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Breeder’s Cup 2019

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  • I'll throw more mud in the discussion...the vets at Santa Anita are not all what I would call racetrack vets. Some were newly minted just graduated vets and I don't know what their background was otherwise.

    The BC was only relevant in the last few weeks or whenever the special saddle towels came out. Before that there were still vets swarming around out there looking at every horse from unnamed two year olds to aged claimers. There was no discrimination between horses worth $2 million and those worth $2000. Horses were being pulled out of their stalls and examined without warning. I saw it myself. Hell I had to deal with it myself.

    The good part is that I don't think they were playing favorites. No one I saw would have given a damn if you brought a horse in from the ends of the Earth or paid $500,000 in a sale or $200,000 in an entry fee. Their standing orders were to stop the breakdowns even in the morning when no one but the connections used to care unless it involved a very high profile horse.

    But I am not sure what the background or experience was/is of some of these people. The ones I saw and interacted with didn't seem as savvy as racetrack vets and they were very eager to declare unsoundness based on a couple of short strides.

    That is why none of this makes sense. I keep coming back to War of Will who we know has stringhalt. I would imagine a young War of Will without his reputation never making it to the starting gate under this regime. But everyone saw War of Will look "lame" and go out and win the Preakness. I imagine that they looked at him a lot but he was otherwise clinically sound so they let him run.

    I don't know enough about Mongolian Groom to know whether he had a hitch in his giddyup which was not necessarily clinical lameness. I do know that he was running at Santa Anita last spring before the new world order. Could it be that it was a War of Will situation where the vets knew he was a little short strided but clinically fine? That is the only thing that makes sense to me.

    I can't imagine that heads aren't going to roll on this because of the uproar. All 30 vets did not look at Mongolian Groom but several of them had to and they had to sign things that said he was OK. Given the way this bunch is, they will be walked off a short plank. Helluva way to start your career.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Pronzini View Post
      I'll throw more mud in the discussion...the vets at Santa Anita are not all what I would call racetrack vets. Some were newly minted just graduated vets and I don't know what their background was otherwise.
      I do recall the segment on TVG mentioning in the cast of 30 vets that some were from other places/tracks like Belmont and across the pond so the vet pool was more than just 30 SA track vets fresh out of school.

      I would not be surprised if the overall direction was to scratch if there was any doubt about the soundness of the horse (which we did see if top level trainers are to be believed... Chad Brown, Aiden O'Brien).

      Mongolian Groom didn't even show up on the radar screen until he won the Awesome Again which was barely 4 weeks before the Classic.

      I'll be interested (although may never see it) in reading the necropsy. I think we'd all agree that *in general* catastrophic breakdowns are more often occurring in front limbs than they are hind limbs.

      Was Mongolian Groom's breakdown a result of something that occurred during the running of the race or was there truly an unsoundness that finally gave way? Also, IMO very untrained opinion, that the damage was both above and below the fetlock rather than some sort of condylar fracture (above the fetlock) or blowing out the pastern below the fetlock. He was alone on the track at the time of the fracture but when, if there was a precipitating cause, did that happen?

      Barbaro and Ruffian come to mind that there was conjecture that the actual injury occurred prior to when the bones actually failed.
      Maybe the reason I love animals so much is because the only time they have broken my heart is when they've crossed that rainbow bridge

      Comment


      • Speaking only of the "irregular" horses jogged/galloped, I believe the underlying issue was related to the horse's ability to push, not a weight-bearing unsoundness. This is because the horse would feel pretty sound and normal posting on one diagonal (or off it's back), and then awkward and flat on the other diagonal. However, the horse showed no pain or soreness when the feet hit the ground, as you would expect from a bone/joint/ tendon injury.
        A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.
        ? Albert Einstein

        ~AJ~

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post

          Absolutely not. No one cares how much the owners paid to get the horse into the race, especially the vets and management.
          Yeahbutt the owners cared and may have put subtle (or not so subtle) pressure on the trainer to keep going as long as nothing was obviously wrong...like a vague feeling of NQR. I get that. Not the way I did it, but understand, and that’s why we need the 3rd party intervention.

