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Lookout
May. 21, 2006, 11:27 PM
My local Fox News station just announced their next segment on their sports extra show - is surgical repair the best thing for Barbaro, or is it being done just for financial gain? They so don't get it! :( :sadsmile: :mad:

CrzyCorgi
May. 21, 2006, 11:36 PM
Some people just have no clue!! The media will take a sitution like this a completely turn it around!! I can only imagine what they would be saying had he been euthanized yesterday!! Probably be something like "well he can't run anymore so they didn't even try to save him!"
Some people just make me sick!!!

~Darci~

Glimmerglass
May. 21, 2006, 11:45 PM
My local Fox News station just announced their next segment on their sports extra show - is surgical repair the best thing for Barbaro, or is it being done just for financial gain?

It is likely driven by this article: Philadelphia Inquirer 5-21 "Barbaro reportedly heavily insured" (http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/sports/horse_racing/14636176.htm)


Barbaro, according to industry insiders, was insured. And while that mortality policy's value is unknown, the now-hobbled horse likely was worth close to $25 million after his Kentucky Derby triumph earlier this month.

Note that is speculation on the mortality payoff.

Anyhow, when you factor that he'll cost a great deal for many years to restore him to a condition that breeding is possible the "money" to be made isn't great. And then the rate he commands and ability in the shed is always a bit of a gamble. Roy and Gretchen Jackson are exceptionally wealthy - they don't need the money.

I was thinking the biggest gripe is that he was injured at all. An Lexington-Herald originated article that was repeated across many papers gave racing another (undeserved) black-eye: Lexington Herald Leader 5-21 "Barbaro injury should be call to action for racing industry" (http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/sports/14636054.htm)


Racing better keep looking. Appoint a commission. Launch an investigation. Allocate dollars toward research and development. Never has a sport criticized for its lack of leadership been in such dire need of leadership.

Sorry, but as tragic as this was and also for those before Barbaro and those who are still to be (sadly) injured in the future - it does happen. Horses can step wrong and as fragile but beautiful creatures they can break so easily. Racing doesn't deserve the sucker-punch right now in suggesting the sport isn't trying to make it better when it will never eliminate the inherent fragile nature of horses.

My regrets on the rant.

[note story link corrected to a non-subscriber site]

Laurierace
May. 21, 2006, 11:53 PM
I don't think there is any question that it was done for the potential financial gain. But I also think that it was worth a shot. If no one made any money in this business, it wouldn't be a business. As long as he can be kept comfortable he should be given every opportunity to recover in my opinion.

adamsmom
May. 22, 2006, 01:07 AM
I don't think there is any question that it was done for the potential financial gain. But I also think that it was worth a shot. If no one made any money in this business, it wouldn't be a business. As long as he can be kept comfortable he should be given every opportunity to recover in my opinion.

No question, especially since the Jacksons can afford to try to save him.
I know, with my horses, cost is never an issue, even when I might have to eat pork n beans for years to pay for it. But there are others who don't feel the same.

adamsmom
May. 22, 2006, 01:14 AM
this is an excellent article by Pat Forde: http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/horse/triplecrown06/columns/story?columnist=forde_pat&id=2453381

I think he raises some valid points about the polytrack surface.

Kenike
May. 22, 2006, 02:58 AM
oh good grief....*sigh*

I hate when non-horse people try to throw in their .02. Do they hear us throwing out our opinion on Nascar, or poker? grrrr

shiloh
May. 22, 2006, 04:35 AM
Well, at least you got that much. All we had to hear about was Barry Bonds and the next step in his deification. The Barbero story was a throwaway at the tail end of every newscast I saw AFTER a blow by blow recounting of every play in every baseball game that was played anywhere. Morons....
And Fox - well, anything to stir the pot, anything to be SENSATIONAL. More idiots....

TB or not TB?
May. 22, 2006, 04:43 AM
Okay, this is a really stupid question, but I thought race horses couldn't be insured? I understand that for breeding they can get a policy, but I've always been under the impression that they could not be insured for racing purposes? :confused:

Would someone be so kind as to enlighten me?

Equilibrium
May. 22, 2006, 05:36 AM
I have to say this subject was going to come up and racing again is going to be in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. If you look at other sections of the board you will see all to clearly that racehorse are not the only horses getting hurt badly. Look at the foals and young horses with broken necks. I've just recently had a filly get a head injury. Horses get hurt no matter what racing, standing in a stable, or outside eating grass. When it happens racing people want to condem the sport.
As far as insurance goes, you can insure racehorses, but the premiums are very high and a lot of people don't inusre them. At least you could when I was still in the game. How much you pay I have no idea.
Anyway, I just hope Barbaro is alright at the end of this because that's all that really matters.
Terri

Kenike
May. 22, 2006, 05:54 AM
Don't feel bad, Shiloh. Same with the local news here, so you aren't alone. The only reason I've been able to follow anything with this is because of the knowledgable COTHers and DirecTV (again, thanks to other COTHers who have it, as well, and taught me about a new-to-me channel!). I'll forever be grateful.

I agree with the horses in all circumstances in life that get hurt, WE all know that, but the general population of non-horse people don't have a freakin' clue (hence my previous post). I think it's just that this one was VERY public and dramatic....unlike with Royal Caliber where most people weren't watching as it wasn't a highly publicized event (sad to say, but most people either don't realize horses are part of the Olympics, or they don't care and think riding isn't a sport), nor was it even mentioned on any news outlet.

Anyone taking bets as to when PETA throws their opinion into the ring?

M. O'Connor
May. 22, 2006, 08:04 AM
It's FOX. Their mission statement is to stir the pot.

The horse did NOT undergo surgery because of any potential financial gain to be made. The Jacksons (who, by all accounts have been involved in racing for 30+ years) steadily refused all increasingly lucrative offers of purchase for the horse since he began racing; gain was clearly NOT their aim.

This is a privately owned/bred horse; the Jacksons have no partners to answer to, and ample resources with which to finance the attempt to save his life, and in the process, perhaps expand the boundaries of veterinary orthopedic surgery.

Laurierace
May. 22, 2006, 09:03 AM
They did not put him through 8 hours of surgery and recovery because they want him to be a pasture pet. They saved him in an attempt to pass on his legacy. Without question, if he had been a gelding, he never would have been loaded onto the ambulance. But that is not a bad thing, he deserved a fighting chance at survival.
As far as unsurance goes, you can only get mortality on race horses. Once they stop racing you can insure them for the potential value of the stud fees and major medical etc.

411
May. 22, 2006, 09:29 AM
Without question, if he had been a gelding, he never would have been loaded onto the ambulance.

I'm probably being naive, but I'd like to think whether he was gelding or a colt, the owners would have done the same thing. I'm sure they have great affection for the horse, afterall, they did breed him. He's part of the family. If I was fortunate enough to own Barbaro, nothing would bring me more joy than being able to look out the window and see him happily grazing in the pasture, enjoying a long and happy life.

Angela Freda
May. 22, 2006, 09:38 AM
I think another view you can take is what the Drs and staff can learn from this attempt to save him. From all accounts this is one of the worst cases that has been able to go to surgery, and whatever successes or failures they may encounter will help them with future cases that are similarly complicated. That is a good thing, imo. It helps all horses in the long run.

Trees4U
May. 22, 2006, 09:41 AM
The Today Show had it as one of their lead stories. Compassionately done and had an interview with the vet surgeon. He stated that the kind of injuries sustained usually merit putting the horse down. Numerous fractures. They even showed an xray of the leg with the pins in it. There must be at least a dozen- I was shocked. If he makes it thru this, it will be a miracle, i think. Apparently he is a good patient - they referred to Ruffian years ago undergoing surgery and then thrashing so much when she came out of anasthesia, she could not be saved.We will say a prayer for the Matz, Jackson & Prado team, that they do not lose him......

mht
May. 22, 2006, 09:44 AM
When a horse has such a catastrophic injury as Barbaro, and is sent to surgery, the owners are also paving the way to a better prognosis for other horses who may suffer these types of injuries as well. Research is great, but for the surgeons to actually use these skills in "real life" can only benefit the horse world.

DMK
May. 22, 2006, 09:48 AM
oh good grief....*sigh*

I hate when non-horse people try to throw in their .02. Do they hear us throwing out our opinion on Nascar, or poker? grrrr

You mean like when Dale Earnhardt died in that race? Uh yea, I think NASCAR heard an awful lot. Such is the nature of the beast. Racing doesn't get a free pass from tragedy

As crass as some people can be, if even one track pays a bit more attention to track surface and engineering isn't that a good thing?. :rolleyes:

Where'sMyWhite
May. 22, 2006, 10:03 AM
And, what you didn't read in that article that mentioned NASCAR (and to put it, IMO, a slightly different light)... (and I do consider I can comment on NASCAR as I've been a fan for over 20 years...)

