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Win'em and EQB News

Please see "NEWS" items

on right hand side of Home Page of this web site.

06/10/11

click for details-news thru June 2011-EQB leading buyer at May Timonium 2 yr old auction: click here to see major industry magazine article about EQB, and Paulick Report interview

News item #1:

EQB was the leading buyer at the

May Fasig-Tipton Midlantic

2 year olds in training auction

held in Timonium, Maryland. 

See the Blood-Horse magazine

article from the June 4th issue .


NEWS ITEM 2:)

Click on color link below to see

the cover article in the

Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Magazine

on the EQB story.


Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Article


Adobe PDF format, 5mb


Other Recent News --

PAULICK REPORTS' EQB

interview follows:

[ BY THE WAY -- Use link immediately below to go
to a different recent cover article about the story
behind EQB that is in the August edition of the
Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred magazine. ]


A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH TO THE SALES

(9/22/10)

By Ray Paulick


PAULICK REPORT FORUM brought to you


by BREEDERS' CUP
:


Jeff Seder, who formed EQB (or Equine Biomechanics and Exercise Physiology

Inc.) in 1978, isn't cut from the same cloth as most of the people shopping

for racing prospects at the Keeneland September yearling sale. Harvard

educated (undergraduate, law school and business school) and a longtime

business executive and licensed attorney, Seder has brought a scientific

approach to the business, spending decades compiling and analyzing massive

volumes of data related to Thoroughbred physiology and performance. His

scientific work is complemented by EQB's vice president, Patrice Miller,

whose background as an accomplished horsewoman has made them a formidable

team.

Together, they have helped elevate such racing operations as George

Strawbridge's Augustin Stables and Ahmed Zayat's Zayat Stables with their

purchase recommendations of horses such as champions or Grade 1 winners

Eskendereya, Forever Together, Informed Decision, and Zensational.

With that success, they have picked up even more clients, and during the

current Keeneland sale rank among the leading buyers with 23 purchases for

$3,625,000, an average price of $157,609. Seder took time to discuss EQB's

recent growth and his and Miller's approach to yearling and 2-year-old

selection with the Paulick Report. He also hinted, after showing interest in

buying the Maryland Jockey Club racetracks out of bankruptcy, that he is in

the market to purchase another major track.

Question from Ray:
EQB has been around for decades, but it's not until lately the company is among the leading buyers at both 2-year-olds in training and yearling sales.
What was the turning point?

Answer:

We have done research every year since 1977, spending a great deal of time

and money with some of the best minds in the relevant medical, engineering,

and biomechanics specialties at the best universities. So, every year we've

gotten better, and more determined. Somewhere it reached a critical mass of

data, technology and horsemanship - probably around 2006.

You know we had successes in the past like Madcap Escapade, and were

underbidders on Monarchos as a 2 year-old, but it never seemed to lead

anywhere. We finally got a client who let us sign the tickets, with enough

money to actually buy the horses we wanted-though NOT sale toppers-and who

would leave us alone and let us do our job. That was George Strawbridge, and

we got him two Eclipse champions (Informed Decision and Forever Together)

from the first five purchases.

Before that our recommendations had always been filtered through layers of

pedigree advisors, trainers, farm managers, racing managers, etc. There's a

Middle East proverb that the horse created by a committee is a camel. Then,

in 2008, Zayat Stables let us form a section of his stables with him, and

that led to our nine Grade 1 stakes wins in 2009, including Eskendereya,

General Quarters, Informed Decision, Forever Together and about 20% graded

stakes wins from the auction picks that met all our criteria.

Question: Besides Strawbridge and Zayat, who else are you buying horses for presently?

Well, I can tell you that of the 23 hips we just bought at Keeneland, none

were for either of those clients you've just named. And, for whatever reason

or reasons, many clients don't want their name used. So, I've learned to let

them use our name if they wish, and otherwise to be discreet. But I can tell

you that we work for a significant share of the top stables one way or

another now.

Question: Stride analysis and heart measuring are two important components of your selection process. Obviously with 2-year-olds you get a chance to analyze stride while a horse is breezing. How does that come into play at the yearling sales?

We analyze the walk. We've learned traditional and non-traditional skills for doing that.

Question: You and your partner, Patti Miller, have said heart size is an important element in assessing a horse's chance to succeed on the racetrack but has to be weighed with other factors, including overall size, temperament and conformation. How big a role does pedigree play in your analysis?

First, it's not just heart SIZE. It's a lot more complex than that, and it's

not one type of measurement of the heart, it's several, and that has to be

tightly in the context of a huge data base so you only compare it to other

horses of the same sex who are also similar within 30 days of chronological

age and within a tight weight and height comparison as well.

Second, PEDIGREE is important, just less important than more reliably

predictive sports medicine physical variables. That's the legacy of our work

in the early '80s with the U.S. Olympic Sports Medicine Committee on various

sports like luge, bobsled, shot put, and figure skating. Pedigree is really

a set of variables used to predict the probability of what you'll get

before the horse is born. After the horse is a physical specimen standing in front

of you, there are more reliable measures. And the fact that something may

have been unlikely in a horse because of its pedigree should not overrule

the observation of an individual who has that quality anyway.

And, of course, you have to be mindful of pedigree in determining market

values.

Question: Is heart size something that improves a stallion or broodmare prospect's chances at success? Where do genetics come into play on this?

Recently there's a lot of hype out there about equine genetic testing. But

horses are not fruit flies that can be used in genetic studies through

multiple generations on lots of offspring. The research data just isn't

there. Mares have one foal a year, rarely by the same stallion, and then

racing results are dependent on many, many outside variables, other than

physical characteristics, that garbage up the predictive value of what data

does exist. And even the physical characteristics required are multiple and

complex, hardly the stuff of one gene or two.

