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I don't know much about racing but...

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  • I don't know much about racing but...

    So, I'm just a H/J rider casually wondering about the world of racing because of the Triple Crown Hype. As we all know, it's been several decades since we last had a TC winner. I am wondering what you racing experts think is the reason for this. My two hypotheses were that there aren't as many great talents, or that there are TOO many good horses and no one horse has been able to rise above and really stand out. I know there have been great horses, but I'm really talking mostly about the Triple Crown here.

    So feel free to post your opinions, whether you agree/disagree with my ideas, or have completely different ones that I didn't even think of. TIA!

  • #2
    This is one of the great questions in racing. I suspect it has to do with how anachronistic the races themselves are next to the rest of the racing calendar. The Belmont is the only Grade 1 mile and half race on dirt. Is the Derby the only Grade 1 race at 10 furlongs for three year olds? (They keep fiddling with big races and I can't remember what's 9 furlongs and what's 10 furlongs anymore.) Moreover turf racing really isn't analogous because of the different pace scenario typically involved.

    So breeders and buyers of horses aimed at these Classics really have a narrow window to shoot for. As everyone knows, it's always good to have a plan B if you don't solidly have a horse that fits with Grade 1 runners, which in North America are in sprints and middle distances. That may be why most of the misses like Smarty and Big Brown and Real Quiet are middle distance bred.

    That ties in with the rise of the commercial market and the move away from the great breed to race stables. Finally you have a number of trainers who seem to have no real idea how to train horses for distances that they almost never deal with outside of this arena and with a much shorter race spacing than is the norm. He didn't have enough horsepower in Smooth Air but it was fascinating how oldtimer Bennie Stutts trained Smooth Air up to the Derby with his slow gallops and 7 and 8 furlong works. That was a page out Whittingham's book and I wish we saw more of it.

    Comment


    • #3
      Trainers like Nick Zito and Todd Pletcher who love to put in FRESH horses to upset the Belmont.

      Big Brown wasn't able to train these last 3 weeks due to his quarter crack that could have played into it. He does come from a very UNSOUND female family.

      WWW.CALIFORNIARACEHORSE.COM
      www.californiaracehorse.net

      Comment


      • #4
        It's BB's sireline that is unsound, not the female family. Boundary raced only 8 times over about 3 years because of knee issues and quarter cracks.
        F O.B
        Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
        Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Nijinsky View Post
          Trainers like Nick Zito and Todd Pletcher who love to put in FRESH horses to upset the Belmont.
          Aww c'mon, I actually LOFF a good Belmont spoiler!

          Personally, I think we need more distance races on the cards if we're *ever* going to have another TC winner. The Belmont is a hella long race and it invariably finds out the middle distance types.
          "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Nijinsky View Post
            Trainers like Nick Zito and Todd Pletcher who love to put in FRESH horses to upset the Belmont.
            Isn't that a good thing, though? The Triple Crown shouldn't be easy- to prove greatness, a horse has to be able to beat fresh horses too, IMO
            "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

            My CANTER blog.

            Comment


            • #7
              Fresh horses have been out there as spoilers forever. New shooters came at Affirmed, Slew and Secretariat but those colts turned them ALL back.

              I think that several factors are at work. Decades ago, a 3 race series over 5 weeks was nothing new for a racehorse of G1 quality. In fact many horses had a "prep" for the Belmont between the Preakness and Belmont! Horses are on far lighter training schedules and this sudden burst of 3 races in 5 weeks IS hard on them because it's so new.
              Many trainers feel that the horses are weaker today than they once were and don't stand training as well. Medications which were supposed into increase the "starts per year" seem to have had the opposite effect.
              Some trainers may feel pressure NOT to over work a horse. Horses like Secretariat were worked (not galloped, worked) about every 4 days, and fast. Do that now and if your horse gets hurt you are labelled a "butcher."
              When top quality horses were used to racing about every 2 weeks, the TC (while obviously challenging) was not as hard as it is today.
              The other long drought was between Citation and Secretariat. There were several near misses then but it seemed that during that era, the KY Derby was the "upsetter." Horses like Native Dancer and Damascus lost the Derby. ND lost by a nose but Damascus came unglued pre-race and ran an uncharacteristically poor race. Had either won, they'd have been considered deserving. There were several "upset" and longshot Derbies that lead to no real hope of a TC sweep.
              The closest we came in that era was Majestic Prince. (By closest, I mean someone swept the Derby and Preakness.) MP was not 100% in the Belmont and lost to Arts and Letters, who was later named division champ. Today the colt who sweeps the first two legs of the TC is almost assured an Eclipse, but that was not the case then. After the Belmont, Arts and Letters won the Jim Dandy, Travers, Woodward and the Jockey Club Gold Cup. If Da Tara wins all those races (not that it's likley) and BB retires, will he or BB get named champ?

