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How Did Horses Have so Many More Starts in Past Decades?

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  • #21
    Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post
    Tracks regularly overhaul their surfaces, so what horses ran on 30 - 50 years ago is different from what they run on today. Speaking of Pimlico, that track would get scary fast right around Preakness. They've discontinued that practice for the most part.

    They've also disallowed some types of shoes that really gave the horses great traction.
    Pretty much the only shoes that can be used at any track now are plane Queen's plate. With a toe grab of 1/16th maybe an 1/8 can't remember? When there were a multitude of different shoes allowed. There was a light board in the paddock of Belmont that had the different shoes on it. People could look at and see what type of shoes each horse were fitted with in each race.

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    • #22
      I remember stickers so big they had to be removed right after the race so the horse wouldn't hurt itself.

      I think toe grabs have been implicated in contributing to injuries, but I need to get to the grocery store and don't have time to look anything up right now.
      "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

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      • #23
        Originally posted by vineyridge View Post
        But, Beowolf, horses in the modern era, even with improved science, nutrition and training changes, aren't faster than horses were in the past. There are quite a few research papers that have shown that to be the case.

        To me, one of the great changes has been the breeding of TBs to match the phenotype of Quarter Horses. Downhill is the norm, and downhill is probably good for sprinters. Since we are breeding sprinters, even more races are written for sprinters. Look at the Haskins article about the 2019 graded stakes, where two turn races are downgraded and sprints are upgraded. That would most likely mean that more GI stallions will be sprinters from sprinter lines, leading to more highly rated sprints.

        The North American TB industry is moving away even from two turn races, much less the stayer races that are still run in the rest of the world.
        "To me, one of the great changes has been the breeding of TBs to match the phenotype of Quarter Horses. Downhill is the norm, and downhill"

        Don't know how many yearlings/horses you look at in any given year to make this kind of statement, observation.

        IME having looked at, inspected hundreds over a 1,000 yearlings some sales years. for over 30 years. Spent countless days at the races. Pretty much in the paddock before every race looking at the horses. Or on the rail during the post parade. I don't agree with this at all.

        If someone really want sot get a handle on TBs especially what breeding to X stallion to a mare by X stallion. They should go to the Keeneland September yearling sale where 4-5,000 yearling can be seen. You don't need to be a buyer to look at them. Go to a barn and ask. Or just stand outback of the sales ring around the walking ring where the yearling about to be sold are held/walked. Stand there 12-14 hours a day for the 2 weeks of the sale and you can see everyone. Pretty darn good education and after a few years of doing this a person might have a handle on things.

        As to "measuring" as a tool to help with selection and or predicting the ability of a horse. Well, there is a guy named Cecil Seaman. A name I bet very few people would recognize. Cecil started measuring horses back in the early 80s. I first met him doing this in 1983 at the Saratoga sale. By now he would have the most complete historical records available. Bar none. His idea's, theories got a little traction for a while. Had some good clients to buy for. But in the end his ideas, way of going about selecting racehorse didn't have any higher results. Then those of us who do it the old fashion way using our schooled eyes. Not nearly the results that agents like Mike Ryan has come up with year in and year out. If Cecil had discovered the magic formula he'd be rich and a household name.

        When it comes to "improved science, nutrition" I think people would be very disappointed if they were to spend time around a top trainer's barn. Those who have been in industry/sport for a long time. Don't fall for mumbo-jumbo advertising. Claims made by the manufactures that has little to no proven bases in fact.

        IMO those who think the TB has gotten taller on average. I don't think so. I think this is more subjective based on the type of horses that happen to gravitate to their barn, care more time then not.
        Last edited by gumtree; Dec. 6, 2018, 02:42 PM.

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        • #24
          Originally posted by Big_Tag View Post
          I am going to speak from the standardbred side - which, while maybe not to the degree you are seeing, is the same trend. They are getting faster and subsequently finer. They just can't hold up to the starts anymore.The STBs used to go multiple heats (races) regularly in the same day; now it is reserved to a few races in the very elite classes.