The year before Dale Earnhardt Sr was killed at Dayton, 2 other young, up and coming drivers in NASCAR's premier Cup series, Kenny Irwin and Adam Petty (grandson of the great Richard Petty) were both killed in on track incidents. It wasn't until Dale's death that NASCAR got (again IMO) motivated to really dig into the safety issue and start making big strikes toward driver safety.

Unfortunately, it sometimes takes something very publically visible such as Dale Sr or Barbaro to get the sanctioning bodies to sit up and listen. Unfortunately as well, safety is expensive, both to understand how to make something more safe, ensure that the safety in place doesn't have some hidden risk currently unknown, and then implement safety.

NASCARs SAFER walls (sometimes called soft walls) took a few years of reseach to understand them before tracks started implementing them. And, what is rarely mentioned anymore is that each track's SAFER walls are custom designed for each track. I think they do work but it took alot of outcry and effort to get that work done.

I think racing can be made safer, but it still has to be done carefully so as to not risk the lives of horses and jockeys with an inadvertent "improvement" with some hidden risk.

Glimmerglass
May. 22, 2006, 10:07 AM
I'm probably being naive, but I'd like to think whether he was gelding or a colt, the owners would have done the same thing.

Perhaps with these owners, with this much attention on the circumstances, perhaps because they were so close to a state of the art facility, etc

However, all I have to do is look at the freak injury of wynndotcomma in 2004 (http://thoroughbredtimes.com/todaysnews/newsview.asp?recno=43372&subsec=2) who was a multiple stakes winner (and who's death was discussed on this board) to say it just doesn't always come down to money and those opt not to try and move heaven and earth to save a horse aren't exactly monsters either.

Joanne
May. 22, 2006, 10:08 AM
Since this seemed to annoy a few people, I deleted it.

Glimmerglass
May. 22, 2006, 10:16 AM
I think racing can be made safer, but it still has to be done carefully so as to not risk the lives of horses and jockeys with an inadvertent "improvement" with some hidden risk.

I doubt that you can even eliminate all risk and the injury Barbaro sustained was a freak one that just cannot be controlled by the track or rider. Agreed that racing can adopt more safety procedures - Keeneland has for example adopted padded rails and is giving up a dirt track for a polytrack this fall.

What I take issue with is any suggestion that goes to the heart of racing is some underlying suggestion that horses should not be raced which is incorrect and opens the door to a slippery slope of debate.

There has to be sadly a basic understanding that horses will be lost, no matter reduced the numbers are there will be at least one. Beyond that there should be a goal that riders are as safe as they can be, the track is as well prepared as it can be, and anyone injured - man or beast - can be treated with enough skill and humanity if injury occurs.

inca
May. 22, 2006, 10:17 AM
I think unless you have been in this situation (which I have not), it is hard to understand what the Jacksons are going through. Personally, I do not fault them for doing the surgery and trying to save Barbaro. So far, he seems to be coping well and therefore it does not seem cruel to me to try to save him.

However, if they had decided to euthanize him, I also would not have faulted that decision.

It is their decision to make and I trust that they are not going to put their financial gains before the best interest of Barbaro.

Hopefully they will just ignore any bad mouthing by the press and not let it bother them. I'm sure they feel in their hearts that they are doing the right thing.

Hunter's Rest
May. 22, 2006, 10:18 AM
Oh for god's sakes. Another horse earlier in the day broke the gate (not gait) open. Not a big deal. Doesn't often happen but it does occasssionally. The gate has sensors (tied to weight-force) that spring the single door open if a horse pushes hard against it. I heard a 'noise' then B broke out. Bet the horse heard it too and thought 'time to go.' The fact that the gate opened is a GOOD thing, not bad. Imagine his poor smooshed nose if it didn't open fairly easily.
A good novel, gate tampering, but not something that happens in the 21st century. Perhaps a late 1800s thing, though they didn't use mechanical gates then.

Glimmerglass
May. 22, 2006, 10:24 AM
How many horses actually break through the gate like Barbaro?

This was discussed on another thread. The gates are held together by powerful magnets in the interest of the horse and jockey. If the horse was totally locked in a steel box with required release by a lever the consequences could far worse if they couldn't break lose. Think of crossties that should be breakaway.

As for other horses breaking through prematurely - yes it happens. I cited a mare sprinter who did the same thing the day before in a turf race on ESPN. She popped through and then had to be reloaded.

When Tom Durkin (the racer caller for tv; not the same for the Preakness attendees) made the comment how it didn't bode well for Barbaro it truly didn't on a mental level. The same is true for a track sprinter with a false start - it drains that initial burst of energy and puts some doubt into what should be done after reloading. Exceptionally few horses after popping out prematurely in the gate go on to win.

Beverley
May. 22, 2006, 10:30 AM
As for the 'controversy' of whether Barbaro should have been euthanized: It was, as I understand it, a horrific set of fractures that surgeons have never repaired all at once, because usually a horse with that much of a mess is euthanized on the course. There is nothing wrong with trying to save Barbaro for stud if it can be done. Is it cruel to try to save him? That's a question we all have to ask ourselves from time to time, isn't it- do you put a horse through colic surgery for example, which still only has a 50/50 survival rate at best? We do, a lot, because of the hope that the horse has a chance. Same with Barbaro, I can bet his connections will not let him suffer and will put him down if things go south (assuming of course that's ok with the insurance company!).

SuperSTB
May. 22, 2006, 10:40 AM
Bad press- I don't think so but rather frank speculation. There is a level of controversary surrounding the whole incident. I mean the injury is very complicated and the average horse would have been put down and I think everyone can agree to that. With Barbaro going through the surgery- limits of science were pushed so that may benefit future horses. At the same token- I don't think anyone would fault the owners in the least if they put him down.

Track safety- I definetly think there is room for improvement on race tracks- as with any sport. But it's a balance between cost and 'value'. Improving surfaces to reduce injury is a great start. I can see the hesitation to implement it- from tradition, training, to cost of the industry to bear.

The average person desn't need to know about the little details that make up horse racing. However I do agree with the comments that the industry hasn't dealt with PR all that well in the past. Yes- horses breakdown (my sister's horse is stall bound 6-8 months for a fracture from yahooing in the paddock) but the average person does't know this. Instead of claiming "it's the nature of the business" they should focus on pointing to the changes made in the past and changes to look for in the future and say "We doing the best we can to make the sport as safe as our technology can support".

SuperSTB
May. 22, 2006, 10:42 AM
Breaking through the gate... I'd rather see them break through the gate then not break through and flip over and under it!

juliab
May. 22, 2006, 10:49 AM
You know, I think Barbaro is using his OWN money to pay for his surgery. After all he has already earned a great deal of money. And if he does recover he will certainly earn enough in stud fees to pay for his retirement. The time for euthanasia is when the horse gives up and doesn't want to live and it certainly sounds as though Barbaro is still fighting.

IronwoodFarm
May. 22, 2006, 10:49 AM
I agree with the above post. If I were in the owners' place, I certainly would try to save him. Veterinary medicine, just like human medicine, has made great progress and certainly it is worth a shot at saving a horse with this type of breeding value.

I'm sure we'll see all kinds of silly comments as this story plays out. Remember, most people are not horse people, so you'll see some very silly stories in the news.

On the insurance -- I am not surprised if he was insured. While his owners may be wealthy, they were horse people and aware that racing has its dangers.

DMK
May. 22, 2006, 10:55 AM
Unfortunately, it sometimes takes something very publically visible such as Dale Sr or Barbaro to get the sanctioning bodies to sit up and listen.


Bing bing bing, we have a winner. I pay about as much attention to NASCAR racing as the average person pays to TB racing, possibly even less as I have never tuned into the Daytona 500. But after Earnhardt's death, I damn sure knew that there had been a safety argument brewing around NASCAR for a good number of years. Yes it's beyond lousy a tragedy has to unfold to get the necessary attention (and funding), but this phenomenon is neither new or notable. Airport security pre 9/11, anyone? Be they small or epic tragedies, they do force introspection in a most painful manner.