              The Belmont, with a TC on the line has become such a huge event that I do think that alot of people want to be a part of it, so they enter. It's a huge day and a big purse, so if you run well enough for 4th you get a $60k payday, before expenses and you have you time in the limelight. There was a time when owners that really didn't feel that they had "the best" colt would opt out. Today with so much money and glamour, it's "all swim" in the Belmont.
              I think that this year, with all the talk about BB's foot, more people showed up. Anak Nakal, Tale of Ekati and Denis of Cork were pointed for this race the day after the Derby. I do think that Nick Zito really thought that with his speed, Da'Tara could be a factor, as speed is more important at routes than most think. Did he think he'd beat BB? Probably not, but he figured he could gallop along in front and even if BB loped by he could maybe hold off a couple of the closers.
              Breeding less stout horses makes a difference in how they are trained and managed. A horse that cannot race hard three times in 5 weeks has no shot.
              Last edited by Linny; Jun. 9, 2008, 07:30 AM.
              F O.B
              Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
              Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique

              Comment


              • #8
                In the 25 years between Citation 1948 and Secretariat in 1973, there were no fewer than 15 "near -misses." 7 of those were horses who won the Derby and Preakness- Tim Tam, Carry BAck, Northern Dancer, Kauai King, Forward Pass, Majestic Prince and Canonero II. 4 (Capot, Native Dancer, Nashua and Damascus) won the Preakness and Belmont. The rest (Middleground, Needles, Chateaugay,and Riva Ridge) won the Derby and Belmont. There was a ton of talk before Secretariat that the Triple Crown had become Impossible, Too difficult to win, and that there would Never be another TC winner. The breed is going to hell. Just like now.

                Then Came Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew ( 1977) and Affirmed (1978). That particular line of talk died down.


                Looking at the quite similar numbers from Affirmed to nobody for 30 years, there are 18 near-misses. Of those, eleven (Spectacular Bid, Pleasant Colony, Alysheba, Sunday Silence, Silver Charm, Real Quiet, Charismatic, War Emblem, Funny Cide, Smarty Jones and Big Brown) scored the Derby/Preakness double. Risen Star, Hansel, Tabasco Cat, Point Given and Afleet Alex scored the Preakness /Belmont double. Swale and Thunder Gulch doubled the Derby and Belmont.

                IMo, there will be another TC winner. Maybe that $5 million dollar bonus from Visa wasn't a bad idea.He will be trained with contesting the triple crown in mind. Until that happens, there will be endless discussions of how the breed is going ( has gone ) to hell, the Triple Crown should be changed so the races are further apart, etc., etc....

                Until then, we wait...
                madeline
                * What you release is what you teach * Don't be distracted by unwanted behavior* Whoever waits the longest is the teacher. Van Hargis

                Comment


                • #9
                  It's BB's sireline that is unsound, not the female family. Boundary raced only 8 times over about 3 years because of knee issues and quarter cracks.
                  OH, so his mothers only 2 starts and his grandams 9 starts do not count?

                  You are right though his sire side is worse than I thought.

                  WWW.CALIFORNIARACEHORSE.COM
                  www.californiaracehorse.net

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    LENNY GOOD POST

                    Fresh horses have been out there as spoilers forever. New shooters came at Affirmed, Slew and Secretariat but those colts turned them ALL back.

