Within Racing, at least the parts that incessantly talk of “integrity,” owner/breeder (with a Derby winner on his resume) Barry Irwin has a stellar reputation. A self-described member of the “hay-oats-and-water crowd” (no raceday meds/doping), Irwin is the proud recipient of the “Equine Savior Award” from a prominent horse rescue. In short, he’s one of the industry’s “good guys,” or so the apologists tell us.
So I read with interest a BloodHorse article Wednesday that says Irwin’s “Team Valor” operation “is phasing out its stable in the United States and will focus on racing in Europe.” Irwin explains: “With what’s going on in America right now, I am not enjoying racing here as much. So I’d rather go to Europe where I can enjoy it.” Or – it’s time to get the hell out of Dodge. But it was this passage that really caught my eye:
“I’ve enjoyed it and I’ve done for it for 30 some years, but it’s reached a point where I’d like my people and me to be in the business as full-time professionals. So the idea is to buy a horse after a start or two, which we have been doing, develop them, and then either sell half of them or all of them for a profit. … I’ve now told people up front that going forward if you want to participate in these partnerships with me that our goal is to sell them and make money. … That’s the bottom line.”
“…our goal is to sell them and make money.”
A sort of template, the article says, is the recently-sold Talk Veuve to Me. “Talk Veuve to Me still has a lot of racing in her,” Irwin said, “but we had some fun with her, made some money, and it was time to sell her so we can do it again with another horse.”
“…we had some fun with her, made some money, and it was time to sell her so we can do it again with another horse.” (By the way, Irwin already did this to his aforementioned Derby winner, Animal Kingdom, who was “sold to Japanese interests last month.”)
Commodities. Assets. Things. Chattel. Slaves. Racehorses, through the eyes of one of the “good guys.” Vile.