Glimmer, good point about who can be saved. Not everyone who owns a horse - racing or otherwise - can afford to invest the lifetime of special care that comes with an injury like this, never mind the cost of surgery/rehab. If any regular joe owner had showed up on this board with a horse who had a similar injury in his paddock, and elected to put him down, they would get overwhelming support. If that horse had been a stallion or a broodmare and they tried to save it for breeding puposes, again with the overwhelming support. But because it's a race owner and the fact that it may or may not be insured/have a future as a breeding animal, things change? Color me confused...

monicabee
May. 22, 2006, 11:32 AM
In California there has been a big push to revamp the racing surfaces, with one of the options being Polytrack, as well as other artificial composites, such as that used by Michael Dickenson at Tapeta. There is concern about posible breathing problems arising from horses and riders breathing in the "kickback" and a surface cannot prevent all accidents, but if Barbaro's horrific breakdown is to have a silver lining, it might be to spur action from track managent to make changes.

With regards to the cost, consider the number of young racehorses who break down in training and the huge financial loss to the owners that represents. A racetrack needs owners to underwrite the horses that races there. Owners and trainers acting together can form a powerful lobby.
Therefore, an investment in improved track surfaces could well be a necessary long-term investment.

One of the obstacles, as told to me by a veterinary surgeon, is a resistance to change in the racing industry. He pioneered arthroscopic surgery in race horses, and was accused of "doing the devil's work" by at least one trainer.

Where'sMyWhite
May. 22, 2006, 11:36 AM
I doubt that you can even eliminate all risk and the injury Barbaro sustained was a freak one that just cannot be controlled by the track or rider. Agreed that racing can adopt more safety procedures - Keeneland has for example adopted padded rails and is giving up a dirt track for a polytrack this fall.

There has to be sadly a basic understanding that horses will be lost, no matter reduced the numbers are there will be at least one. Beyond that there should be a goal that riders are as safe as they can be, the track is as well prepared as it can be, and anyone injured - man or beast - can be treated with enough skill and humanity if injury occurs.

Glimmerglass, I think we are on the same page. You can make things "safer". You can't make them completely safe. No matter how much we learn and try to make things better, life is dangerous (albeit that some activities have higher risk than others.)

Racing cars is dangerous... have we seen the last driver death, I certainly don't think so, but if it happens once every 10 years rather than once a year, then things are better.

Will we ever see horse racing such than no horse or jockey was harmed in the racing of the race? Probaby not, just continue to learn how to make things safer and safer to minimize death and injury.

I think even that is an admirable goal... continue to try to make progress.

Even if Barbaro doesn't make it but adds to knowlege, either safety-wise or related to the surgery and recovery, then the effort is not in vain.

LH
May. 22, 2006, 11:42 AM
Statistically, 40% of the 3 year olds who go to the track are destroyed by the end of May because of career-ending injuries. Yes, 40%.

Most injuries are not so severe or dramatic as those suffered by Barbero, but there are few practical options for what to do with a 3 year old colt/mare if they are not already extremely successful, or are not well bred. For a 3 year old gelding with a career ending injury, there are few options.

Although Barbero's injury was gruesome and life-threatening, this is not uncommon. In this instance, it was a high visibility injury with much media attention, and with a premier colt who has affluent owners who may be able to afford the surgery and care needed to rehabilitate the horse, if that's possible.

I'm not going to enter the fray about whether we should be racing 3 year old TBs, and whether the injuries are due to physical immaturity, but the waste rate is, unfortunately, a reality of this industry.

War Admiral
May. 22, 2006, 11:45 AM
Bing bing bing, we have a winner. I pay about as much attention to NASCAR racing as the average person pays to TB racing, possibly even less as I have never tuned into the Daytona 500. But after Earnhardt's death, I damn sure knew that there had been a safety argument brewing around NASCAR for a good number of years. Yes it's beyond lousy a tragedy has to unfold to get the necessary attention (and funding), but this phenomenon is neither new or notable. Airport security pre 9/11, anyone? Be they small or epic tragedies, they do force introspection in a most painful manner.

OK yes, point taken, but my question - b/c I don't follow racing to any vast degree other than to see what Avery's relatives are up to - is, IS there in fact anything that coulda/shoulda been done differently? IS there genuinely an issue with the footing, the gate, the way the false start was handled, or was it just one of those things?? I tend toward the latter opinion but will be glad to hear from experts in this regard...


Glimmer, good point about who can be saved. Not everyone who owns a horse - racing or otherwise - can afford to invest the lifetime of special care that comes with an injury like this, never mind the cost of surgery/rehab. If any regular joe owner had showed up on this board with a horse who had a similar injury in his paddock, and elected to put him down, they would get overwhelming support. If that horse had been a stallion or a broodmare and they tried to save it for breeding puposes, again with the overwhelming support. But because it's a race owner and the fact that it may or may not be insured/have a future as a breeding animal, things change? Color me confused...

I can see both sides here. I don't think there's any question that money does enter into the picture as to why Barbaro's principals are going the extra mile for him. However, I'm not one of those who thinks this is necessarily a bad thing. As others have pointed out, every surgery of this magnitude that gets performed is going to help other horses further on down the line, and, God willing, may preserve a great bloodline and save the life of a great-hearted horse who doesn't seem to be showing any signs yet of wanting to shuffle off this mortal coil. If anything, quite honestly I'm a bit envious of Barbaro that he HAS been lucky enough to be given this chance. I wish all good horses could be. I mean, I'd have gladly paid any amount of money to help my guy out if I could; meanwhile, 2 more died at Potomac this weekend, and while it sounds like one died in the air, could the other have been saved if the financial resources had been similar? Who knows....

As to whether it's cruel to keep Barbaro alive or not - for me personally it comes down ALWAYS to what the horse is telling you. Right now Barbaro seems from all reports to be interested in life and willing to play along, so long as he has food, chicks to flirt with, and a human or two to take a chunk out of; very Avery-like, as it happens. ;) If it gets to the point where he is no longer like that, then I'm not going to cast any blame on his principals if they opt to euthanize. What WOULD suck is if they were to keep him alive for financial reasons when he's clearly no longer having a good time. Luckily they don't strike me as the sort of folks who would do that.

But we shall see.

Jingles continue.

Louise
May. 22, 2006, 11:46 AM
Where did that statistic come from, LH?

Hunter's Rest
May. 22, 2006, 11:50 AM
Where'd you get that number, LH - 40%???

Glimmerglass
May. 22, 2006, 11:53 AM
Statistically, 40% of the 3 year olds who go to the track are destroyed by the end of May because of career-ending injuries. Yes, 40%.


Can you provide a source for this?

Also I would assume the use of the term "destroyed" isn't what you mean it to be. Rather they may be retired/rotated off the track due to injury but you don't mean to infer they break down in such numbers and are euthanized.

DMK
May. 22, 2006, 11:54 AM
Statistically, 40% of the 3 year olds who go to the track are destroyed by the end of May because of career-ending injuries. Yes, 40%.

Citations, please.

War Admiral, I don't think anyone can truly say whether Barbaro's injury was a result of footing or not. But when you look at the larger pictures and the studies relating to fatigue and how the track "bounces back" upon impact as well as how the base angle handles the turns (does the foot meet it squarely or does it meet it an an angle), there are definitely improvements to be made. But the issue of how the track transmits force through the leg is real.

In a highly oversimplified explanation from a person who really tried to forget most the physics she learned, if the track is just right, the energy transmitted to the track from the foot is returned back to the foot. If the track is too deep or soft, the horse leaves "energy" in the track since it cannot be returned before the foot leaves. On too hard of a track, the energy is returned possibly even twice (like vibrations) before the foot leaves. Both excess or dissipated energy leads to bone fatigue, which leads to a greater risk of breaking down, because bad steps are generally taken by fatigued horses.

DMK
May. 22, 2006, 11:58 AM
LOL, he last 5 posts have been summarized in short as

"Dear LH,

We would like to save you from being an internet statistic yourself...

Sincerely,

The World"

Glimmerglass
May. 22, 2006, 12:21 PM
To counter that wild "statistic" here is reality:


According to Mike Gathagan, Pimlico's vice president for communications, there were 199 races at the track since the spring meeting opened April 20. A horse broke down the first week of the meeting. One, that's all. The second was the Kentucky Derby champion, the 6-1/2-length winner. - Source: New York Daily News May 22nd (http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/story/419963p-354597c.html)

(factor on a very low average just 5 horses per field, although likely higher, that means 995 horses with two breakdowns or .2 % - just 1/5th of a single percent)

onthebit12000
May. 22, 2006, 12:35 PM
[QUOTE=LH]Statistically, 40% of the 3 year olds who go to the track are destroyed by the end of May because of career-ending injuries. Yes, 40%. QUOTE]

Will you please point us to the studies that prove this

I own and operate a small lay-up farm for TB's. and also do a lot of volunteer work placing horses into new careers when they are finished at the track.