A real scientist's answer to your question on how genetics come into play

here, based on the research and data available now, is, "We don't know."

But we've seen mares with foals all of whom had poor hearts or all of whom

had good hearts though. And some stallions throw a lot more big hearts than

others. We would not breed using a mare or stallion that had a poor

cardiovascular scan result.

Question: Since forming EQB you've compiled an enormous volume of data. Can you touch briefly on some of what you've collected over the years and what you've learned that's had the biggest impact on your business?

Yes, we've collected more sports medicine data than anyone else in the

business. Our data is collected according to rigorous protocols designed by

leading university scientists. We sort and analyze it using PhDs in

statistics and SAS academic university statistical packages. And we've been

doing that for 30 years. That data includes 2-D echo ultrasound scans of

many heart variables and digitized slow motion videos of racing speed

workouts of real racehorses at major racetracks around the world. It covers

over 20 years and 50,000 horses, AND every detail of every race they ran

thereafter for many of those. Our published studies in major veterinary

scientific journals are available for download from our website

published, especially on techniques that did not work -- that some of our

competitors still sell.

What we learned that had the biggest impact on our business: Perhaps the

biggest impact from all this on our business was simply reaching a critical

mass of enough great horses we had looked at to have actually learned

something useful.

Question: You've said it's taken decades of trial and error and millions of dollars to become an "overnight success." What are some mistakes you may have made along the way, and what advice can you give to someone who is just getting into the business as a Thoroughbred buyer?

Again, you've asked two questions here. Perhaps our biggest mistake was

vastly underestimating how long it would take for the industry to stop

resisting and ridiculing what we were trying to do-and how much it would

cost us to really be able to do it. The next biggest blunder was trying to

use pure science without pure horsemanship or racing industry experience -

Patti Miller dug us out of that ditch.

Upon reflection, relying early on one "great scientist" or another was a

disaster, as was thinking some legendary horseman knew everything there was

to succeed. That wasted millions in horses and research, and many years.

There's no shortcut to industry experience and competence. And, no one

person in this game knows it all. Another mistake is falling in love with

some new technical finding and blowing its importance out of proportion.

It's more important to know where the hole in a horse is, than whether it

has the greatest something or other. And you have to be careful to avoid

letting theoretical knowledge overrule actual observation, or you get stuck

and don't learn any more.

Question: What does your stride analysis tell you about the different surfaces in racing today? Are some horses more inclined to excel on synthetics, dirt or turf because of their stride?

We have learned a great deal about the different synthetic surfaces and the

types of horses appropriate to each, and I really don't know how to simplify

an answer on that, except to say there really are "horses for courses."

Synthetic tracks are less tiring to most horses than traditional dirt

tracks, and often stabilize the hoof movement on landing more rapidly. This

increases the biomechanical weight bearing stance time per step, which can

result in either more stride efficiency and power, or more soft tissue

injury "pulls," depending on the gait of the horse.

Question: EQB spent a great deal of time looking at track safety and surfaces What opinion do you have of the different synthetic tracks? Do you think they are here to stay?

When a good new synthetic track is built, a new base is built under it. The

main safety problems with tracks that we identified many years ago with the

Morris Animal Foundation and M.I.T.'s pioneering Dr. George Pratt, were the

inconsistencies in the depth of the cushion, and in the hardness of the

base, caused mostly by different moisture content (drainage). And the dirt

roads below racetrack cushions all had potholes. For example, the ground

penetrating radar now available found stones, hard and soft areas, and

different cushion depths in the recent report on Santa Anita --- where the base

apparently was not done well.

So, new and modern bases can improve a track's safety regardless of the

cushion surface then put over them. Therefore, we really have no scientific

data of which I am aware on what difference the "surface" by itself may

make. That being the case, I won't speculate on the long-term future for new

surface types. But, we are pretty sure a new base with reliable,

maintainable, even drainage, and no pot holes, is a big help.

Question: What have you learned about the strength of the current market during the first eight sessions at the Keeneland September yearling sale? Are higher purses in states like Pennsylvania-and the promise of VLT money enriching New York's purse structure-bringing new investors into race?

We are looking for the home run horse for people who can afford to play that

game. That puts us into rare air, and maybe makes us a poor judge of the

overall market. Personally I have found that the type of really good

individual horse we pursue brings a profit to the sellers in any market. As

to "new owners" coming in, and why, I don't know about their motivations and

financial models. They seem to often be romantically smitten by racehorses,

and equally attached to some trainer or agent as their guru, so rarely do we

get a client like that for a nuts and bolts guy like me.

Question: What is your overall outlook for the current health and future of the Thoroughbred industry?

Apocryphally, Freud is supposed to have said that the definition of insanity

was doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

That is a lot of what follows the hand wringing going on about the obvious

troubles in horse racing. There's probably some consolidation going on in

the industry in the medium term regardless, so everyone will need to be more

selective in the midterm.

However, since real estate is at a low point in its cycle, and so is racing,

I believe there is a real and powerful opportunity for a "change agent" to get

into racetracks now and prosper. It's a great, complex and invigorating

game, and a magnificent iconic animal.

My background, as you know, includes law and MBA degrees, and stints as a

successful turn-around CEO in textile manufacturing and in a retailing

chain. From that platform, we brought technology and a new business model to

the bloodstock game, and we've made it work for us. The last two years we've

aimed those types of data based technologies and business strategy

development modes at how to run a racetrack, and we think we've come up with

some breakthroughs. Rather than blab about them, we tried to buy the

Maryland tracks, and were disappointed when the auction was canceled. Now

we're preparing for another run at a major track. If we succeed, we'll let

our actions do the talking.

Copyright C 2010, Blenheim Publishing