Michael Pizzolla’s ValueCapping Rant: Post Belmont Shocker

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From The Desk Of Michael Pizzolla

June 8, 2014 7:17 AM

Las Vegas, NV

Dear ValueCapper and Friend:

Well, the Triple Crown is over, and once again, it was disappointment for those who were attempting one of the most difficult feats in all of sport.

Tonalist ran a fine race, Joel Rosario rode him masterfully, and the Reversal from the Peter Pan produced a very nice exacta.

For those of you familiar with my work, you know about the concept of the Fulcrum. Interestingly, Tonalist was the Fulcrum in the Belmont. Also Chrome was the Fulcrum in the Kentucky Derby, and missed by a few ticks being the Fulcrum in the Preakness.

It’s remarkable how so simple a tool can be so effective. I’ll have more to say about that in the coming weeks.

For those who asked, although I was invited to the Belmont Stakes, I wound up not making the trip this year. I didn’t want to mention it before the race, but one of my dearest friends, golf buddy, and pillar of the Las Vegas business community passed away on Wednesday.

Watching the NBC coverage, the crowd and energy at Belmont looked amazing, and part of me wanted to be there.

There was one thing that shocked me though.

Steve Coburn, one of the owners of California Chrome was interviewed after the race. Not only did he not congratulate the connections of Tonalist, he went on a rant calling those who did not run in all Triple Crown races ‘cowards’.

He would make it a requirement that only colts that ran in all three legs of the Triple Crown be allowed to claim that title.

His tone, his apparent anger, the attitude that has been called ‘sore loser’ was unfortunate.

What would we do with future Triple Crown winners under that scheme? Put an asterisk by their names?

Sir Barton, Gallant Fox, Omaha, War Admiral, Whirlaway, Count Fleet, Assault, Citation, Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Secretariat took on all comers and prevailed.

The Triple Crown is coveted not because it is easy, but because it is hard. The Belmont is the toughest of the three, in my opinion, a true test of a champion. California Chrome, like so many other very good colts, just could not get it done.

The pace was relatively slow early, 24, 48-and some have criticized Victor Espinosa for not taking the lead. I have stopped second guessing jockeys, especially one that seems to have such a good record with a particular horse-in this case he won 6 straight races since getting the mount on the colt, including the Derby and Preakness.

So, I figured that it was just the disappointment of the moment that caused Mr. Coburn to vent. That he’d calm down after a night’s sleep and think better of his diatribe.

I was wrong.

This morning, he doubled down on his comments, comparing the unfairness that California Chrome faced in the Belmont to a child in a wheelchair playing basketball against him.

I’m not kidding.

You can watch it for yourself here, it’s 5 minutes long and shocking:

Forgive me, I don’t mean to be harsh, but the name of his racing enterprise, Dumb Ass Partners, is apt.

Thanks for taking this Triple Crown journey with me, and I hope you’ve gained some insights about the ValueCapping approach to investing at the race track.

I’ll talk to you soon,

All the best,


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