Saturday night at Penn National, 7-year-old Strapping Groom (below) was reported as “broke down after the wire” and vanned off. Initially, there were conflicting reports on his status, but because this was a successful horse (multiple GS winner) breaking in a substantial race ($200,000), the Daily Racing Form saw fit to offer an update: “Strapping Groom, the winner of the Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga in 2013, suffered a broken bone behind his right knee and will not race again, but he could have a career as a stallion, trainer David Jacobson said Sunday.”
Now, here’s what I see: Had Strapping Groom been a claimer in a cheaper run, not only would there have been zero coverage in the DRF (or anywhere else), but in all likelihood he’d no longer be with us. And as misfortune would have it, on this, we have an easy compare and contrast: The day before, another Jacobson horse was vanned off a racetrack – 9-year-old Cherokee Artist in an Aqueduct claiming race. Cherokee Artist is dead. Perhaps his injury was worse, but then again, perhaps not. To me, it seems at least equally probable that this pair’s respective fates were decided by relative stud value. Would that surprise any regular readers of this site?