My major client has over 120 horses racing at the track at any given moment during the year. Right now I have exactly 1- 3 yr. old here for rehab (sesamoiditis) and ZERO 2 yr. olds. Thus far this year from these 120 horses, he has had 1-4yr old filly who needed to find a new home (very slight bow), 1-3yr old filly with a knee fracture, and 1-9 yr old stakes winning stallion who has just been retired SOUND after some 55 starts.

Typically my "busy" season is November through February (we do not race in in IL during Jan and Feb). This is when my clients turn most of their horses out simply to rest and to be "horses". Even then, when I am full and in fact overfull LOL, the vast majority of horses have no serious soundness issues.They are simply in need of some down time.

I certainly will be very interested in reviewing the proof of your statement, as this is certainly not been my experience of the past 25 years as a trainer on the racetrack or with the horses that come through my layup farm.

equescool
May. 22, 2006, 12:36 PM
Breaking through the gate... I'd rather see them break through the gate then not break through and flip over and under it!

Think Smarty Jones.

LH
May. 22, 2006, 12:41 PM
This statistic (maintained by the JC) was one that is part of the briefing that led, ultimately, to hearings regarding jockey health and welfare.

http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/Hearings/10182005hearing1679/hearing.htm

A colleague of mine represents the family of a jockey who died in a track accident and she shared with me the extensive documentation and statistics that she has obtained in the context of discovery obtained in litigation. The issue pursued in that case is track safety, the welfare of jockeys, and the lack of regulation for jockey welfare. And in the course of that investigation, she learned those unfortunate statistics regarding the horse injuries, and the irony is that statistics regarding jockey accident and mortality rates have not been maintained. That issue is not relevant to this topic.

I'm not sure why posting those statistics warrants the other posters comments, but that's where that information comes from.

Madeline
May. 22, 2006, 12:42 PM
I'm not a fluffbunny, and come from a relatively long line of steeplechase folk.

If Polytrack proves to be safer, more tracks should install it. The thing that gets me is that they (the Omniscient They) KNOW that toe grabs cause injuries. Rim shoes are safer. Only Virginia bans toe grabs. How come?

(Knowing that toe grabs are implicated mainly in foreleg injuries and that they were HIGHLY unlikely to be implicated in Barbaro's injury.)

Drvmb1ggl3
May. 22, 2006, 12:54 PM
This was discussed on another thread. The gates are held together by powerful magnets in the interest of the horse and jockey. If the horse was totally locked in a steel box with required release by a lever the consequences could far worse if they couldn't break lose. Think of crossties that should be breakaway.

As for other horses breaking through prematurely - yes it happens. I cited a mare sprinter who did the same thing the day before in a turf race on ESPN. She popped through and then had to be reloaded.

When Tom Durkin (the racer caller for tv; not the same for the Preakness attendees) made the comment how it didn't bode well for Barbaro it truly didn't on a mental level. The same is true for a track sprinter with a false start - it drains that initial burst of energy and puts some doubt into what should be done after reloading. Exceptionally few horses after popping out prematurely in the gate go on to win.

True, but there have been some notable exceptions.
Seattle Slew wont he JC Gold Cup after breaking through the gate. Golden Missile won the Pimlico Special after doing the same. There was a filly a couple of years ago that won a G2 or 3 on the Turf, I think at Colonial, that broke through the gate, left her jockey behind in the gate (ironically enough, Edgar Prado!), ran ¼mile down the track before see was caught by outriders, reloaded and won the race.

alysheba
May. 22, 2006, 12:56 PM
My local Fox News station just announced their next segment on their sports extra show - is surgical repair the best thing for Barbaro, or is it being done just for financial gain? They so don't get it! :( :sadsmile: :mad:

Ok, let me clear this up...the reason Fox is reporting this is because the stupid vet (who has to stay emotionally detached or he would go insane trying to do his job) has made emotional cold statements such as "We are trying to salvage him as a breeding animal" and not just him, many of the spokespersons for the farm have made statements along those lines to.

This is at least a $25,000 surgery folks...would you pay for that for a dog? Most likely not, your horse? Hell yes! But we need to understand that most of the news ppl arent horse lovers like us (their thinking of Barbaro like a dog) so they dont have the compassionate "whatever it takes" attitude that we do, so Barbaro's "value" as a breeding stud is the focal point of their thinking.

Lets also remember, the vet who did Barbaro's surgery said this was the most complex break he had EVER worked on and that all the other owners who had horses this damaged had the horses destroyed, usually right there on the track, paddock, etc.

This makes it obvious that Barbaro is very special to Micheal. He believes in his horse, and he believes in 2nd chances, like he was given.

If you run into negative ppl who are making these "financial" comments, educate them that it isnt the owner, its the medical staff.

Hope this helps.

onthebit12000
May. 22, 2006, 12:58 PM
[QUOTE=LH]This statistic (maintained by the JC) was one that is part of the briefing that led, ultimately, to hearings regarding jockey health and welfare.

http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/Hearings/10182005hearing1679/hearing.htm

QUOTE]

DH,

Could you please point me to document you are referencing? In looking throught the index of materials supplied for the hearing, I dont see anything from the Jockey Club. The information listed here seems to all be relative to the Jockey's Guild and jockey insurance issues.

If the info is not listed here, perhaps you can point me to the Jockey Club stats.

Thanks!

findeight
May. 22, 2006, 01:00 PM
So several thousand 3 year olds die at the tracks BEFORE the end of May:eek: That's 100 per track meeting, at least-1 a day carted off dead.

I guess I've been lucky then, all the afternoons I watch and don't see but the occaisional one....like once a year

My, my, I wonder what has boosted the statistics up so high...used to be about 3-5% of all horses in training on the major California Tracks.

solargal
May. 22, 2006, 01:06 PM
[quote=LH]Statistically, 40% of the 3 year olds who go to the track are destroyed by the end of May because of career-ending injuries. Yes, 40%. QUOTE]

Will you please point us to the studies that prove this

I own and operate a small lay-up farm for TB's. and also do a lot of volunteer work placing horses into new careers when they are finished at the track.

My major client has over 120 horses racing at the track at any given moment during the year. Right now I have exactly 1- 3 yr. old here for rehab (sesamoiditis) and ZERO 2 yr. olds. Thus far this year from these 120 horses, he has had 1-4yr old filly who needed to find a new home (very slight bow), 1-3yr old filly with a knee fracture, and 1-9 yr old stakes winning stallion who has just been retired SOUND after some 55 starts.

Typically my "busy" season is November through February (we do not race in in IL during Jan and Feb). This is when my clients turn most of their horses out simply to rest and to be "horses". Even then, when I am full and in fact overfull LOL, the vast majority of horses have no serious soundness issues.They are simply in need of some down time.

I certainly will be very interested in reviewing the proof of your statement, as this is certainly not been my experience of the past 25 years as a trainer on the racetrack or with the horses that come through my layup farm.

Thank you. I like the idea of banning toe grabs everywhere. And zero tolerance for some medication used to block pain, such as DMSO. Padded gates, excellent, safety rail, great, polytrack(we'll see, heard some bad too).

As far as 2 yr olds, if a responsible trainer has them it helps. These are not like other breeds. A trainer hates nothing more than a 4 yr old coming into the barn that sat in a pasture until 3 months ago with it was broke. Most horses don't need to run until at least very late as two year olds, but training develops the bone. Despite whatever you may hear or think, until you have had a lot of experience with both.(Racehorses that did nothing until 4 or 5, or racehorses trained as 2 yr olds.) You realize how much it helps them.

Responsibility and moderation is the key to any horses soundness. Sometimes bad luck occurs.:(

Lookout
May. 22, 2006, 01:20 PM
If Polytrack proves to be safer, more tracks should install it. The thing that gets me is that they (the Omniscient They) KNOW that toe grabs cause injuries. Rim shoes are safer. Only Virginia bans toe grabs. How come?


And I'll bet no shoes are safer still.

imissvixen
May. 22, 2006, 01:30 PM
I have to believe that the cost of Barbaro's surgery and rehab is going to be 6 figures or very nearly. Many racehorses just aren't worth that much, many owners don't have that much. Barbaro is lucky and we are lucky that he had this surgery because the more it's done the more they learn and hopefully the price goes down.

I suspect that the owners made a very emotional decision to do whatever is possible to save Barbaro's life. I would do the same thing in that situation if I could. They didn't look like youngsters to me. What else are they going to do with their money? At some level it is like a donation to charity to let the surgeons and researchers at New Bolton see if they can be successful in this circumstance. And so far from the sound of Barbaro's disposition thus far he isn't suffering.

