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Pronzini
Aug. 14, 2009, 12:26 PM
If the horse has been off the track a year or more, is he really still an off the track TB or just a TB?

Glimmerglass
Aug. 14, 2009, 12:44 PM
Just my opinion but I'd only use the OTTB designation/descriptive if a horse has departed the track life in any form of participation without the intention of ever returning. The horse may be in the process of finding a second career in a variety of activities. However a TB that is simply turned out, some R&R, and away from the track doesn't make him/her an OTTB.

Take a horse like Just As Well - an ex Augustin/Geo. Strawbridge Jr runner. He had soundness issues and Strawbridge sold him free to his trainer Jonathan Sheppard. He spent 2 years away from the track largely out in a field. However don't call him an OTTB as he's after efforts this summer one of the best older turf runners in the US today ;)

A gift horse that keeps on giving (http://www.racingformonline.com/news/article/106143.html)


The book on the 6-year-old Just as Well was virtually closed three years ago after he lost his first four starts. Racing for his breeder, George Strawbridge, the colt was an unsound 3-year-old maiden with little hope of ever making anything of a sterling pedigree that read A.P. Indy out of a Nureyev mare. Strawbridge did receive some words of encouragement from Sheppard, but only in the loosest definition of the term.

"He said all he needed with two years off," Strawbridge said. "That's a fairly unique attitude. Jonathan just wants to give every horse every opportunity, and he swore to me that this horse had ability. I told him if that's how he felt, I'll give him to you."

So he did, and Just as Well was turned out at Sheppard's Pennsylvania farm.

"We'd had him at New Bolton and Cornell, and they'd found some mystery problems we treated, but there was no guarantee he would ever make it to the races," Sheppard said. "Still, I couldn't very well take a horse owned by George Strawbridge and turn him out in the back 40 with five or six other broken down steeplechase geldings, in the snow and the ice in winter for four months. It would have been hard to explain if he'd slipped on ice and broken a shoulder or something. But since I owned him myself, that's what I decided I'd do."

Just as Well became a horse again, living in a large field with only a turn-out shed for shelter. His luxuries included grain morning and afternoon and as much hay as he wanted to eat.

"Otherwise, they were out there basically surviving," Sheppard said. "And for some reason, living in cold weather like that helps these horses with ailments. But you never know. I just brought him in after I thought he'd had enough time. We started putting the tack back on him, and he kept doing fine."

On May 18, 2008 - one month shy of two years after his final race for Strawbridge - Just as Well reappeared under Sheppard's colors to win a maiden race at Delaware Park. Then he won again, followed by several more good turns in allowance company. This season, Sheppard raised his sights and pitched Just as Well in graded stakes, but there was nothing but near misses until his one-length victory in the Arlington Handicap last month.

"When he won that second race back, I called George right away," Sheppard recalled. "I told him I was rather embarrassed that his horse had won again. I didn't want him to hear it from someone else. You know how people are around the racetrack."

Ah, yes. The racetrack. Undoubtedly there were stories floated that Hall of Famer Sheppard had sandbagged one of his dearest friends and longtime owner, then hidden the colt away for the better part of a year before sneaking him back to the races for a righteous score (Just as Well was 6-5 breaking his maiden, 6-1 in his nonwinners other than).

"George said he was very happy for me," Sheppard said. "He said I was nice enough to take him, and that he could have ended up in a horses-in-training sale, sent to Charles Town, and ended up hamburger."

So don't call Just As Well an OTTB :D

Laurierace
Aug. 14, 2009, 12:49 PM
I think OTTB is a sort of badge of honor for a horse that raced so once and OTTB, always an OTTB. Kind of like being a veteran.

vineyridge
Aug. 14, 2009, 02:30 PM
I think OTTB is a sort of badge of honor for a horse that raced so once and OTTB, always an OTTB. Kind of like being a veteran.

Agreed. And it does say a lot about a horse's previous life in very few letters.

Frog
Aug. 14, 2009, 08:08 PM
Yes, once OTTB, always OTTB! Off the track means he was once on the track, and that will never change!