          MG, to me, looked like a very large horse and he seemed to be a bit awkward at times and not a great mover. Some might have kidded themselves all was well and pressed on.

          Necropsy will be eagerly awaited.
          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by EventerAJ View Post
            Speaking only of the "irregular" horses jogged/galloped, I believe the underlying issue was related to the horse's ability to push, not a weight-bearing unsoundness. This is because the horse would feel pretty sound and normal posting on one diagonal (or off it's back), and then awkward and flat on the other diagonal. However, the horse showed no pain or soreness when the feet hit the ground, as you would expect from a bone/joint/ tendon injury.
            Not to derail this important discussion, but this is 100% what I experienced with my last OTTB. I purchased her 5 days after she won her last race. Never been on the vet's list, never been injected, came out of a good barn. Turned out to be a proximal supensory strain. I wonder how many are missed - there is no heat/swelling, no outward indication that anything is wrong. Heck, even my Barn Owner, Trainer, and a few good horsemen & women told me there was nothing wrong - she was just weak behind. But that lack of ability to push, and the sound/normal on one diagonal vs awkward and flat on the other told me there was something more going on. Turns out I was right. It reminded me of Songbird, who was still racing competitively and winning in Grade 1 races with proximal suspensory desmitis. Amazingly enough, it was her owner Rick Porter who insisted something wasn't right, and she was working too hard to win a Grade 1. Hollendorfer didn't see it.

            I have always wondered if lameness evaluation at the track may just be different than in the sport horse world, and maybe isn't turning up all the potential issues that we catch more often in other disciplines.

            Here is the Paulick Article, which has an interesting quote from Bramlage:
            “It wasn't surprising that [Hollendorfer] didn't see that,” Bramlage said. “Trainers are looking at their horses when they are performing in a straight line and watching them at less than peak performance when they are training. Horses when they have symmetrical problems and they go in a straight line, they don't show that one leg is bothering them over another. If they have a problem with one leg then they get obvious lameness.”

            https://www.paulickreport.com/news/b...redible-story/
            Last edited by LuvRedHeads; Nov. 5, 2019, 12:24 PM.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by skydy View Post
              I wonder if sport horse people are more likely to use those new technologies than are race trainers? Do you have a guess?
              My answer is probably biased by the fact that our horses are based in Kentucky for most of the year. But everyone I know at the track is well aware that we have the best vets and the best veterinary clinics in the country literally right down the road. If a trainer or a track vet has any doubts about a potential issue or a diagnosis, the horse is popped on a van and off it goes to Hagyard or Rood & Riddle--where the newest technologies are not only being used, they're being developed.

              Considering the amount of money there is in racing compared to other horse sports, I would guess that the majority of the new equine technologies were developed specifically for use on racehorses. And the owners and trainers I know are very happy to have the opportunity to make use of them.

              www.laurienberenson.com

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Pronzini View Post
                I'll throw more mud in the discussion...the vets at Santa Anita are not all what I would call racetrack vets. Some were newly minted just graduated vets and I don't know what their background was otherwise.

                The BC was only relevant in the last few weeks or whenever the special saddle towels came out. Before that there were still vets swarming around out there looking at every horse from unnamed two year olds to aged claimers. There was no discrimination between horses worth $2 million and those worth $2000. Horses were being pulled out of their stalls and examined without warning. I saw it myself. Hell I had to deal with it myself.

                The good part is that I don't think they were playing favorites. No one I saw would have given a damn if you brought a horse in from the ends of the Earth or paid $500,000 in a sale or $200,000 in an entry fee. Their standing orders were to stop the breakdowns even in the morning when no one but the connections used to care unless it involved a very high profile horse.

                But I am not sure what the background or experience was/is of some of these people. The ones I saw and interacted with didn't seem as savvy as racetrack vets and they were very eager to declare unsoundness based on a couple of short strides.

