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Bred for turf?

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  • Bred for turf?

    Does anyone know or have any thoughts on if thoroughbreds that were bred to run on the turf tend to do better eventing?

    For those TBs/OTTBs at the top of the game, how many are from turf backgrounds?

    I'm just curious, and trying to learn what I can.
    Last edited by FLIPPED HER HALO; Dec. 16, 2011, 03:46 PM.
    Cloverfox Stables

  • #2
    All British and Irish TBs run on turf--except for the few polytrack runners. IMO, horses who are turf bred are better for eventing, just as I believe that European TB lines are better for eventing. But that's just a personal opinion.
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
    Thread killer Extraordinaire


    • #3
      My CCI** horse was bred for turf. He wasn't very good in the dirt, but boy, can he run and jump! Hoping to move up to Advanced this spring.
      Jessica Bortner-Harris
      "Throw your heart over the fence and your horse will follow."


      • #4
        Just a personal note: I've had several OTTB's that evented and (maybe by chance) those I preferred were almost always grass horses. I will check with my friend Mikki Tsuge who is very involved in the industry, but it seems to me that frequently their gallop is one that I prefer for XC.


        • #5
          You think a horse is bred for turf by looking at his pedigree. But it doesn't always happen that way. Horses bred for turf are also usually bred for distance, and have a wider, flatter hoof. Horses bred for dirt are more often bred for speed, and have a tighter hoof. Distance horses tend to be taller, rangier, Brooklyn Bridge types. Distance and turf breeding also tends to be found in steeplechase horses. Speed horses tend to be stockier, more quick twitch muscle. But horses themselves can surprise you, no matter what their pedigree says. The most surprising was Cigar, bred for turf. Was a minor stakes contender on the turf, and his race career was nearly over when they just tried him on the dirt just once before retirement. Turned the racing world upside down as a result. Horses do not always follow the rules and predictions we make for them. Individuals and lines/families can waver and vary between dirt/sprint and turf/distance through time and breeding choices, and the performance that they show (no matter what their breeding says).

          A mix of traits is always my choice. I like a tighter foot, and a stockier build for a jumper. The quick twitch muscle is always nice for jumping, which tends to be more of an explosive move of power than an endurance move. But one likes to see those steeplechase lines appearing in there too, because no doubt these horses can jump and are brave.

          For this reason, I feel that making generalizations regarding sprint bred vs distance bred race TBs can lead to choices that may not be successful in breeding sport horses. You want neither a true sprint horse, nor a true distance horse for a sport horse. You need the traits of both to produce a jumper. You need the ability and desire to jump, which can pop up in many different TB lines, together with the disposition/nature/trainability condusive to a riding horse. This is what makes a TB sport horse IMO.


          • #6
            In general, yep!


            • #7
              In North America, the turf sprint races are grade 2 and grade 3 categories. Grade 1 turf races start from a mile. In this theory it is easy to generalize that turf pedigree suggests distance. However, there are many turf sprint races. Most of Santa Anita's famous downhill turf course race is at a distance of 6 to 7 furlongs. These races fill easily, whereas the longer distance turf races often do not go for lack of entries. Hence, there are a great number of turf sprint horses. My personal opinion is that the conformation of turf horses (longer withers, longer backs) results in more fluid movement suited for dressage which in modern eventing seems to be a crucial factor if you want to place well.

              Mikki, Cindy's friend