Decline of stamina in our racing program has impact in shed

14 thoughts on “Decline of stamina in our racing program has impact in shed”

  1. I know we all sound like geezers, but it does take much of the fun out of racing, losing that typological variety that made the TB such a fundamentally athletic horse that could carry both speed and depth. It’s not just a decline in stamina but a decline in versatility that would make Varola roll over. So to speak.

    Now, I guess, for my senior citizen discount . . .

  2. I would argue that a respect for stamina is more than geezerosity, brethren of the turf. Some of the best traits of the breed are tested by distance racing, including tractability, mental soundness, courage, and durability.

    In addition, there are biological qualities that can be inferred by excellence at distance racing. Included among these are excellent mechanical qualities of stride and high efficiency of the cardiovascular system.

    And the qualities of the top staying Thoroughbred are vibrant within the breed and only need a fulsome canvas to be writ large for all to see. That requires a racing program that allows staying stock to have plenty of opportunity, not just a handful of races at a couple of tracks, and a training program that respects their great qualities, rather than trying to cram square pegs into round holes, wrecking most of them.

    Evening gentlemen,

  3. Excellent observations indeed!!

    What we need is the Breeders’ Cup to take the bull by the horns and announce that beginning with 2012 or ’13, the Breeders’ Cup Classic is being lengthened to a mile and five-eighths (with the Marathon lengthened to two and a quarter miles). That change all by itself would force major changes in the way horses are bred as it would force trainers to suddenly learn how to properly train horses to go the longer distances while at the same time also have major residual effects, including:

    The Jockey Club Gold Cup being returned to 1 1/2 Miles, with other major stakes likely following suit in being lengthened to 12 or 13 furlongs in the process.

  4. I remark on this issue of “bone, blood, and bottom” at Frank Mitchells blog, 29 May 11, commenting on the Iroquois Chase, three miles, twice around the weeds, and across eighty feet of altitude change, won by a Dynaformer gelding this year. While the bell curve in population genetics will make it all but impossible for the breeders of sprinters to eliminate stamina and bone from the breed, as indicated above, the frequency of these genes are decreasing to the point that producing a router of class already seems to mean picking through slow sprinters with the predictable result.
    We have seen the same shift in racing pigeons; high $ youngbird futurities, racing and training expenses, and rampant medication have all but eliminated the old Mark I Model 0 signal pigeons that would deliver the mail through storms of fire, lead, and steel, regardless of weather. The same thing has happened to every domesticated breed of working stock once it became a toy, including the cavalry mounts that carried full sized men, best three out of five, in four mile heats. The final indignity is not sprint races, but “Instant Racing;” do you suppose they figure that if they get drunk enough, the losing plug they bet will win in the video? I am more at home discussing “heirloom corn” with the new micro whiskey distilleries here abouts. Instant racing! Gawd Almighty, perhaps I should forget thoroughbreds and take up drinking “Tennessee Tanglefoot” or whatever Frank accussed me of imbibbing when I announced that I was rooting for Animal Kingdom in the derby.

  5. Am I pushing a hot button or merely making a connection everyone else here has already made in their heads when I say this is why the US is engaging in such a knock-down, drag-out fight over eliminating Lasix? Breeding bleeders is clearly part of the issue, but I suspect the overwhelming proportion of training focused on sprints plays a bigger role. Advocates for the discontinuation of furosemide point to the absence of its use in Europe, but until Americans start training the way they do there (and subsequently adding more races of distance), the argument for the necessity of the drug will be hard to contend. I worry that racing in the US will have a difficult situation forced upon it in within a few years, if it does not have the foresight to look across the pond. And for what it’s worth, Animal Kingdom was my choice for the Derby, based almost exclusively on stamina.

  6. Speaking of Animal Kingdom, I think that enough of us are finally coming
    to our senses. We got destroyed in the Kentucky Derby and realized that if we support the Mineshaft’s, Dynaformer’s and Henrythenavigtor’s then we’ll be okay..I guess the problem is that it’s a big if.

  7. Well said, Sid (and everybody else). Sad to think that it’s been 22 years since we saw a horse win 2 graded stakes going 12f on dirt in one year: Easy Goer.

    Also, please allow me to point to what I’ve written on this subject:

  8. Noting the opinion of “Thoroedge” about american vs european training, I checked to see if any american trained colts had placed in the derby. None. Mostly I found lines of Northern Dancer.

  9. Don’t forget to throw in the extinction of handicapping. When was the last time you saw a grade one horse in North America tote more than 126 pounds to post?

    Ever since the majority of farms started breeding to sell instead of breeding to race, the quality of horse racing has gone down. Instead of demanding better quality stock, the industry has adapted to the inferior stock by shortening the distances, lightening the weights, abusing medicines and using less strenuous training regimens.

    It’s all about the money $$$

  10. The only way that the culture for speed would change is if a foreign bred routing horse wins the Triple Crown. Shame is the only tool.

  11. To Mark Walker: the last horse to tote more than 126 lbs was Zenyatta @ 129 lbs. Funny that I consider her the last great routing horse. Yes, she didn’t run too many 10 furlong races but how many female in history ever ran 2 open grade 1 race @ 10 furlongs and twice in arguably the toughest race in North America.

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