But lets be honest none of those guys want to talk about the money. No matter what you say it is no win. Spend $100k on saving a horse's life when there are people who needs healthcare? No matter how you spin the story it could be made to look bad.

F_ck the critics as far as I am concerned. I want Barbaro to make it, I want those guys to spend whatever it takes for him to make it, and then I am going to send my rescue mare, Abi Normal (formerly Watrals Abiskipper) to him for breeding. That is if I can come up with a way to pay the stud fee. Maybe they will offer a special COTH rate.

Linny
May. 22, 2006, 01:31 PM
Statistically, 40% of the 3 year olds who go to the track are destroyed by the end of May because of career-ending injuries. Yes, 40%.

.

Where did you get this stat from. By that reconing nearly half of the male population of each crop doesn't survive 'til 3. I find that hard to fathom.

The fact is that the Jackasons announced last week that stud plans for Barbaro would be announced after the Belmont Stakes. That tells me that negotiations were underway to sell him (or some % of him) for breeding. I'll assume that a present value was established, subject to rise or fall with his success in the Triple Crown. I'll also assume that he was insured, though probably for an amount smaller than present value (which had been established after the Derby) at the time of injury.
I hate to inject $$$ into the equation but I'm sure that it factors into most decisions of this type. Barbaro is probably worth more as a stud prospect that is current insurance would pay. That is NOT to say that money was the ONLY factor here. I'd like to think that the Jacksons would be doing the same for Barbaro if he were a gelding. I'm guessing that any deals that might have been pending are off the table. Right now they have to save his life and determine if he'll be able to bear enough weight to cover mares.

Most race horses are not insured. It's simply not cost effective for most horses. If a stud colt is likley to have residual value for breeding it would be insane not to insure him for mortality. Mr Jackson is a successful businessman and I'm guessing that they are insured but really want to do what's best for Barbaro. If he takes a bad turn or is in pain they will do what most good animal owners do, euthanize him. Unlike most owners who make that choice, they will get a hefty check. (Not that this is a bad thing, they paid huge premiums and are therefore entitled.)

Glimmerglass
May. 22, 2006, 01:41 PM
Spend $100k on saving a horse's life when there are people who needs healthcare?

Keep in mind Barbaro also won to date about $2M in purse money (less jockey fees, etc) so lets just say they can take it out of his savings account. Also Roy Jackson's maternal grandfather was William G. Rockefeller, treasurer of Standard Oil and they sold George Washington as a yearing for $2.05 million US at Tattersalls. So in this case the tough decisions with money didn't have to be made.

alysheba
May. 22, 2006, 01:48 PM
I want Barbaro to make it, I want those guys to spend whatever it takes for him to make it, and then I am going to send my rescue mare, Abi Normal (formerly Watrals Abiskipper) to him for breeding. That is if I can come up with a way to pay the stud fee. Maybe they will offer a special COTH rate.

Interesting. Every rescue group Ive heard of makes u sign a contact that u wont breed the horse.

TBLvr
May. 22, 2006, 01:48 PM
Just a few thoughts for folks to consider.

I'm a horseman who has been heavily involved for years with OTTBs; rehabbing and working with them to find them good homes. So far I've had about 80 come through here and go on to new homes. All our personal horses are OTTBs and we are very active in the horse world.

I am not into TB racing, however I can count as friends several multi-generation TB trainers in KY who answer my questions and provide their own take on things.

If I were ever asked by the TB Industry for my recommendations (not likely!) I would have to tell them "Listen!" As society changes what is considered acceptable changes as well. TB racing has a HUGE image problem with alot of horsemen in general, and except for the gambling addicts or those hoping to witness a wreck like they saw on Saturday, with much of the general public.

The TB trainers I mentioned are disgusted with what they see as happening in "their" industry and 2 of them have since left racing. I don't understand exactly what the main source of their discontent is since I'm not a part of their world. I only know they think horseracing has lost its emphasis on horsemanship.

Dismissing them or trying to deflect criticism hasn't and won't be effective. There's a message that the industry needs to acknowledge and, if theres a way, respond to. Listen.

People (mainly horsepeople) like to vent to me about racing, assuming that I am involved with it is some way. The Number 1 vent is "You start the horses too young. They're racing before they're mature enough". I think this single issue is one the industry might well consider to restore TB racing to the prominence it once had with the public.

Most of us horsemen realize that most any activity we undertake with our horses involve risk. My mare could break a leg stepping into a goher hole this afternoon on the trail. Eventers crash fences and break necks. Barrel horses fracture legs. But this argument comes down to the perception (reality?) that none of these other sports sanctions the use of young, immature horses. ie Eventers don't have events for 2-yr olds only. And, like it or not, these other wrecks don't happen on prime time TV.

Anyway, my $0.02 as a horseman. My heart goes out to Barbaro and I have been following this progress on this thread since I heard what happened Saturday night. I wish him only the best, as I do all the horses.

JSwan
May. 22, 2006, 02:00 PM
imiisvixen - I don't see how the cost of this animal's surgery has any relation to the lack of healthcare among some American citizens. It's not as if the Medicare fund was raided or something. If the owners have the money and want to try and save him - that's great. If they decide to euthanize - that's fine too.

Besides - why shouldn't animals benefit from the experiments we've done on them to advance human medicine? At some point - especially with orthopaedic injuries - animal studies were done. If the technology we gained from experiments makes it way back into verterinary medicine - great.

I do have a question though. I am wondering with the severity of this injury if this horse will ever be able to cover a mare. Breeding will place a lot of stress on that leg.

As far as the idiot television people go - did you hear Katie Couric ask if Barbaro will ever race again? Is she really that much of a dumb blonde or does she just play one on TV????

Jungle_cat
May. 22, 2006, 02:02 PM
Well here is something from somewhat of an "outsider" as this is my first year really watching racing. I always avoided it do to how it got such a bad hype on being hard on the horses. I always had the image that the owners/trainers/etc were all in it just for the money. Horses were used to hard, to young, and then thrown away when no longer needed type thing - so no one really cared for them.

But I will tell you what. Watching their faces when they saw what happened to their horse, seeing the tears, the shock, etc - Those were NOT the faces of people that were dissapointed that they weren't going to win another million or the tripple crown. These were the faces of people who just saw their beloved horse injured and possibly the end of his life was near. It was the same look I know I had when my horse died of colic, and I'm sure anyone out there who has lost a horse has had the same look.

I'm sure they will do what is right for Barbaro.

Laurierace
May. 22, 2006, 02:11 PM
I have been training race horses for 11 years now. I have had to humanely euthanize ONE horse due to an injury. Not one percent, one horse, and he was seven not three. To say that 40% or even 4% of horses are euthanized due to injuries caused by racing at any age is ridiculous.
Now if you want to talk statistics, I just got a call from my friend Kelly who says the meat pen is overflowing with horses at New Holland as we speak. Many thoroughbreds with easily readable tattoos. She was able to arrange to rescue two of them, the rest are screwed. There's your statistic.

DMK
May. 22, 2006, 02:24 PM
F_ck the critics as far as I am concerned. I want Barbaro to make it, I want those guys to spend whatever it takes for him to make it, and then I am going to send my rescue mare, Abi Normal (formerly Watrals Abiskipper) to him for breeding. That is if I can come up with a way to pay the stud fee. Maybe they will offer a special COTH rate.

Just to let you down gently, even if you came up with the full fare (hoping we get to that place), unless your mare has won a graded stake or produced a grade winner, I think you can pretty much count on not getting that date.

Top horses just enetering stud don't just get bred to anybody with $$. There are standards to be maintained.

Lookout
May. 22, 2006, 02:30 PM
I Now if you want to talk statistics, I just got a call from my friend Kelly who says the meat pen is overflowing with horses at New Holland as we speak. Many thoroughbreds with easily readable tattoos. She was able to arrange to rescue two of them, the rest are screwed. There's your statistic.
And how is that not an indictment of the racing industry? Wouldn't they have been better off euthanized?

imissvixen
May. 22, 2006, 02:37 PM
Interesting. Every rescue group Ive heard of makes u sign a contact that u wont breed the horse.

I got her from the backside buyer at Fingerlakes though the Exceller Fund made the introduction. There was no contract just a nice lady aka me who agreed to take a badly bowed mare who would otherwise have been shipped across the lake to the knackers.

Btw, the badly bowed mare after a year on turnout is now a pistol and getting ready to go into training to be my showhunter. When I don't think I am going to call her Abi Normal I think I will call her Absolutely Fabulous because she is beeeee--autiful.

TBLvr
May. 22, 2006, 02:41 PM
Interesting. Every rescue group Ive heard of makes u sign a contact that u wont breed the horse.