                That is why none of this makes sense. I keep coming back to War of Will who we know has stringhalt. I would imagine a young War of Will without his reputation never making it to the starting gate under this regime. But everyone saw War of Will look "lame" and go out and win the Preakness. I imagine that they looked at him a lot but he was otherwise clinically sound so they let him run.

                I don't know enough about Mongolian Groom to know whether he had a hitch in his giddyup which was not necessarily clinical lameness. I do know that he was running at Santa Anita last spring before the new world order. Could it be that it was a War of Will situation where the vets knew he was a little short strided but clinically fine? That is the only thing that makes sense to me.

                I can't imagine that heads aren't going to roll on this because of the uproar. All 30 vets did not look at Mongolian Groom but several of them had to and they had to sign things that said he was OK. Given the way this bunch is, they will be walked off a short plank. Helluva way to start your career.
                a racetrack vet vs any other large animal equine vet; is irrelevant. Soundness is soundness. and any short strides should be noted and taken into consideration; no matter what type of horse is being jogged for the veterinarian.

                Newsflash; the majority of all vets who go through the strains of vet school to take care of your horse are not "clueless". they may not have grown up on the backstretch or in the show ring but chances are; they have horse experience which drove them into their career choice. And they put up hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of their life to become veterinarians. They're not clueless idiots and they can asses a lame horse on the jog strait out of school. They went to school to learn these things and assess them.

                Regardless of the years' of experience; its the fresh eyes that don't see the horse everyday that can often pick up on the small abnormalities that conditioned eyes may miss.

                Regardless; MG should've been yanked off the track and fully assessed after he turned up dead lame at the trot on the track at the end of October. Some of it may have been trantering; the majority of his performance that day was lameness.
                It would be interesting to know if recent xrays were taken of that leg within the last 4-8 weeks to look over to see if there were any issues. I am sure Bramlage is already on that.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by LaurieB View Post

                  My answer is probably biased by the fact that our horses are based in Kentucky for most of the year. But everyone I know at the track is well aware that we have the best vets and the best veterinary clinics in the country literally right down the road. If a trainer or a track vet has any doubts about a potential issue or a diagnosis, the horse is popped on a van and off it goes to Hagyard or Rood & Riddle--where the newest technologies are not only being used, they're being developed.

                  Considering the amount of money there is in racing compared to other horse sports, I would guess that the majority of the new equine technologies were developed specifically for use on racehorses. And the owners and trainers I know are very happy to have the opportunity to make use of them.
                  I have to wonder why the quality of farriery doesn't seem to have improved at the same pace as veterinary care and diagnostics. Thoroughbreds are, perhaps unfairly, known for "crappy TB feet", though I suspect it's the trim/shoe job rather than the feet themselves in many cases. I've seen an awful lot of underrun heels and too-long toes, along with the "bullnose" appearance which indicates the foot isn't being trimmed to align with the internal structures.

                  Is it the racetrack mentality some have of "we've always done it that way"? The mindset of "longer toe means longer breakover, therefore longer stride and faster horse"?

                  I mean, why throw beaucoup dollars at the vet while at the same time declining to pay the same attention to the feet?

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by snaffle1987 View Post

                    a racetrack vet vs any other large animal equine vet; is irrelevant. Soundness is soundness. and any short strides should be noted and taken into consideration; no matter what type of horse is being jogged for the veterinarian.

                    Newsflash; the majority of all vets who go through the strains of vet school to take care of your horse are not "clueless". they may not have grown up on the backstretch or in the show ring but chances are; they have horse experience which drove them into their career choice. And they put up hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of their life to become veterinarians. They're not clueless idiots and they can asses a lame horse on the jog strait out of school. They went to school to learn these things and assess them.

                    Regardless of the years' of experience; its the fresh eyes that don't see the horse everyday that can often pick up on the small abnormalities that conditioned eyes may miss.

                    .
                    Um, are you saying a vet fresh out of school has a practiced eye for lameness the same as a specialized track/sport horse vet who is partner at a large clinic in KY, FL, PA?

