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'Racing in the US being cancelled would be the biggest frustration for me'

Industry figures tell us how they are managing in self-isolation

Chad Schumer: concerned about the mental stresses caused by lockdown
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Kentucky-based bloodstock agent Chad Schumer tells us about how he is managing – both personally and professionally – with the worldwide lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus

How is life ticking over for you in lockdown in Kentucky?

I'm at home in Louisville, so really pretty well. I'm lucky to be healthy and able to obtain most necessities (shout out to Total Wine for their deliveries!)

We've seen on the news that some in the state are protesting against the lockdown. What are your thoughts on the restrictions?

I think we as a population need to do everything we can to stop the spread and get through this. 

It’s not fun obviously, but these steps are necessary to curtail the virus. I find the protests comical. But, sadly, most of the population is more concerned with some sort of political statement than staying personally safe or considering the health and wellness of others.

Have you been managing to do much business with some key racing cancelled in the US, along with nearly all sales in the US and Europe this spring being postponed or scratched?

Surprisingly, we have stayed very busy. We're currently working on a number of stallion deals as well as nomination sales for our clients over here.

Racing being cancelled would be the biggest frustration for me. With a number of tracks here clearly demonstrating it can be conducted without fans safely, I’d think more tracks would be allowed to run.

In the news we hear a lot about physical dangers and the need to quarantine. However, there are mental stress issues as well. With no other sports running, at least people would have something to watch, perhaps wager on, and enjoy. From a financial standpoint, it could be a real boon to the industry.

There's a lot of talk about online sales at the moment, after the success of Inglis Easter in Australia. What are your views on buying untried horses remotely if needs must?

The idea of bidding online is very appealing to me and I think many clients would feel the same way. There's no substitute for being able to inspect a horse in person but at least this would cut down dramatically on the numbers needed to conduct an auction.

Do you think there will be any positives to come out of the crisis eventually? 

People tend to come together after a crisis but, as we're all aware, this generally dissipates over time. The crisis may very well change life as we know it but humans are very adaptable in general. It remains to be seen how it all plays out.

While I would expect the sales to be off a certain percentage in the fall, I do feel it won’t be as bad as some think. Any return to a semblance of normality will be welcomed if not enthusiastically embraced.

On a personal level, how are you keeping yourself busy during lockdown?

I start every day doing a FaceTime workout with my personal trainer. Then there are lots of walks, cooking and wine drinking.

Any film, TV or book recommendations to share to get through quarantine?

HBO’s The Outsider [available on Sky in the UK] was fantastic. I'm also a big fan of Ozark on Netflix. I've watched a few movies that were surprisingly good: I See You, Miss Sloane and A Simple Favor.

Which Schumer Bloodstock Agency graduates are you most looking forward to when racing gets back into full swing?

Having a European Classic contender in Kenzai Warrior, who we purchased as a yearling for Johnny Collins, would be top of the list.

We bred a horse we hope will be a Group contender in Acquitted and we also bought the dams of Classy Moon and Dontaskmeagain, so are very much looking forward to their three-year-old debuts.

Swedish champion Victor Kalejs is one of our favourite purchases as well - he only cost us $10,000. Two that we have in training, Atacamena with Simon Crisford and Clarksville with Hiroo Shimizu in France, both look nice prospects.

Over here in the US, we have the Grade 2-placed stakes-winning mare Saracosa competing at the highest level - she was a close fifth in the Apple Blossom last week - as well as a Pivotal colt, Lascari, who we’re very high on.


Read more Life in Lockdown Q&As with industry figures

Tom Blain: 'Trade will be down but all we can do is roll with the punches'

Ted Voute: 'We'll need to strengthen the way we showcase young stock'

Simon Kerins: 'We'll embrace any format that will help get horses sold'

Barry Lynch: 'The industry has often bounced back as quickly as it dipped'

Tim Lane: 'Working with horses does you the world of good in these times'

Jerry Horan: 'My sister butchered my haircut. I think it was payback'

Violet Hesketh and Mimi Wadham: 'Social distancing isn't hard - just lonely!'

Henry Beeby: 'Nick Nugent and I have entered a beard growing competition'

Charles O'Neill: 'ITM will be ready to go when the markets open up again'

Freddy Powell: 'We're improving our online sale platform in case it's needed'

Bumble Mitchell: 'Online sales could be tricky for outlying studs like mine'

David Stack: 'I had to give a garda a lesson about the birds and the bees'

Colm Sharkey: 'I've been torturing myself trying to sort out my golf swing'

Rachael Gowland: 'I didn't realise how much I loved racing until I couldn't go'

Sam Hoskins: 'I've been listening to endless Cold War podcasts on my tractor'

Niamh Spiller: 'Video calls are very important to keep everyone motivated'

Jamie Lloyd: 'Staff have had all their own gear labelled, even wheelbarrows'

Micheál Orlandi: 'The stallions are flying and that gives me great hope'

Richard Venn: 'The French are in a good position to get back racing sooner'

Tim Kent: 'It's difficult to plan when we don't know when racing will resume'

Russell Ferris: 'Weatherbys had contingency plans that we activated at once'

Grant and Tom Pritchard-Gordon: 'Inglis Easter has kept us busy since January'

Peter Hockenhull: 'The social side of meeting and chatting to breeders is gone'

Polly Bonnor: 'We've fulfilled every feed order, including all our exports'

Richard Lancaster: 'We're fortunate that some Shadwell staff live on site'

 

While I would expect the sales to be off a certain percentage in the fall, I do feel it won’t be as bad as some think
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