Not all. For years ReRun, for example, allowed breeding of mares and fillies. The only restriction was no breeding to a TB stallion. I think they've since changed that to prohibit any breeding recently, but the old contracts remain valid.

alysheba
May. 22, 2006, 02:41 PM
I got her from the backside buyer at Fingerlakes though the Exceller Fund made the introduction. There was no contract just a nice lady aka me who agreed to take a badly bowed mare who would otherwise have been shipped across the lake to the knackers.

Btw, the badly bowed mare after a year on turnout is now a pistol and getting ready to go into training to be my showhunter. When I don't think I am going to call her Abi Normal I think I will call her Absolutely Fabulous because she is beeeee--autiful.

Congrads! I wanted to breed my rescued TB Fast Honor, but I cant cuz of the contract. I wanted to breed her to Alysheba, but thats not going to work cuz he's in f****** Saudi Arabia!!!!!!!!!!!

Uhg. I'm taking this hard.

imissvixen
May. 22, 2006, 02:48 PM
imiisvixen - I don't see how the cost of this animal's surgery has any relation to the lack of healthcare among some American citizens. It's not as if the Medicare fund was raided or something. If the owners have the money and want to try and save him - that's great. If they decide to euthanize - that's fine too.

You missed the nuance of my point. People are going to criticize the Jacksons whether they spend the money to save him or whether they decide to euthanize -- it just depends on how the wind is blowing at the moment. The arguement against would be to include "better" ways the money could be spend. But you are right. It's akin to telling your child that he should clean up his plate because there are people starving in Africa. Even if he didn't clean up his plate they would still be starving in Africa.

jilltx
May. 22, 2006, 02:48 PM
411 summed it up for me:
I'm probably being naive, but I'd like to think whether he was gelding or a colt, the owners would have done the same thing. I'm sure they have great affection for the horse, afterall, they did breed him. He's part of the family. If I was fortunate enough to own Barbaro, nothing would bring me more joy than being able to look out the window and see him happily grazing in the pasture, enjoying a long and happy life.

With all the negativity around today, I would like to think (perhaps naively) that they just love their horse, like most of us do and are trying to do the right thing by him. He's a l o n g way away from the breeding shed at this point.

Laurierace
May. 22, 2006, 03:00 PM
And how is that not an indictment of the racing industry? Wouldn't they have been better off euthanized?
I never said it wasn't an indictment of the racing industry and assholes in general. The point is these horses weren't broken down on the track and euthanized due to injuries, they are just unwanted. Surgeons can't fix unwanted.

solargal
May. 22, 2006, 03:03 PM
Do you think the breakdown had to do with being galloped as a weanling?












Yes, some people think they are rode as weanlings.:confused::yes:

onthebit12000
May. 22, 2006, 03:07 PM
I have been training race horses for 11 years now. I have had to humanely euthanize ONE horse due to an injury. Not one percent, one horse, and he was seven not three. To say that 40% or even 4% of horses are euthanized due to injuries caused by racing at any age is ridiculous.
Now if you want to talk statistics, I just got a call from my friend Kelly who says the meat pen is overflowing with horses at New Holland as we speak. Many thoroughbreds with easily readable tattoos. She was able to arrange to rescue two of them, the rest are screwed. There's your statistic.

Amen, Laurierace!

That is perhaps the most horrendous statistic the industry nees be held accountable for! In this day and age where we have a number of resources available to help owners and trainers transition horses once their careers at the track are over...there is just simply NO excuse for ANY TB to ever end up in an auction kill pen and/or on a dinner plate overseas! The people who are still discarding these animals like yesterday's trash are not needed in this industry and should in my opinion, not be allowed to own horses.

By the way, I have been training racehorses for over 25 years. I have NEVER had a horse breakdown and need to be euthanized. In my entire career, have had 1 horse break a leg. He was a Maclay horse I had leased for a student to try to qualify with. He was rolling in the pasture and must have not properly loaded his front legs to get up from his roll. He dislocated his elbow and fractured his forearm. It was a horrific and tragic accident.

DMK
May. 22, 2006, 03:17 PM
Do you think the breakdown had to do with being galloped as a weanling?
Yes, some people think they are rode as weanlings.:confused::yes:

Nah, it's the sucklings that gallop that always break down. Everyone knows that!

cyberbay
May. 22, 2006, 05:49 PM
Yeah, to say that Barbaro should not have had surgery b/c there are people who don't have health insurance makes no sense...Just b/c the screw-offs in gov't are in bed with health corporations, which is why there is no reasonably priced health insurance, doesn't mean B should get the bullet, or is that not what you meant?

But, the public's perception of racing needs to be tended to very carefully, b/c if the public gets annoyed enough, they will give good fuel to the animal rights' movement. And, anyhow, who wants to tune in to racing and then see such a terrible horse wreck, like Saturday's? (and we should be thanking the deities above that Saturday didn't become a terrible pile-up). Racing is not really like NASCAR, b/c the car isn't a sentient being; nor do we worry if the car is being made to race against its will. These are very serious questions.

Sannois
May. 22, 2006, 06:13 PM
So several thousand 3 year olds die at the tracks BEFORE the end of May:eek: That's 100 per track meeting, at least-1 a day carted off dead.

I guess I've been lucky then, all the afternoons I watch and don't see but the occaisional one....like once a year

My, my, I wonder what has boosted the statistics up so high...used to be about 3-5% of all horses in training on the major California Tracks.
I can watch a whole afternoon of racing on HRTV and not see a single breakdown.. Hmmmm;)

Sannois
May. 22, 2006, 06:18 PM
Nah, it's the sucklings that gallop that always break down. Everyone knows that!
Especially with that weight they carry!!! Weanlings?? Somenone actually thinks they gallop weanlings??
I am kind of tired of the implication that he broke down because he was 3.. The one thing Anderson said, I cant quote exactly but someone asked a question about his young bones being too fragile to take it.. Anderson said a three year olds bones are like steel. Also I believe someone said somethng about conditioning.. that was refuted.. he was in awesome physical shape! I suppose we could go on and on about this.. But I dare say, If we counted how many Eventers, Hunters Jumpers broke down in a year, it would be sizeable, possibly larger than race TB's.. you just dont hear about them. :no:

fish
May. 22, 2006, 07:32 PM
I do think racing is in trouble for a lot of reasons more or less connected with Barabaro's misfortune: #1 Racing is tough on horses-- very tough, and a lot of us (including me) have seen too many horrific breakdowns to want to watch it anymore. Because of my respect and affection for MM and joy over his Derby victory, Barbaro's Preakness became the first race I had decided to risk watching live since the horrific Breeder's Cup Day which lost us Go For Wand and 2 other fine horses. I can't imagine myself ever wanting to watch it again after this. If I watch racing at all, it will be only in video tapes of races I know to be catastrophe-free. #2 Although we all know very well how easily and often horses can hurt themselves, it must be admitted that racing damages them on a scale far exceeding other equine careers. Any honest racetracker will admit that on the track, horses are "old" at five and positively ancient at 10-- an age at which show and pleasure horses are often just beginning to peak. #3 The theory that racing would cease to ruin so many horses if only they weren't started so young has in fact been scientifically tested and refuted: a controlled study comparing horses who started racing at 2 to those kept home until 4 found that the latter broke down at a dramatically higher rate than those started younger. Several studies of equine bone development explain why: to develope bone of optimal shape (modelling) and density to withstand the stresses of racing, horses need to be worked at speed BEFORE they mature, not afterwards.

I've been involved in the racing industry in several capacities, having worked as a groom and exercise rider, managed a lay-up barn, broken yearlings, and even sent one of my own to Fair Hill as a prospect. It was my feeling that despite all the casualities, racing still had considerable value as a means of selecting for breeding purposes. When I put my own filly into training, I soon began to have doubts even about that... they started when I met people eagerly waiting for their horses to bleed so they could enjoy the advantage of Lasix. Clearly there's a great deal more than the inherent virtues of an animal that goes into competitiveness at the track: kind of scary, I thought, when an outright defect (e.g. bleeding) becomes an advantage.

