Quote Originally Posted by dryrunguy View Post
I cannot believe what just unfolded. (Don't worry, nobody died or got hurt.) This has to be one of the most intellectually defective owner/trainer decisions I have seen in my limited time following thoroughbred racing closely.

But to tell the whole story, first I must go back to the 2002 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. It was there that a yearling filly who went on to be named Marylebone was purchased for a hefty $725,000 by a guy who used to be a fairly prolific and successful owner, Michael Tabor. Todd Pletcher was hired to train her.

Marylebone won her first race in her debut at Saratoga as a 2-year-old. In her next race, still as a 2-year-old, she won the Grade 1 Matron Stakes at Belmont Park. After that, she only raced four more times and never finished higher than second, earning $147,000 in a short racing career. She delivered her first foal in 2007.

As a broodmare, Marylebone has had modest success. Her 2010 filly, Bow Bells, earned $92,000 as a racer. Her 2012 colt, Chiltern Street, fared better, earning almost $240,000 on the track. Both were sired by Giant's Causeway--a top sire.

Fast forward to 2016 when the decision was made to breed Marylebone to the new Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah. That mating produced a colt now named Sambam. At some point, that colt was purchased privately rather than at public auction by two men, Len Rosemen and Jack J. Armstrong. I know nothing about them except that they never purchased a racehorse before as a team and, given the pedigree, they almost certainly paid six digits for this colt with very lofty expectations.

Fast forward again to today's 4th race at Parx in Bensalem, PA north of Philadelphia. I will sometimes scan racing cards looking for first-time starters with exceptional pedigrees. Sambam jumped out at me for a few reasons. First, the pedigree obviously caught my eye. But then I read the racing conditions. Sambam was making his debut as a 3-year-old, which means it took longer than usual to get him in racing condition, and the 4th race at Parks was a maiden claiming race.

This meant that, without ever running a race, Sambam was not only making his debut; he was also for sale.

The claiming price? A measly $10,000.

I immediately think, "Man, this horse must be really, REALLY bad and have zero talent if the owners and the trainer (Scott Lake, a fairly successful trainer who clearly is not an idiot and does well with first-time starters) have already given up on him and are willing to sell him for $10,000." After all, that had to be a fraction of Sambam's purchase price--not to mention what else they had invested in him (feed, board, training, vet bills, etc.).

The race starts. Sambam breaks poorly and immediately is near the back of the pack (a field of 11 horses running in mud). But he does well to make up ground on the backstretch and makes a sweeping move on the turn to pass a bunch of horses. He finishes the race a rapidly closing third. Had the race been a mile instead of 3/4 of a mile, he probably would have won his debut.

Fast forward again about 30 minutes later. The news gets posted on Twitter. One trainer put in a claim on Sambam, purchasing him for $10,000.

The connections (owners, trainer, etc.) sold this horse they certainly purchased for six digits for a paltry $10,000 and a third-place purse of $1,650. The buyer? Carlos Soto, a fairly successful trainer in his own right.

Sambam could have debuted in a maiden special weight race (not for sale) to see what he might do in a real race. If they hated him that much, they could have run him in a different maiden claiming race for a price of $50,000 or $75,000, hoping to get a larger portion of their purchase price and expenses back. In spite of slow works, someone would have taken the chance.

But no. They dumped this horse in the lowest-level maiden claiming race that Parx offers.

And I guarantee you... Carlos Soto is already drunk with glee (if not literally). Because not only does he have an impeccably bred horse in his stable at a dirt-cheap purchase price; he also has a horse that, given the pedigree and regardless of racing results, would easily command a $5,000 (or larger) stud fee if he elects to go that route.

Intellectually defective doesn't even come close to describing how dumb this was.
SAMBAM UPDATE: Sambam just finished his second race--first race off the claim on July 6. He stretched out to 7 furlongs (7/8 of a mile) for this one. Track was dry and fast.

He won by a head, in spite of nearly getting mugged down the stretch when another horse lugged out into Sambam's path, forcing the jockey to check for a second. Many horses would have stopped running after that. But Sambam got his momentum back quickly, darted inward to get away from the 4 horse, and passed two more horses to win.

This race was a Waiver Maiden Claiming race. I cannot see the waiver conditions (the "option" to not have the horse up for sale might only be available to Pennsylvania-bred horses in the race with all others being required to be eligible to be claimed--Sambam is a Kentucky-bred). If he was for sale, the claiming price is $20,000--that would be in addition to winning a purse of $12,600. I'll edit this post once Equibase publishes it.

EDIT: From what I can tell thus far, Sambam was NOT claimed, though he WAS for sale for $20,000. So Carlos Soto claimed this horse on July 6 for a paltry $10,000. He races him today, August 5, and wins a purse of $12,600. It costs roughly $3,000 a month to properly maintain a thoroughbred. So Carlos Soto almost has all of his original investment back in 1 month.