Some evenings when I watch races on-line for fun, I look for horses that were stakes stars at Florida tracks and have fallen into claiming ranks at second-tier tracks in other states.
Examples have included Dream Maestro, who hit the board in six graded stakes in South Florida, and Watch Me Go, who won the 2011 Tampa Bay Derby.
Last night, I found one with a recent history that makes you feel sad. That horse is Argentine Tango, who finished second in three six-figure stakes races at Calder in 2011.
He finished a never-threatening seventh in last night's fifth race at Mountaineer Park in Chester, W.Va. It was six furlongs on dirt with a $6,300 purse and a $5,000 claiming price.
Argentine Tango. a non-gelded 8-year-old, was sent off at 63-1--the second-highest odds in the ten-horse field. He finished 8 1/2 lengths behind the winner Jupiter, a 10-year-old gelding.
Since 2014, Argentine Tango has raced 30 times with one win, one second and three third place finishes.
He is an example of a horse that has lost several steps and is now basically filling out fields. He apparently has no breeding value, even though his paternal great grandsires are Mr. Prospector and Alydar.
We're not familiar with particular reasons why this horse is still running. But we can expect to see more cases like this, partly due to declines in foal crops following the 2008 recession.
Argentine Tango was bred by Jacks or Better Farm in Ocala.
In 2011 he finished second in the Frank Gomez Memorial at Calder.
Then came the Stallion Stakes series where he finished second in the Dr, Fager and Affirmed. His stablemate Fort Loudon won those races. Stan Gold trained both horses for Jacks or Better.
Argentine Tango's 2012 season included a fourth place finish in the Palm Beach (Grade 3) on turf at Gulfstream Park.
Data on Equibase indicate that Jacks or Better sold Argentine Tango in early 2015. After several claims he wound up in West Virginia, where he is now trained and owned by Timothy Gilbert.
Argentine Tango has raced 56 times--with four wins, eight seconds and six third place finishes, Last night's check of $63 raised his career earnings to $219,940.
I am putting Argentine Tango on a watch list and will report on his next race. Let's hope he can hit the board at least once more before he gets a well-deserved retirement.