A few years ago someone wrote an excellent (IMO) article in Bloodhorse describing the conditions under which TB's currently race, what kinds of horses these conditions encourage people to breed, and how racing could be changed to encourage the breeding and development of sounder, healthier animals who could enjoy longer careers-- which would, in turn, encourage rather than discourage spectator involvement in the sport. I am always glad to see people within the industry recognizing these problems and trying to address them. I'd love to be able to return to the track and enjoy a day of racing-- but despite all the statements here of years gone by without a broken limb, etc., that was not my experience on the track at all. I've spent relatively few years on the track, but lost count of how many breakdowns I've witnessed. When people at the track react to catastrophes like Barbaro's saying "that's racing," they are (IMO) quite right. Racing IS a dangerous, extremely high risk sport. For a lot of people, that's a big part of its appeal. You just can't expect to have those kinds of sports without injuries. Personally, I've decided I don't like watching those kinds of sports anymore... I'd rather watch horses race in lanes as people do-- so they don't run the risk of clipping heels, falling over downed competitors, etc.-- but I doubt that's likely to happen. Until it does, I think I'll just go back to watching dressage, hunters-- and the growth of my grass :)

I hope no one interprets this as a condemnation of participation in racing: I still have friends very active in the sport-- one of whom, in particular, does an amazing job of keeping his horses sound, sane and extremely happy doing it. My hat is off to horsepeople like this friend. I just happen to have lost my own stomach for racing.

fotie
May. 22, 2006, 07:40 PM
So if one watches the entire race schedule all day on tv, and not 1 breaks down...are we to assume that race horses only break down while in races??? Dosen't make much sense...does it??

solargal
May. 22, 2006, 07:49 PM
I think a lot of things could help racing. I know that it is not a concidence when one trainer has 5 horses breakdown in a 4 month meet, while another trainer has 50 head of horses and has never had one go down on the track in his 20 year career.

I would like to see punishment to the trainer when a horse breaks down. This sounds bad, but the first one a "freebie" of sorts.(Horribly sorry for the way that sounds.) For instances such as Barbaro where Matz is a wonderful horseman and it was a bad step. Then say in the next 1000 starts or year, which ever comes first it would revert to a clean slate. In the meantime, another catastrophic injury would result in a suspension, increasing during the time until the timeframe runs out. It is easy to tell when a horse clips heels, which would obviously be excluded. Also horses that have to pull up with injuries. Really just for the horses that fall in a race due to injury.

That lets a lot of people by, but the problem isn't the people like Laurierace and others here who boost having none or 1 horse in a career catastrophically breaking down. They know the trainers I am describing. I think it would promote better horsemanship and scare those cold blooded monsters that always think, one more race.

We cannot lend trainers any more excuses. Once is a bad step, 7 or 8 a year is not. And we need a to be less tolerant. This is coming from someone who works in racing everyday and will continue. I can at least provide my horses I come in contact with, with a caring home.

**Edited**
Wouldn't this also help the cost of jockey insurance? Can racetrack people point out the faults with this idea? Besides the obvious trainers complaining that have multiple breakdowns close together.

Linny
May. 22, 2006, 07:52 PM
Of course horses breakdown in non racing situations. I still doubt that 40% of a given foal crop DIES from racing related incedents before their 4th birthday. If that were so, their would be fewer CANTER (and other such) horses.

Just because oir health care system if effed up doesn't mean that owned of a horse have no right to attempt to save him. Just because some owners haven't the wherewithall to save their seriously hurt horses doesn't mean the Jacksons shouldn't invest THIER money to save THEIR horse.

War Admiral
May. 22, 2006, 07:54 PM
Believe me, I *don't* work in racing but I do know exactly to whom you are referring. Why he hasn't lost his license is just beyond me.

Unfortunately, though, I'm not sure penalizing people for breakdowns is the way to go about it - maybe something more along the lines of permitting an official inquiry if the same trainer has x number of horses break down in a single meeting, or something like that???

Drvmb1ggl3
May. 22, 2006, 07:56 PM
I would like to see punishment to the trainer when a horse breaks down. This sounds bad, but the first one a "freebie" of sorts.(Horribly sorry for the way that sounds.) For instances such as Barbaro where Matz is a wonderful horseman and it was a bad step.

Has MMatz never had a breakdown before, in racing or training?

I'm genuinely curious.

solargal
May. 22, 2006, 07:57 PM
I unfortunately know a few like that. One where I am at had an "official inquiry" but basically that was nothing. Since there is no rules stating your horse can't break its leg off, they can't punish them. And drug testing only does so much. There are things that are traceable, and sometimes that sore horse doesn't have to be drugged up to try and race.

Laurierace
May. 22, 2006, 08:09 PM
I'll tell you one thing, I almost puked Saturday after the Preakness. I went over to the stake barn where they were having a reception. I had just finished talking to my vet who xrayed and stabilized Barbaro. He was fighting back tears as he told me what he thought the prognosis was. I then walked over to where my friends were standing by the bar. In the process I had to walk past Scott Lake who was talking to three people I didn't know. I overheard him say something to the effect of "this is such a difficult situation to be in" It took everything I had in me not to say "oh really, I thought when it happens two or three times a week you would tend to get used to it."
Matz is a good guy, my vet is a good guy. My vet said the horse was fine going into the race, that's good enough for me.

imissvixen
May. 22, 2006, 08:32 PM
You may not like it or agree with it but I really agree with the very last line.

May 22, 2006
We Care. But Why Do We Care So Much?
By JANE SCHWARTZ

No one wants to see a racehorse break down. The most hardened trainers and the most avid fans seem to agree on this much: A horse has to win, but nobody wants to see one die trying.

For complicated reasons involving the anatomy and the physiology of thoroughbreds, a serious injury sustained at high speed too often spells death for a horse.

That such a breakdown is traumatic for the owner, the trainer, the jockey, the groom and the exercise rider is understandable. Most of them work closely with the horse day after day. What seems to mystify people is why strangers feel the same way.

Since Barbaro's injury early in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, the reaction of strangers to his plight — an outpouring of concern and love — raises a question with no easy answer: Why do people care so much about the fate of an animal to which they have no personal connection?

Barbaro emerged from surgery last night, but his fate remained unknown. If he survives the immediate trauma, he will face months of recuperation and rehabilitation before he can be pronounced recovered.

The image of jockey Edgar Prado leaning into Barbaro's shoulder to help him stay upright was reminiscent of the photograph from 1975 showing Jacinto Vasquez leaning against his injured filly, Ruffian, and miraculously keeping her from going down on the track.

Ruffian was in the lead when she broke down in her famous match race against the Kentucky Derby winner Foolish Pleasure on July 6, 1975, at Belmont Park. She was so competitive that she kept running even though Vasquez, one of the strongest riders around, used every ounce of his muscle to pull her up as soon as he could.

Ruffian sustained a compound fracture of her right front leg. After enduring hours of complicated surgery, she reinjured her leg when she came out of the anesthesia and was euthanized early the next morning.

Horse racing is as competitive as any sport ever invented. Trainers use psychological tricks to try to outsmart the competition. Before the continuous monitoring of races, jockeys would poke, pull, kick and whip one another down the stretch in attempts to gain the lead.

But when their horses are hurt and have to be destroyed, it breaks their hearts.

In victory and defeat, and every day in between, horses remain wordless creatures. To those in the sport who spend their days caring for them, these thousand-pound thoroughbreds are like children — not in any sentimental sense, but in the sense that they cannot take care of themselves. They need people to provide them with water, food, shelter, exercise. The good ones are treated the way every child should be treated — with the mixture of care and discipline best suited for that particular individual.

No one who was involved with Ruffian's treatment expected her to survive. Not in any rational sense. They operated on her in the hope that they might buy time for a miracle to take place.

There seems to be social pressure against killing an animal, even when that may be the most humane path.

When we care about someone, or some animal, our first instinct is to reject the idea of death. Most people want to leave open at least a small window of opportunity for hope.

At the medical center where Barbaro was being treated, people left signs for the colt, expressing their love for him.

Perhaps the real miracle — the one that matters to all of us, whether we know it or not — is that so many of us are still capable of caring so much.

Jane Schwartz is the author of "Ruffian: Burning From the Start," which was reissued in 2002.

Luie's Person
May. 23, 2006, 01:04 AM
You Go Girl, Laurierrace -- THERE IS NO CONTROVERSY

Kenike
May. 23, 2006, 02:51 AM
Originally Posted by solargal

"I would like to see punishment to the trainer when a horse breaks down. This sounds bad, but the first one a "freebie" of sorts.(Horribly sorry for the way that sounds.) For instances such as Barbaro where Matz is a wonderful horseman and it was a bad step. "

Then the same should apply to parents and coaches of high school kids in athletic events who get injured, and for the coaches of college kids who get injured.

Sorry, I just don't agree with that unless pure abuse can be proven.

Slewdledo
May. 23, 2006, 03:12 AM
I've seen one breakdown at the local track so far this year - a marked improvement over previous years (knock on wood).