                    I think that several factors are at work. Decades ago, a 3 race series over 5 weeks was nothing new for a racehorse of G1 quality. In fact many horses had a "prep" for the Belmont between the Preakness and Belmont! Horses are on far lighter training schedules and this sudden burst of 3 races in 5 weeks IS hard on them because it's so new.
                    Many trainers feel that the horses are weaker today than they once were and don't stand training as well. Medications which were supposed into increase the "starts per year" seem to have had the opposite effect.
                    Some trainers may feel pressure NOT to over work a horse. Horses like Secretariat were worked (not galloped, worked) about every 4 days, and fast. Do that now and if your horse gets hurt you are labelled a "butcher."
                    When top quality horses were used to racing about every 2 weeks, the TC (while obviously challenging) was not as hard as it is today.
                    The other long drought was between Citation and Secretariat. There were several near misses then but it seemed that during that era, the KY Derby was the "upsetter." Horses like Native Dancer and Damascus lost the Derby. ND lost by a nose but Damascus came unglued pre-race and ran an uncharacteristically poor race. Had either won, they'd have been considered deserving. There were several "upset" and longshot Derbies that lead to no real hope of a TC sweep.
                    The closest we came in that era was Majestic Prince. (By closest, I mean someone swept the Derby and Preakness.) MP was not 100% in the Belmont and lost to Arts and Letters, who was later named division champ. Today the colt who sweeps the first two legs of the TC is almost assured an Eclipse, but that was not the case then. After the Belmont, Arts and Letters won the Jim Dandy, Travers, Woodward and the Jockey Club Gold Cup. If Da Tara wins all those races (not that it's likley) and BB retires, will he or BB get named champ?

                    The Belmont, with a TC on the line has become such a hige event that I do think that alot of people want to be a part of it, so they enter. It's a huge day and a big purse, so if you run well enough for 4th you get a $60k payday, before expenses and you have you time in the limelight. There was a time when owners that really didn't feel that they had "the best" colt would opt out. Today with so much money and glamour, it's "all swim" in the Belmont.
                    I think that this year, with all the talk about BB's foot, more people showed up. Anak Nakal, Tale of Ekati and Denis of Cork were pointed for this race the day after the Derby. I do think that Nick Zito really thought that with his speed, Da'Tara could be a factor, as speed is more impostant at routes than most think. Did he think he'd beat BB? Probably not, but he figured he could gallop along in front and even if BB loped by he could maybe hold off a couple of the closers.
                    Breeding less stout horses makes a difference in how they are trained and managed. A horse that cannot race hard three times in 5 weeks has no shot.
                    WWW.CALIFORNIARACEHORSE.COM
                    www.californiaracehorse.net

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Nijinsky View Post
                      OH, so his mothers only 2 starts and his grandams 9 starts do not count?

                      You are right though his sire side is worse than I thought.

                      WWW.CALIFORNIARACEHORSE.COM
                      Not saying his damside doesn't count, but I do think that his sireline is the one known for unsoundness. His dam was well bred and often a mare with superior breeding is simply stopped on after a start or two. Nureyev daughters started to become scarce as the old boy was aging and Mien was probably a more valuable breeding than racing proposition.
                      Mien's dam ran 19 times with 2 wins, in England. That's a reasonable career.

                      Boundary had awful feet but alot of talent winning 6 of 8 over 2 years. He had layoffs everyplace and in addition to the feet, he reportedly had the Danzig knees. I've never heard of BB having bad knees but those feet are terrible.
                      F O.B
                      Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
                      Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        There is a bit of evidence that points to horses who are used more at a younger age havng better bone later on...being sounder, more well conditioned, etc. I almost wonder if the modern TB is weaker because it isn't used as much, rather than the other way around.

                        There is so much fear by big owners that a horse will lose, and lose stud value at the same time. It's race to breed, not breed to race for a lot of people.
                        Mighty Thoroughbred Clique
                        Racing Enthusiast Clique
                        Careful, you might end up in my novel!

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