, Triumphant Caviar, Manofmanymissions, and Dontyouforgetit. That’s six more, two repeats. These lists can change. Sometimes the sire doesn’t have a lot of babies and the numbers can get skewed, but that’s where we start our hunt. One of these is going to be the father of our yearling.”

“They are all Dr. Oldman’s?”

“I think so. One of them might not have met my three-crop rule. I might add another Ohio veteran or two that are not on the first page of current average earning that might make the cut.”

“So what’s next?”

“We dive into the catalog and start culling the herd to yearlings from these proven stallions that are going to market. When we have that newer, smaller herd, we keep whittling down, including looking at the female side.”

“Using more Trey Rules?”

“Absolutely, we need to have our list before the first yearling walks into the ring.”

“How many will be on our list?”

“Depends on who follows the rules that I keep making up.”

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