                    My regular Ocala vet is great for average needs, and EXCELLENT at repro. But he'll be the first to refer me to a better vet at his practice when I have soundness concerns. He can do basic flexion and take xrays, but he will pass the films on to a better sports med focused DVM. He ultrasounds hundreds of mares, but if I need a leg scanned he recommends someone specialized in that area.

                    Coming from Lexington, and now living in Ocala, maybe I'm spoiled. But I certainly wouldn't trust "just any" vet's opinion if they don't have many years experience and knowledge in that field.
                    A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.
                    ? Albert Einstein

                    ~AJ~

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Mara View Post

                      I have to wonder why the quality of farriery doesn't seem to have improved at the same pace as veterinary care and diagnostics. Thoroughbreds are, perhaps unfairly, known for "crappy TB feet", though I suspect it's the trim/shoe job rather than the feet themselves in many cases. I've seen an awful lot of underrun heels and too-long toes, along with the "bullnose" appearance which indicates the foot isn't being trimmed to align with the internal structures.

                      Is it the racetrack mentality some have of "we've always done it that way"? The mindset of "longer toe means longer breakover, therefore longer stride and faster horse"?

                      I mean, why throw beaucoup dollars at the vet while at the same time declining to pay the same attention to the feet?
                      It's complicated. There's definitely a genetic part, and some horses will always tend to have better feet than others. There are some excellent race horse farriers, who I would let shoe my sport horse any day of the week. Those farriers encourage short toe, a strong heel, and proper biomechanics. However many farriers, both at the track and in other disciplines, tend to shoe to the end of the toe without proper heel support. The speed of a galloping racehorse throwing its legs out and landing firmly with every stride tends to encourage the stretched toe, and crushed heels, that are seen in many race horses. It doesn't help that some many of the cheaper horses that end up in sport horse homes, tend to come from cheaper tracks, cheaper trainers, who use cheaper farrier, with less education, experience, and effectiveness at creating a healthy horse foot.

                      With good farrier care, many horses off the track can improve their feet to a large degree. The race trainer i gallop for actually runs most of her horses Barefoot. She gets them from other trainers typically with poor feet, pulls their shoes and leaves them turned out for several months. Then they start up training on the grass, barefoot, and many of them are able to run this way on the polytrack. A lot of those horses tend to have really decent feet, as it's easy to keep their toes short, and encourage heel growth. However, I know some sport bred thoroughbreds, who have never seen a race track or racetrack farrier, who still had terrible feet. In this case, it's simply genetic and even with supplements and good care, these horses' feet will never be as good as others'.
                      A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.
                      ? Albert Einstein

                      ~AJ~

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by EventerAJ View Post

                        Um, are you saying a vet fresh out of school has a practiced eye for lameness the same as a specialized track/sport horse vet who is partner at a large clinic in KY, FL, PA?

                        My regular Ocala vet is great for average needs, and EXCELLENT at repro. But he'll be the first to refer me to a better vet at his practice when I have soundness concerns. He can do basic flexion and take xrays, but he will pass the films on to a better sports med focused DVM. He ultrasounds hundreds of mares, but if I need a leg scanned he recommends someone specialized in that area.

                        Coming from Lexington, and now living in Ocala, maybe I'm spoiled. But I certainly wouldn't trust "just any" vet's opinion if they don't have many years experience and knowledge in that field.
                        Yes ,Kentucky folks are lucky to have so many specialists in one place. We had to haul out of state to get really good lameness Vet and surgical services.. The local vet was a general practice guy. (This was long ago, and not in Colorado)
                        Last edited by skydy; Nov. 6, 2019, 03:21 PM. Reason: To Clarify

                        Comment


                        • Vino Rosso and Mitole retired to stand at Spendthrift stud.

                          https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-rac...to-spendthrift

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by snaffle1987 View Post

                            a racetrack vet vs any other large animal equine vet; is irrelevant. Soundness is soundness. and any short strides should be noted and taken into consideration; no matter what type of horse is being jogged for the veterinarian.

