There’s no other sport like horse racing for a number of reasons. No other sport so completely embraces betting–while sports leagues like the NFL and NBA hypocritically condemn betting as it drives their ratings horse racing understands the relationship. That’s why Kentucky Derby odds are so easy to come by. That’s not the only difference. It would be almost unheard of for a major sports team to be sold immediately before a championship game but it’s common for a top level race horse to be sold just before or after the Kentucky Derby or other major race. That’s what happened with contender General A Rod was sold to Skychai Racing and Starlight Stables earlier this week.
General A Rod is a mid level contender in the 2014 Kentucky Derby. As of Friday afternoon he was a 27/1 betting choice. He turned in a good workout at Churchill Downs in preparation for the Derby and with race favorite California Chrome likely to be overbet there will likely be more betting action on General A Rod before post time. General A Rod took second place in the Fountain of Youth and finished third in the Florida Derby. He’ll continue to be trained by Mike Maker and will be ridden by jockey Joel Rosario. Veteran horseman James Shircliff is a partner in both Skychai Racing and Starlight Stables and had these comments about the General A Rod purchase:
“I am proud of my involvement with both Skychai and Starlight Racing Partnerships. I have been interested in acquiring this horse for some time and I’m thrilled we were finally able to come to terms with Mr. Rodriguez.”
Jack Wolf is now the managing partner for General A Rod:
“Jim and I go back a long way. We owned claiming horses together back in the mid-80’s. Jim’s been talking to these people about General a Rod since January and we [Starlight] got involved six weeks ago or so.”
General A Rod’s trainer Mike Maker said that the timing was something of a surprise but then again, that’s the way things go in horse racing:
“I’m a bit surprised, but I’ve been around the game long enough not to be surprised. I haven’t been given any of the details of the arrangement just yet. Right now I’m just going to keep training this horse as I have been to run in the Derby on Saturday.”
The Kentucky Derby will take place Saturday afternoon at Louisville’s Churchill Downs race track. General A Rod will be one of 19 horses to compete in the race which is the most important race of the year for three year old thoroughbreds. It is the first of the Triple Crown races which also includes the Preakness Stakes in mid May and the Belmont Stakes in early June.