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Chuck Zacney Cash Is King Stable

Wednesday August 3, 2005

Chuck Zacney is managing partner of Cash Is King Stable, which owns and races 2005 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Afleet Alex. 

Zacney founded The Sirrus Group, a regional medical billing company based in Norristown, Penn.

Afleet Alex, a $75,000 purchase as a 2-year-old for Zacney and fellow Cash Is King partners Bob Brittingham, Joe Judge, Joe Lerro, and Jennifer Reeves, has won eight of 12 starts - with two seconds and one third - and has earned $2,765,800.

Join Chuck here as he answers your questions about the past and future of the horse that captured the hearts of racing fans everywhere.

MODERATOR:
With all of the concern for Alex and news about his condition, let's get right to our visit with managing partner Chuck Zacney.

Tomball, TX:
What will be the training regime for Alex to ensure a complete recovery to bring him back to his full potential?

Zacney:
His period of stall rest is scheduled to end by Friday. Then, he'll be able to walk around after that, and we hope to have him back on the track in two weeks. Alex has always responded well to training, so we are anxious to see how he feels when he gets back in the swing.

Paris, KY:
What so far has been the hardest challenge associated with Afleet Alex emotionally and financially?

Zacney:
I think finding out abut the was the hardest thing so far. Something like that makes you look at him less as a child and more as an independent being with his own needs, and you have to separate your romanticism about Alex the racehorse from the reality of what's best for the horse, period.

Eureka, CA:
Just wanted to say how sorry I am that Alex was injured. I'm glad you guys keep such keen eyes on him though, I'll look forward to seeing him later in the year, or next year. Now that Alex is going to be out for most of this fall, are you guys thinking of taking him to Dubai?

Zacney:
Thanks for the kind words.  As always, Tim has the keen eye and noticed something was wrong.  He deserves all the credit of detecting it early.

Sugar Land, TX:
Thank you for taking our questions. I follow Alex so closely I feel almost as though he were my horse. Do you know if the screw used to repair his fracture will be removed at any time during his racing career or if it will remain in his leg? Sincere best wishes for his speedy recovery.

Zacney:
The screw will be staying in.  It will make the leg stronger.

Monument, OR:
Best wishes for a speedy recovery for Alex. I've really enjoyed watching his plucky efforts this year. Congrats on his gutsy wins this spring.

Zacney:
Thanks, we appreciate the support.  

Philadelphia, PA:
I would like to form my own Horse Racing Partnership. Could you give me some advice on how to go about it? Or maybe give me some insight on how yours started?

Zacney:
Start with a lawyer and account to form a correct partnership.  Second and most important, you need a good horse person.  One that can pick out horses from sales or claiming races.  Third, you need a point person to communicate with the trainer and the other partners. Good Luck...

Lexington, KY:
Congratulations on your success! Can you elaborate more on what it means to you to not only have success rather early, but to enjoy your "lightning in a bottle" with your friends, as business partners?

Zacney:
Sure, we realize how lucky we were.  To get Alex as your first horse was a dream.  But, we were successful with some of our claiming horses.  

Once again, Tim deserves all the credit for our success.

Paris, KY:
What so far has been the hardest challenge associated with Afleet Alex emotionally and financially?

Zacney:
I think finding out abut Alex being hurt was the hardest thing so far. Something like that makes you look at him less as a child and more as an independent being with his own needs, and you have to separate your romanticism about Alex the racehorse from the reality of what's best for the horse, period.

New Orleans, LA:
How do you feel about the fact that, in the one Triple Crown race that you lost, the superfecta paid more than the purse?

Zacney:
I would have felt better if I had the trifecta.  That paid over 100K.  Alex ran a terrific race bur Giacamo deserves credit for bringing his A game that day.

Auburn, WA:
Mr. Zacney, with news that superstar Afleet Alex is injured, I am curious to know if Cash Is King Stables has any other horses to watch out for in the future? Also, my 3 year old niece thinks that Afleet Alex is the "best horse in the world". She specifically asked me when she heard my sister and I talking about him being hurt, "Now who is going race for lemonade?" Do you have other horses that support this wonderful cause?