                            Newsflash; the majority of all vets who go through the strains of vet school to take care of your horse are not "clueless". they may not have grown up on the backstretch or in the show ring but chances are; they have horse experience which drove them into their career choice. And they put up hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of their life to become veterinarians. They're not clueless idiots and they can asses a lame horse on the jog strait out of school. They went to school to learn these things and assess them.

                            Regardless of the years' of experience; its the fresh eyes that don't see the horse everyday that can often pick up on the small abnormalities that conditioned eyes may miss.

                            Regardless; MG should've been yanked off the track and fully assessed after he turned up dead lame at the trot on the track at the end of October. Some of it may have been trantering; the majority of his performance that day was lameness.
                            It would be interesting to know if recent xrays were taken of that leg within the last 4-8 weeks to look over to see if there were any issues. I am sure Bramlage is already on that.
                            Interesting take on green and fresh out of school vets. I once saw a vet, who graduated top of her class at a prestigious western US university, working her first job out of school and she was life and death to draw a Coggins. That's the assignments green vets receive...drawing Coggins, filling out health certificates and oiling horses for transport (btw when attempting to oil a horse the previously mentioned top-of-her class practitioner could never get the tube set and would have to call in another vet,) or maybe handling a colic case. A top notch vet will take years to hone his or her craft and to imply that a green vet is on a par with experienced lameness vets is laughable.



                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by snaffle1987 View Post
                              Regardless; MG should've been yanked off the track and fully assessed after he turned up dead lame at the trot on the track at the end of October.
                              I continue to be fascinated at the source of videos that you find that show things that I just don't see.

                              I did not see a "dead lame" horse in any of the videos floating around the internet. Perhaps a horse slightly off as assessed by people looking at very short snippets of video with no knowledge of the horse nor being there in person for a more detailed assessment.
                              Maybe the reason I love animals so much is because the only time they have broken my heart is when they've crossed that rainbow bridge

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Where'sMyWhite View Post

                                I continue to be fascinated at the source of videos that you find that show things that I just don't see.

                                I did not see a "dead lame" horse in any of the videos floating around the internet. Perhaps a horse slightly off as assessed by people looking at very short snippets of video with no knowledge of the horse nor being there in person for a more detailed assessment.
                                You'd get rung out of a dressage test for that trot.

                                Comment


                                • Originally posted by On the Farm View Post

                                  Interesting take on green and fresh out of school vets. I once saw a vet, who graduated top of her class at a prestigious western US university, working her first job out of school and she was life and death to draw a Coggins. That's the assignments green vets receive...drawing Coggins, filling out health certificates and oiling horses for transport (btw when attempting to oil a horse the previously mentioned top-of-her class practitioner could never get the tube set and would have to call in another vet,) or maybe handling a colic case. A top notch vet will take years to hone his or her craft and to imply that a green vet is on a par with experienced lameness vets is laughable.


                                  Exactly. Not to mention that the pool of experience sports medicine equine vets is not large. Much easier and much more profitable to be a small animal cardio specialist.
                                  "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."

                                  Comment


                                  • Originally posted by Where'sMyWhite View Post

                                    I continue to be fascinated at the source of videos that you find that show things that I just don't see.

                                    I did not see a "dead lame" horse in any of the videos floating around the internet. Perhaps a horse slightly off as assessed by people looking at very short snippets of video with no knowledge of the horse nor being there in person for a more detailed assessment.
                                    That horse would get spun at an FEI jog. And, shouldn't horse racing be just as stringent?
                                    When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE them- Maya Angelou
                                    www.americansaddlebredsporthorse.net
                                    http://www.asbsporthorse.blogspot.com/

                                    Comment


                                    • Originally posted by EventerAJ View Post

                                      Um, are you saying a vet fresh out of school has a practiced eye for lameness the same as a specialized track/sport horse vet who is partner at a large clinic in KY, FL, PA?

