Horse running through field

Alan: Jack has no choice

By Roger Lyons

I couldn’t presume to account for the latest histrionics coming from the Porter-Rogers pillbox (“An Opportunistic Approach?”) , but I can only suppose their nick rating service isn’t going as well as they expected–this, based only in part on the fact that Jack calls me every other day or so with exuberant reports of how many new eNicks accounts have been opened since the day before yesterday, not to mention the new stallion enrollments, which are posted for all to see.

Apart from the overall tenor of spitefulness and mean-spiritedness that pervades Alan’s remarks about Jack and myself–and, yes, he makes it personal (words like “stupid,” “disingenuous,” etc.)–there is something even more deeply troubling and of much broader interest than the venom he spews in that post, which, after all, he and Byron have done before and without much effect.

Alan pounces on a recent post at Jack’s “Who’s Hot” blog, in which Jack correctly and appropriately distinguishes his eNicks nick rating system from Alan’s on the issue of measurement. Jack’s post was occasioned by Bill Oppenheim’s Jan. 6, 2010 TDN column, in which Bill expresses skepticism about basing assessments of breeding methods on the number of times the method has been tried, or “opportunity,” which is what Alan’s nick rating system does. Jack joins Bill in opposing that approach, with the following:

“They’ve been using it as their main selling point and knocking WTC’s eNicks system because we don’t do it that way. Well, there’s a reason why we don’t. They just haven’t figured it out yet.”

Alan sees his opportunity and strikes, thus: “to be able to truly assess opportunity, one has to have access to comprehensive database of known foals, runners or starters, and their results, such as the database of the Jockey Club Information Services. . . .” Alan is building his argument: that the only reason why Jack agrees with Bill is that it serves vested interests. After all, Jack doesn’t have access to the JCIS database, but, surely, Alan doesn’t mean Jack couldn’t have access to the JCIS database if he thought he needed it. Read on.

Alan goes on to say:

“They don’t do things the same way because, they don’t have access to a database that gives them all foals and starters bred on a cross. Thus, they are forced to make a virtue out of a necessity.”

Forced? Well, as Alan knows, TOBA allows its publication, The Blood-Horse, to refuse Jack’s advertising even though that doesn’t conform very neatly with the TOBA mission statement. In that sense, Jack’s company is “forced” to advertise elsewhere. As it turns out, though, a lot of advertising The Blood-Horse would gladly accept is also going elsewhere.

But my impression has always been that, unlike The Blood-Horse, JCIS is willing to be everybody’s strategic partner, and understandably so. The very legitimacy of The Jockey Club–as proprietor of the official registry and source of breeding information–is at stake in offering equitable terms of access for all. Yet, Alan seems to be suggesting that his nick rating service has some form of exclusive use of that information. How else could he be so sure that Jack doesn’t really have a choice? If Alan is right, then it’s a concern for everyone.

2 comments to “Alan: Jack has no choice”

« Previous post Next post »