Zacney:
We are hoping for a speedy recovery for 'Alex and have our fingers crossed for the Breeders Cup.  

We have several nice two year olds but its too early to tell how they'll be.  I am going to continue the cause next year to help find the cure for childhood cancer.

Warminster, PA:
How did Alex get his first taste of a peppermint, and what's the story behind it? Do all horses like peppermints?

Zacney:
Tim gives all his horses that treat.  I am finding that most two year olds do not like them but never the case with Alex.

Dallas, TX:
How long do you plan to race Alex? And is it possible that we will see him against older horses in this years' Breeders' Cup Classic?

Zacney:
If all goes well, we are hoping for a prep race then the Breeders Cup Classic.

Bosque, NM:
Though Afleet Alex will most likely be going to Kentucky to stand at stud, has anyone connected with this horse investigated the growing racing picture here in New Mexico? And what bloodlines would you believe would make the best cross to AA when he goes to stud?

Zacney:
No one has contacted us from NM.  I am not a breeder so, unfortunately, I will not know what horse would be best.

Anderson, SC:
Won't you always feel there is a danger in running Afleet Alex now?

Zacney:
The health of Alex always comes first.  We will make sure we get everyone's blessings before we race him again.

Brooksville, FL:
Although it's sad Alex is (temporarily) sidelined, we all know he'll be kicking butt soon. I was just wondering, what stood out about Alex when you bought him?

Zacney:
His athleticism and maturity.  He was head and shoulders above the other horses at the sale.

Coral Gables, FL:
EVERY DAY there is news of another equine retirement. I've come to call it the "retirement du jour." What are your thoughts as to why we are seeing so much of this? How can allowance horses and claimers run every few weeks without injuries, yet horses of superior pedigrees are constantly experiencing injuries?

Zacney:
Good questions, I think it happens with all horses but the big names get the Press...

Chicago, IL:
Let me say how much I love Afleet Alex. He is really a great horse. but I was wondering if you would consider retiring him early due to his injury if he doesn't perform well when he races again?

Zacney:
It's too early to tell.  We are hoping he makes it back to the track...

Sapulpa, OK:
I've enjoyed watching Alex race since his two year old year. If he recovers fully from this setback, and continues to perform well during his four year old year, would you consider running him at five as well? I think that he's struck a chord with most racing fans, and it's such a pleasure to watch him run. Thank you.

Zacney:
He is truly poetry in motion.  At this point, we are waiting for clearance from the Ortho surgeon and will evaluate our options.  We have our fingers crossed that he will continue to race but I can't see him racing as a five year old...

Tampa, FL:
Has Alex been in any pain or discomfort from the surgery? Has Jeremy been up to see him?

Zacney:
According to the Doctor, his pain and discomfort has been minimal.  I have been away and am not sure if Jeremy saw him.

Winston-Salem, NC:
Do you think other trainers see Tim's methods with Afleet Alex as a horse-specific regime or will it have an effect on the industry as a whole? Should horses be given more of a life outside the box stall at the track?

Zacney:
I think it's more horse specific.  Tim read Alex perfectly and saw he loves to train.  After that, Tim turned him into a well conditioned athlete.  I think it's a matter of the trainer reading the horse.  I would like to see the horse get more time to roam but that is a trainers call...

Lynnwood, WA:
It always amazes me that no one seems to notice that Alex has Native Dancer and Nashua blood in him. Both Native Dancer and Nashua won the Preakness and the Belmont, but failed to win the Kentucky Derby. Afleet Alex deserves no less than to be remembered in horse racing history as proudly as Native Dancer and Nashua have been. Any thoughts on why this has been overlooked?

Zacney:
Good Question-I am not up on my breeding as well as you are.  I will look into it but not sure why its been overlooked...

Thanks for all your patience...

MODERATOR:
Thanks to all of you for sharing your love and concern for Afleet Alex and a special thanks to Chuck Zacney for taking time to share the latest news on Alex's condition with us.

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