          I say they are getting finer and less able to handle the schedule - I assume they flat out can't hold up to it anymore, both on the TB and STB level, but honestly I don't know if it's that, or the perception that they can't. Maybe they could if they were trained for it. But you probably give up either the speed or the endurance in training nowadays.
          This is so sad. In many states STBs go to auction where Amish buy them. If these horses coundnt handle the track, how on earth can they handle the sort of treatment they usually get from the Amish?
          And YES: I do know it from a BTSI level.

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          • #25
            Originally posted by gumtree View Post

            IMO those who think the TB has gotten taller on average. I don't think so. I think this is more subjective based on the type of horses that happen to gravitate to their barn, care more time then not.
            I could see that being the case in barns but, this is me seeing it be the case on a local level at race tracks and training tracks.

            For instance, some of the top sires in NY, which is more my area than anywhere else, are passing on huge. Frost Giant is living up to his name in terms of what he is making. Freud - Bigger than most though I've seen some smaller. Giant's Causeway, I have had a hard time finding a GC horse under 16h. Big Brown... Tall, tall, tall. Most of the NY superstuds are SC lined which is funny because I never thought SC was huge physically, but his sons are tall.

            Maybe it is a regional thing.. Certain sires are of course more prominent in certain areas.
            AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

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            • #26
              Originally posted by beowulf View Post
              I could see that being the case in barns but, this is me seeing it be the case on a local level at race tracks and training tracks.

              For instance, some of the top sires in NY, which is more my area than anywhere else, are passing on huge. Frost Giant is living up to his name in terms of what he is making. Freud - Bigger than most though I've seen some smaller. Giant's Causeway, I have had a hard time finding a GC horse under 16h. Big Brown... Tall, tall, tall. Most of the NY superstuds are SC lined which is funny because I never thought SC was huge physically, but his sons are tall.

              Maybe it is a regional thing.. Certain sires are of course more prominent in certain areas.

              Storm Cat wasn't that big. Probably 15.3, maybe an inch taller. Although he was older when I saw him.

              Giant's Causeway looks big in his pictures. I measured him at 16.0 in person.

              I read an interesting comment by Elliott Walden at WinStar. He pointed out that the farm's three most successful stallions are also their three smallest: More Than Ready, Speightstown, and Distorted Humor.

              If you go to the KY yearling sales, the early books (1-2) skew big because that's what buyers want. But the majority of the remainder of the 5,000 yearlings tend to be around average size-wise.



              Last edited by LaurieB; Dec. 7, 2018, 09:22 AM. Reason: grammar
              www.laurienberenson.com

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              • #27
                Originally posted by Brigid View Post

                This is so sad. In many states STBs go to auction where Amish buy them. If these horses coundnt handle the track, how on earth can they handle the sort of treatment they usually get from the Amish?
                And YES: I do know it from a BTSI level.
                I was out in the Amish country today running my errands, which I have done for several decades. I saw a black standardbred trotting at a ridiculous pace down the road. He had the heart for it, and the driver had the ego for it. He won't last long
                When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE them- Maya Angelou
                www.americansaddlebredsporthorse.net
                http://www.asbsporthorse.blogspot.com/

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                • #28
                  Originally posted by LaurieB View Post

                  Giant's Causeway looks big in his pictures. I measured him at 16.0 in person.

                  I read an interesting comment by Elliott Walden at WinStar. He pointed out that the farms three most successful stallions are also their three smallest: More Than Ready, Speightstown, and Distorted Humor.

                  If you go to the KY yearling sales, the early books (1-2) skew big because that's what buyers want. But the majority of the remainder of the 5,000 yearlings tend to be around average size-wise.