Pronzini
Aug. 14, 2009, 10:41 PM
I'm not sure if I understand that. What prompted the question was another thread elsewhere talking about an OTTB rescue. It turns out he has apparently been off the track for 2 years. I didn't want to raise this in her thread because she sounds like a nice person who did the right thing and he was pretty thin so the rescue stuff is probably pertinent. But after a period of years to me he's a TB the same way an event horse retired after a few years isn't an ex eventer but someone's pasture puff.

Isn't it what the horse is now that matters?

Blinkers On
Aug. 14, 2009, 10:44 PM
Agreed. And it does say a lot about a horse's previous life in very few letters.

also agree

Laurierace
Aug. 14, 2009, 10:50 PM
It can be used in a good way to describe a horse who did a job on the race track at some point in time. I think you might be reacting to the way some other people use it in a negative way as if it could possibly explain whatever happens with or to the horse for the rest of his life. Like a horse who has been off the track a decade that suddenly starts bucking under saddle has nothing to do with whether he raced or not. Likewise you can't say a horse is in poor condition now because it was a race horse if its been off the track for months or more.

Pronzini
Aug. 14, 2009, 11:00 PM
It can be used in a good way to describe a horse who did a job on the race track at some point in time. I think you might be reacting to the way some other people use it in a negative way as if it could possibly explain whatever happens with or to the horse for the rest of his life. Like a horse who has been off the track a decade that suddenly starts bucking under saddle has nothing to do with whether he raced or not. Likewise you can't say a horse is in poor condition now because it was a race horse if its been off the track for months or more.

My point exactly and I think more likely than not it is used that way as though racing is a trauma that a horse never ever gets over.

Personally I think a lot of "issues" people have with "OTTBs" are really with inate TB traits. These horses were bred to be courageous and sensitive athletes. They are fabulous horses and personally my favorite breed for a lot of reasons but not always the best choice for people looking for a pet on the cheap or a beginner horse (whether they concede that they are beginners or not).

Also horsemanship in different racing barns runs the gamut just like in dressage barns. Down that row you might have a yank yank pull pull trainer who has never gotten a decent score past second level. The next barn over could be Hilda Gurney's or Lendon Gray's. They both do "dressage" but they are not the same by a country mile.

Christa P
Aug. 15, 2009, 10:43 AM
I'm not sure if I understand that. What prompted the question was another thread elsewhere talking about an OTTB rescue. It turns out he has apparently been off the track for 2 years. I didn't want to raise this in her thread because she sounds like a nice person who did the right thing and he was pretty thin so the rescue stuff is probably pertinent. But after a period of years to me he's a TB the same way an event horse retired after a few years isn't an ex eventer but someone's pasture puff.
Isn't it what the horse is now that matters?

Once a horse has done something successfully (or not - hence most OTTB :))
It is ALWAYS part of thier past IMO and could help predict reactions in future situations. A current dressage horse might be an ex-eventer (or vise-versa) and that won't change no matter how long it has been.

How many people on this board have gotten a horse with unknown history but that seems to really know thier job only to find out that the horse was well schooled in the past, but that past was lost due to lack of records/ passing of information.

Christa

vineyridge
Aug. 15, 2009, 01:31 PM
I have two ex racing TBs, and I consider the OTTB a badge of honor. One had 58 starts and retired sound, so I know she is tough as nails. The other is 26 and raced until he was five. He used to root on runs in the hunt field before he was retired. I've heard from other people that many, many ex racehorses do that. Whether it actually had anything to do with him being an ex-racer, I will never know. But I'm still proud to say he's an OTTB.

Mali
Aug. 15, 2009, 01:55 PM
...(well, once really- the 2nd time he stopped on the track), but he'll always be referred to as my "OTTB" :D

evans36
Aug. 15, 2009, 01:59 PM
Isn't it what the horse is now that matters?

I think this would be a great argument, except that horses have a great memory... especially for traumatic events or routines that lasted a while. What they are now has everything to do with what they have been - it informs how they need to be maintained, how they need to be trained.

Granted, in some cases the "OTTB" might not really matter if the owner/trainer situation was great and the horse wasn't pounding the pavement. But in a great many cases, especially rescue cases, it does.

I also think it's great advertising - I like telling folks that think track horses are bonkers that the huge 17 hander that's toting around that 5 y/o like a saint is an OTTB. It gives me the opportunity to dispel prejudices and maybe have some folks look at a TB/OTTB that otherwise might have been only looking at quarter horses, etc. because of stereotypes.