                                      My regular Ocala vet is great for average needs, and EXCELLENT at repro. But he'll be the first to refer me to a better vet at his practice when I have soundness concerns. He can do basic flexion and take xrays, but he will pass the films on to a better sports med focused DVM. He ultrasounds hundreds of mares, but if I need a leg scanned he recommends someone specialized in that area.

                                      Coming from Lexington, and now living in Ocala, maybe I'm spoiled. But I certainly wouldn't trust "just any" vet's opinion if they don't have many years experience and knowledge in that field.
                                      um no. but I think its unfair to say that veterinarians out of vet school are clueless or its unfair to look at a young vet and classify their experience based on their looks. Maybe those young vets hired by the breeders cup have been working under the wings of very specialized vets in their respected fields and are very reputable. A vet doesn't need to be 50+ years old to know what they are doing. Don't be short sighted.

                                      The vets hired by the breeders cup to assess horses were done so for a specific job. To look over every horse entered in the field knowledgeably and with experience to make educated decisions on whether or not the horse could race. The breeders Cup went into Santa Anita knowing that they had a lot on the line. The fate of racing in California might be resting on what occurred at the Breeders Cup. Said vets are looking over some of the highest valued horses in the industry. Why on earth do you think they would hire regular joe from the local animal hospital to look them over.

                                      Despite the above; the vets assessing the horses are not the issue. They did their job and they did it well. Several horses were vet scratched for soundness issues that were found.I cant speak to why MG grooms unsoundness at the jog on the track was not seen. Its obvious in the video. But its too late to rewind now.

                                      Does no one want to address Aiden O'Briens comments after one of his was vet scratched? "She jogged up just as she always does. But we have to play by the rules here". So does he not want to address the fact that his horse had a soundness issue at the jog that was obvious enough for a group of vets to concur that she was unsound? Or does he just want to throw shade that the vets scratched his horse and he thinks otherwise about her condition? Trainers are NOT vets. I would hope that Aiden would return to his stable and have a full workup done on the horse to ensure her health and well being. He should be thankful a group of trained professionals saw something perhaps he didn't and could've saved her life on race day. This is the type of attitude the industry does NOT need considering the current climate in the United States around the fatalities and the current climate that the Breeders Cup was trying to emulate at their event. The horse should be paramount, always.

                                      No one wants to address how many starts MG made this year and whether or not that strain put on his skeleton combined with training ultimately caused his demise.

                                      Instead we want to point fingers at 30 hired Veterinarian professionals because they simply look like they are young which apparently means they are inexperienced/ dumb/ clueless. This message board continues to prove that those within the industry are operating with sunglasses on. Until you start looking internally at potential causes for the fatalities piling up (not just at Santa Anita, but nation-wide), nothing will change. Don't put the blame on the 30 educated equine veterinarians tasked by the Breeders Cup with ensuring said horses are safe to walk in the starting gate. As far as I'm concerned; the breeders cup is footing the bill for vets to cover what trainers back in the barn should already be doing with their veterinarians before their horse enters the starting gate. Some do. But not all.

                                      I see horses on CANTER sale videos every week that are dead lame in a leg and their equibase charts show them still training throughout the week and still racing. Why is that? Why is a dead lame horse at the jog still racing and training throughout the week? I agree with ASB Stars that horse racing should certainly be just as stringent regardless of the level of the horse.

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                                      • I think that track vets by and large are absolutely not looking out for the best interest of the horse. They are doing what the trainers want and really what the industry needs- filling race cards and getting horses running. I think bringing in young vets or non track vets can be good in that they may be willing to be honest and impartial-not dependent on the racetrack for their living and not business as usual.

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                                        • Here is another video of Mongolian Groom which was view by anonymous vets after the incident and they concurrently agree he was unsound in the videos that were taken leading up to the race.

                                          https://www.xbtv.com/video/workout/m...ber-26th-2019/

                                          Here is an updated article on Mongolian Groom and the vet work that was done prior to the race. its very interesting
                                          https://www.paulickreport.com/news/r...-exam-history/


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