Friday, June 7, 2019 at 11:41 am |
Jim McIngvale at his Gallery Furniture | Patty Wolfe
By Bill Finley
The always innovative owner Jim McIngvale announced Thursday that a $100,000 bonus will be paid to the offspring of any son or daughter by his sire Runhappy (Super Saver) that wins an unrestricted maiden race at Saratoga in 2020, when his first crop turns two. McIngvale said that while there are still a few more minor details that need to be ironed out, he expected the same bonus plan will be in effect for the 2020 Del Mar meet. The TDN caught up with McIngvale to learn more about the unique scheme.
TDN: You’ve said before that the sport needs more bonuses to help support owners. Can you elaborate on that?
JM: Being an owner myself, I know it takes a lot of money to play this game. Fortunately, the purses at a lot of venues are going up. If someone can win our $100,000 bonus, that’s a lot of money and it will hopefully help the breeders and consignors selling the Runhappy yearlings at the upcoming yearling sales and also help put more money into the pockets of the owners and trainers. It’s a tough business and most all of us in horse racing need ways to make more money.
TDN: Presumably, this will help his first-crop yearling prices at the upcoming sales.
JM: Obviously, we’re going into uncharted territory with this. If it increases the prices of his yearlings, and I think it will, I’ll be thrilled. Maybe on some of the really good ones we’ll see a significant increase in the price they sell for. We might give out zero. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen. We could out also give out $1 million or $2 million. You never know.
TDN: If you did have to dig into your pocket and give away $1 million would you be ecstatic or would you think, ‘maybe I overdid it; that’s way too much money to be giving away?’
JM: I do a lot of sports promotions. I did one with the Astros in 2017 when they won the World Series. I had to give $10 million in refunds to our customers as part of the promotion when the Astros won the World Series, but I was happy to do so. If I have to give away a lot of money because of this bonus I will be thrilled because it will mean these are very good horses and they have hit the ground running.
TDN: What sort of feedback are you hearing about the Runhappy babies?
JM: We’ve got family that work with our horses and they live in Lexington and they talk to people all the time about the Runhappy yearlings. Everyone is excited about them and they say they look really good. He had a lot of traits. Speed, stamina, his lung capacity and his incredible intelligence. Hopefully, he will pass those on to his offspring.
TDN: How many do you have yourself?
JM: Four yearlings and six weanlings.
TDN: In order for a 2-year-old to win at Saratoga or Del Mar they normally have to be on the precocious side as opposed to horses that won’t blossom until later. Do his yearlings look like they will be precocious enough to win in July and August?
JM: Runhappy didn’t run until December of his 2-year-old year, but that was more of a case of us not managing him as well as we could have. He could have run in June, July or August. I think a lot of his babies will be ready early. Runhappy was very speedy himself and I think these horses will hit the ground running. I am hoping to make a lot of owners, breeders and trainers very happy and bring more excitement to this great game.