By HandrideDear Members of TOBA & the AGSCThe job of the AGSC is to maintain the integrity of the sales catalogue
:Integrity - an undivided or unbroken completeness or totality with nothing wanting.
Provided this definition, the job of the sales catalogue is to provide all the information needed to make an informed decision when buying a thoroughbred: pedigree, earnings, historical family information including race record of sire and dam.
The black-type was initially used as a way to show (literally; it's easier to read) the races deemed most important by those inside the industry. Black-type became important before the advent of Racereplays.com, Beyer speed figures, and 24 hour cable channels showing horse racing. It was a signal to buyers that a horse had performed well in a race deemed important, a priori. The black-type was the carrot to owners to put their best horses in the most competitive spot with the reward being a supported catalogue page (ie an easier sale, a more valuable horse).
As noted, times have changed, and buyers before buying any horse have most likely seen performances of sire & dam, seen timed workouts, emailed owners associated with other parts of the family, and gotten a full medical write up of the horse. The needed integrity of the sales catalogue is lessened.
However, that is no reason to abandon the cause. This is the job of the AGSC. Maintain the integrity
. I argue that the integrity of the catalogue is lacking, that black-type alone no longer separates horses in the way it used to. The original logic guaranteeing integrity, to get owners to race in tough races for a reward has been lost. I can prove this with a recent example: Hard Spun. He had the pedigree, he had a great race record with solid performances in the Classics and preps, but he didn't have a Gr I win. The connections chose to race him in the Gr I King's Bishop rather than the Gr I Travers. Why? Did they think he was a sprinter? No, because he went in the Classic later. Larry Jones even admitted, "He hadn't won a Grade 1 yet, so this is very good. It's very important for his stallion career to have the Grade 1 under him
." Pure and simple this is the failure of the AGSC and TOBA.
This is the type of thing the AGSC should do something about. The integrity of the sales catalogue is plainly lessened in the above example, and there's a quick fix to all of this: Grading the Grades
Imagine the Gr I Breeders' Cup Classic is worth 1000pts. (100% for 1st, 65% for 2nd, 35% for third, 10% for also ran), then the AGSC could say the Travers is a Gr I worth 400 pts, and the Kings Bishop worth 250 points. Whatever the people at AGSC or TOBA, (or NTRA
, this is how you Take Back Saturday
). All the races remain graded, however the weight of those grades is more acutely defined. This returns the integrity back to the sales catalogue because owners will again be rewarded for taking on tougher races.
The reason why this isn't happening... The reason why this isn't adopted... The argument against... It wouldn't benefit breeders to have 1 singular champion. I vehemently disagree as I think it opens up breeders to label their horses specifically #3, #5, beat #1, #1 3yo turf horse (even though there isn't an Eclipse) etc. The integrity of having a nebulous function determining worth and value is more important the integrity of the sport.