Good read by Andy Beyer in the Washington Post today. And Frankel actually is so good that in the picture above, he won by 12 1/2 lengths when he wasn't even entered in the race. Word is that the Breeders' Cup will award him the Turf and Classic crowns if he just sends a lock of his mane to Santa Anita. (Honestly, that hair might still finish top-5, it's definitely beating Alpha).
He brings up several points, all of which are valid and interesting: Drug use; Peaks and Valleys; and Keen Acquisitions by Europeans. Well, use of drugs is its own entity and I am not touching that here. Euros did make some unbelievably good purchases to bolster their stables in the 1970s and on, stealing terrific runners, sires, and broodmares from the sales in Lexington.
But the best point, and one that is mentioned, but somewhat overlooked by Mr.Beyer, is the cyclical nature of the industry. US racing was the more dominant in the 1970s with terrific once-in-a-generation horses like Secretariat and Affirmed coming to the track in quick succession. I'm sure then, as we see now here in the states, the Euros were decrying their focus on turf racing on why they were behind the Americans in great horses, et cetera, et cetera.
The bottom line is this: it works in cycles. The major European bloodlines all have American roots right now. Like Beyer said, Galileo, Montjeu, Poliglote, and High Chapparral are by Sadler's Wells (USA). Danehill is by Danzig (USA). A major influence in European racing is Nureyev (USA). A myriad of stallions in Japan are by Sunday Silence (USA). You can go down the list and see direct and obvious American influence in nearly every dominant Euro bloodline. (On a related note: USA! USA! USA!)
50 years ago, you would see the same heavy influence of Europeans in American champions as you see now in European Champions. Just take a gander at Citation. Heavy on the French up top and on the Brits on the bottom.
Are there problems in the US with the market? Yes. Are incentives way out of whack to provide sound, competitive horses? Probably. Have I talked about my dislike of 2 year old racing? Yesterday. Do I think sprint races should be de-incetivized by the Jockey Club? Absolutely (I just can't find where I actually wrote about that). So it's not perfect here stateside by any means.
But eventually, Coolmore (or insert whomever here) will bring what appears to be a good, but not great, stallion prospect here from the Old Country and he will blow up the breeding shed. He will be the next heir to the crown of Great Sire that has been passed between Northern Dancer, Mr. Prospector, and all the way back to Lexington. And things will get better, guaranteed.
Oh, and Andy, Ghostzapper was indeed awesome, but so was Curlin. You kinda forgot about him.
For a good read on the subject of imported sires, check this out, from the defunct Thoroghbred Times.