Friday, February 13, 2009

Thoroughbred exercising with EPM

Notice huge differences between this chart and the previous post regarding a stakes winner. This is a half mile breeze in a $15,000 claimer where her maximum heart rate reaches 201bpm, far below her normal mark of 221bpm. Also there is no clear peak of HR with speed, rather a flat response with early rise of HR before strenuous effort - and poor recovery after the breeze ends.

Now, I cannot tell the difference between poor fitness and/or illness or injury - but in this case we knew she had won over $100,000 in her career and was reasonably fit, but suddently couldn't break from the gate or make more than a middling move.

Confusing, never dead last, but middle of the pack with $12,500 claimers at Churchill, and middle of the pack with the $5000 crowd at Hoosier. Her exercise rider could find nothing amiss, great. 

Her training center is in a very rural area, and knowing that EPM is commonly transmitted by wild animals like possums, we order a blood test. No EPM here. Probably need a spinal tap, but that seems a lot of trouble. So we start her on EPM meds anyway with the owner's blessing.

Voila, 3 weeks later, with very little training due to weather, she wins a 6F effort by 3 easy lengths, at this point she is halfway through her medication. Another 3 weeks pass by, another win at 6.5F, this time by nearly 5 lengths with nary a touch of the whip.

I realize that EPM is commonly overdiagnosed as a reason for poor performance, but in this case the 6 week medication for the disease improved this mare a whopping 2.5 seconds in a 6F race, or approx. 12 lengths!

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