Thursday, December 31, 2009

Vet Exams, Soundness, and Horsemanship

Recent pic above courtesy of the Paulick Report who had a piece this week about the 2 year old star Looking at Lucky and how he was passed over at a Keeneland sale by many because of a bone chip showing up in his xrays.
With traditional subjective, qualitative measures - many failed to realize this one's potential. 'Horsemanship' became the cloudy reason for either taking a chance, or passing on this equine athlete.
In my book, 'horsemanship' would be defined as taking ALL AVAILABLE DATA in regards to the animal in question before deciding on whether or not said bone chip would be a problem in his future development.
Ideally, one could hook up this colt to a heart rate/GPS monitor during a gallop, take blood lactate measurements before/after/during the workout, and/or submit the horse to an easy treadmill workout to collect further data.
Comparing these objective and quantitative numbers against other 2 year olds gleaned from around the world could definitely help the Horseman pin down whether or not Looking at Lucky was worth the risk.
All of the above testing can be done for under $100 and could be the deciding factor that turns a $40 investment into a $40 million one.

That is quite a nice Return on Investment I would say!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Finally a top trainer gets the surface question right..

I've been saying in this space for nearly a year: You cannot maximize a horse's potential in the Derby by racing and training strictly on synthetics prior to the big day. You can still win the race if you have the best horse - Pioneer of the Nile came close, but it's FAR from an optimal scenario.

Witness Bob Baffert and Looking at Lucky:

Likely Eclipse winning 2 year old has won 5 of 6 starts out West, all on synthetics. He will be rested and then prepped twice before the first Saturday in May, but BOTH ON DIRT!

Thanks goodness BB has figured it out, training/racing this fantastic colt on synthetics at 2, then changing to dirt at 3. Let's hope he doesnt just ship East for the races, but holes up somewhere like CD with a dirt training surface.

I don't care which surface you prefer, I don't care which is safer for a horse (infrequent breezing will hurt 'em all) - all I care about is winning races.

Perhaps at some point a 'name' trainer will breeze 2x a week and win the big one - so the copycats will follow - then we'll see our breakdown percentage drop nationwide.