Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Super Saver's Owners Won't Sell At Bargain Price


It doesn’t look like there will be any great deal to be had on the breeding rights of Super Saver.

In fact, if the horse wins the Triple Crown, its owners could be as isolated as one could be against the economic downturn that has not surprisingly hurt the horse racing industry.

Calvin Borel atop Super Saver races to the finish line to win the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 1, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky.
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Because its owners, Winstar Farms, are big enough that they wouldn’t have to sell a stake in Super Saver’s breeding rights at 2010 prices.

“We’ll most likely stand Super Saver here,” said Elliott Walden, vice president and racing manager of Winstar Farms. “Unless, that is, we get an offer we just can’t turn down. We do care about profitability.”

As I mentioned on Friday, a Triple Crown winner is worth about half of what Big Brown would have been worth in June 2008, or $40 million. That’s because stud fees have fallen drastically.

But if this horse can win the Preakness and the Belmont, and become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978, Winstar doesn’t have to rely on another farm offering its best deal at this time if it has confidence that Super Saver’s progeny will come through.

If Super Saver can do it, not only could Winstar make money on Super Saver, but they also happen to have the breeding rights to Bluegrass Cat, which finished second in the 2006 Kentucky Derby and could be called Super Saver’s first cousin. Throw in Super Saver's dam Supercharger, which Winstar also owns, and it’s quite the family play.

Walden said he has already received calls this morning to inquire about the breeding schedule of Bluegrass Cat.

Winstar entered 2010 cutting the stud fees on four of its six stallions, including Bluegrass Cat, which fell from $40,000 to $25,000. It also dropped the price on the popular Distorted Humor from $150,000 to $100,000.

Perhaps a deal could come along for Super Saver that would be appealing if Winstar wanted to hedge its bets before the Belmont. The owners of Big Brown sold the breeding rights to Three Chimneys Farm on the day the horse won the Preakness for a reported $50 million. It turned out to be a good deal for Big Brown’s owners, as he finished dead last in the Belmont and, thanks in part to the financial crisis, his stud fee opened at $65,000 and is now at $55,000.

But the economics of how that deal turned out doesn’t bode well for a future deal and luckily for Winstar they don’t have to worry as much about what they can get for Super Saver now.

Questions?  Comments?