We have been with our trainer since the trainer was an assistant to our previous trainer. Not once in twenty years has one of our trainer's horses broken down. Bone chips, yes. Injuries, yes (though it's almost split between on-the-farm and on-the-track injuries!). Time off and layups, yes. Retirements, yes. Sales (at height of career and at end), yes. Breakdowns (morning or during a race), no.

I've worked for a trainer for several years. In all those years, only one of the horses has broken down - an awkward step while winning a race. That horse is now in retirement with the trainer.

I know another trainer whose horses rarely race at age two, and are often racing successfully at high levels (ie, stakes) in their 8th, 9th, and 10th years - astonishing. On the ONE occasion when I've witnessed one of this trainer's horses break down in a race (in 1996), the trainer was with the horse immediately and absolutely bawling.

It frankly pisses me off that so many use Barbaro's FREAK injury as an indictment of racing. It is my life and it is my passion that you are disparaging.

I know next to nothing about showing - and I keep my mouth shut. It would be stupid for me to say that if a show horse is injured while jumping a course, that rider, owner, and/or trainer should be somehow penalized, would it not?

Trees4U
May. 23, 2006, 10:10 AM
Their horse, their decision, their money.......

;)

Glimmerglass
May. 23, 2006, 10:33 AM
I would like to see punishment to the trainer when a horse breaks down. This sounds bad, but the first one a "freebie" of sorts.(Horribly sorry for the way that sounds.) For instances such as Barbaro where Matz is a wonderful horseman and it was a bad step. Then say in the next 1000 starts or year, which ever comes first it would revert to a clean slate.

I'm simply dumbfounded by such a well-intended but preposterous suggestion.

"Hey Michael Matz, you're cool so you get the exemption but that D. Wayne Lukas guy, I don't care for so no 'pass' for you buddy"

"By the way, Nick Canani, you worked for Mike Gill so if ever any horse you train from here on out so much as stumbles we'll be on you like white on rice."

I think racing already as a regulated and monitored sport should be able to better patrol those trainers who are up to nefarious practices - such as milkshaking, etc.

Still you have to treat the sport as a business and not as a kindergarten class. I for one would be offended if under this regime a trainer like Richard Dutrow is penalized for running an iron horse like Golden Man as he did in two G3 races in 24 hours and then suddenly the horse gets injured in a basic workout. The latter did not happen to GM and he runs just fine today.

JB
May. 23, 2006, 11:15 AM
The theory that racing would cease to ruin so many horses if only they weren't started so young has in fact been scientifically tested and refuted: a controlled study comparing horses who started racing at 2 to those kept home until 4 found that the latter broke down at a dramatically higher rate than those started younger. Several studies of equine bone development explain why: to develope bone of optimal shape (modelling) and density to withstand the stresses of racing, horses need to be worked at speed BEFORE they mature, not afterwards.


I'm curious about this study. Were the 4yo's not even started until they were 4? If so, that doesn't seem to be a very fair test as it's well known that early controlled work has a positive effect on development, particularly bone, that lasts a lifetime. A more fair test would be to start the 4yo group as a 2yo but just not in the rigors of race training until they were 3. Start them with long, slow concussive work, interval training. There have also been studies that prove that the type of fitness training a youngster goes through has a fairly significant affect on bucked shins and overal racing health. Some trainers follow the routine that allows the bone density to maxmize, muscle and tendon health to follow, and wind fitness to match it all so that the horse's muscles aren't capable of peforming longer/harder than the supporting structures.

solargal
May. 23, 2006, 11:42 AM
I think you misinterpeted it. My thought is there are trainers that have 10+ horses break a leg off in races a year. There would be no special exceptions, the first breakdown(catastrophically, in a race) would recieve no penalty, but those that incurred more during a time span or certain number of races would recieve penalties.

It will never happen, because as Laurierace's comment, there are some big name trainers that breakdown an extraordinary number of horses. Once again, this would actually be very lienant. Mornings not counting, chips, pulling up, only those falling in a race due to catastrophic breakdown would count.

Any trainer that has multiple castastrophic breakdowns in a year, is abusive. There's your proof.

Daydream Believer
May. 23, 2006, 11:45 AM
Well, you could argue also that 4 years old is still not really mature. We know that horses are not finished growing until 6 or 7 really particularly the upper joints and the spine.

I agree with JB that no one says you shouldn't work a horse before 4 but rather building up slowly to the fitness, density and maturity at four and then asking for the racing speeds on a more mature and developed frame than you have on a 2 year old.

Weatherford
May. 23, 2006, 12:19 PM
Without question, if he had been a gelding, he never would have been loaded onto the ambulance.
Read today's press conference. I have no doubt the good doctor is correct and the Jackson's WOULD have saved the horse even if he had been a gelding. :yes:

411
May. 23, 2006, 12:35 PM
Here's an exerpt from an article in today's Sun-Sentinel...
****
Richardson added that the Jacksons' main concern was for the health of Barbaro, not for the millions of dollars the colt could make as a stallion if he recovers completely.

"If this horse were a gelding these owners would have done everything to save this horse's life," Richardson said. "I've known the Jacksons a long time. If this horse had no reproductive value they would have saved his life."
*****
I suspected this was the case. :-)

For the complete article, here's the link
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/nationworld/ats-ap_sports10may23,0,4889223.story?coll=sns-sports-headlines

hb
May. 23, 2006, 12:43 PM
One thing that I wish would be mentioned when talking about the decision to treat an injury like this, is that rather than the economic or sentimental issues, there may also be a different type of concern for the horse.

A friend of mine had a horse with a similar but lesser injury (spiral fracture to the long pastern bone, no fractures in the cannon or sesamoid). It was a mare, so there was a possibility for breeding. She was also my friend's only horse, and as much a pet as a competition animal.

My friend shipped the mare to a vet school and had her evaluated as a surgical candidate. The vets described the recovery process - they said many months of stall rest, at least a year before they would know if she could even be pasture sound. This was many years ago, and possibly the surgical techniques are better now, but at the time they gave her a 25% chance of even being able to stand and walk in a pasture without pain.

My friend thought about this mare's personality - she hated being in a stall, she would often run around the pasture for no reason. She was hard to catch and had to be left in her stall in the morning when the shoer was due out, and would pace and run around the stall after about 10 minutes. She was a beautiful horse, a fabulous mover and jumper, and she loved to be moving.

My friend decided to euthanize the mare rather than put her through the stress of surgery and the long recovery period with the limited odds of even being pasture sound after a year. The thought of this horse cooped up for months and then hobbling around the pasture when her previous greatest joy was simply running and jumping seemed cruel. It wasn't an easy decision, and she spoke it over with many of us, her friends, for hours before making the decision, but it seemed the kindest for the horse.

Now, Barbaro so far has been a model patient. I've heard many comments about what a smart horse he is etc. And living at the track he is used to being in a stall much of the day. So far this is working for him.

But sometimes the decision not to try surgery is also done in the best interest of the horse.

I wish people would recognize this.

dianad
May. 23, 2006, 12:57 PM
I think the reason people 'care so much' is that we all realize the horse has no choice in this matter... becoming a racehorse. Or an event horse, or a jumper, or reiner, or whatever. They are the truly innocent. The jockey knows the risks, we all know the risks when we get on, gallop fast, jump big fences, or whatever.

I hate it any time a horse gives it's life for our pleasure, in any discipline. And it sure happens.

Which means, to me, it is up to us to be the very best stewards of them that we can possibly be.

Daydream Believer
May. 23, 2006, 12:59 PM
One thing that I wish would be mentioned when talking about the decision to treat an injury like this, is that rather than the economic or sentimental issues, there may also be a different type of concern for the horse.

But sometimes the decision not to try surgery is also done in the best interest of the horse.

I wish people would recognize this.

I do and I agree with you. To me, quality of life for the horses is more important than any other consideration. Sometimes it is your love and respect for the nature of the horse itself that causes you to let them go in dignity.

Onabreak
May. 23, 2006, 01:47 PM
I worked for a racehorse breeder/owner whose motto was "if you can't take care of them, DON'T BREED THEM".
Once she spent over $25,000 to save a cheap claimer who had gotten pneumonia during a trip from FL to Maryland. Even when the Dr.'s advised euthanasia, she persisted and saved that pony's life!
Another time, over $10K on colic surgeries (had adhesions, UGH) for an unraced, illbred (but very handsome!) 2 year old, who never did go to the track (show horse now).

So while I don't know the Jackson's from Adam's housecat, I do know first hand that there are breeders out there who have enough money not to blink at writing checks to save their ponies' lives if there is even a sliver of hope. Even for "worthless" geldings, and even when they have barnfuls of horses, and even when they are the only ones with hope. The Jackson's seem like pure class to me!