                  Noted. Last time I was at Coolmore (before Justify) I also noticed that the stallions tended to be in the 16-16.1 hand range, and they like them to be "not big." Giants Causeway was not a big guy.
                  "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

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                  • #29
                    Here's a good article from the Bloodhorse discussing height - the best stallions are around 16 hands (although it's 3 years old).

                    https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-rac...-always-better
                    "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

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                    • #30
                      Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post
                      Here's a good article from the Bloodhorse discussing height - the best stallions are around 16 hands (although it's 3 years old).

                      https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-rac...-always-better
                      Terrific article. Anne Peters always does a great job.

                      www.laurienberenson.com

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                      • #31
                        Originally posted by LaurieB View Post
                        Giant's Causeway looks big in his pictures. I measured him at 16.0 in person.
                        I saw him in person several years ago. I remember he had big bone and a solid build (big hindquarters, etc.). Maybe that made him seem taller.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post

                          Noted. Last time I was at Coolmore (before Justify) I also noticed that the stallions tended to be in the 16-16.1 hand range, and they like them to be "not big." Giants Causeway was not a big guy.
                          Giant's Causeway is passing on big, is my point. He was not "small", though I wouldn't say he is huge. He was bigger than his sire, who I would classify as "shrimpy" in sport terms. GC get here are consistently 17h and huge through the barrel.
                          AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

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                          • #33
                            I read the book about Stymie and Hirsch Jacobs recently. In it, it is explained that Jacobs felt that running a horse was superior to breezing a horse. He didn't see the value in just throwing in more work, and so his horses (mostly claimers) ended up with many more starts. Obviously, if they hadn't held up, his method wouldn't work and be profitable, but as the book explains, it was.

                            Today's trainers are all about the works. Perhaps that is part of the difference.
                            When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE them- Maya Angelou
                            www.americansaddlebredsporthorse.net
                            http://www.asbsporthorse.blogspot.com/

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by ASB Stars View Post
                              I read the book about Stymie and Hirsch Jacobs recently. In it, it is explained that Jacobs felt that running a horse was superior to breezing a horse. He didn't see the value in just throwing in more work, and so his horses (mostly claimers) ended up with many more starts. Obviously, if they hadn't held up, his method wouldn't work and be profitable, but as the book explains, it was.

                              Today's trainers are all about the works. Perhaps that is part of the difference.
                              No doubt he is rightfully a HOFer, and there is still a stake in his name at Pimlico (I think). Horses trained a lot harder back then, and not having read his book, if he trained them lighter between races and backed off the works then indeed he was ahead of his time.

                              70 years ago they did not know what they know now about progressive loading or the importance of microfractures in catastrophic breakdowns. The EID is really helping identify some factors that seem to correspond with a higher breakdown rate, and that information plus more recent research have also dispelled some of the myths about training and racing horses.

                              To get racing fit, a horse does need to work about every 4 days. Once fit, he stays fit with less training, but still needs to work and/or race every so often depending on his physical condition and how he came out of the race.

                              Most works for horses that are racing fit are three eights to half a mile, and not as fast as a race, and only the bad bleeders get Lasix to work. Races are much much harder on a horse (longer distance, faster times), plus the horse has to deal with recovering from the dehydration caused by Lasix.
                              "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

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                              • #35
                                Originally posted by ASB Stars View Post

                                I was out in the Amish country today running my errands, which I have done for several decades. I saw a black standardbred trotting at a ridiculous pace down the road. He had the heart for it, and the driver had the ego for it. He won't last long
                                Their lives mostly are very sad. I was out riding many years ago and saw an Amish man driving his cart: He came out of his barn drive; he drove a short ways towards us, then his horse staggered and collapsed mostly in the ditch. He got out of his cart and started kicking the mare in the head and belly. I cantered up the road hopped off, and asked him to please stop kicking her! He said he just bought her at an auction. I said shes sick or something.
                                He was only disgusted and infuriated that he'd 'bought a lemon.'
                                I still can't get that image out of my mind.

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