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Horse dead last in his 1st start; what next?

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  • Horse dead last in his 1st start; what next?

    Homebred 2YO out of our mare (1st foal from the mare for us; she had 1 or 2 previous foals by nothing stallions who did not race.)

    Ran yesterday, absolutely abysmal effort. I don't think he handled the track but he has worked faster than he ran. Jockey had no excuses, said he ran for a quarter and then just stopped. Horse is just fine. The other owners are absolutely screaming and I understand that, they haven't put forth thousands to get the worst race we've ever had in 20+ years as owners.

    I didn't want to run the horse at 2, figured he'd be much better next year after he matured. Also he'd be running at our home track rather than at a dumpy track several hours away. I was overruled. Now the trainer either wants to pull the plug on the horse's racing career or run him right back while dropping to the bottom (yesterday was a maiden special weight.)

    Don't think I'm even seeking advice, just commiseration. I have helped find new jobs for lots of can't-run OTTBs over the past few years but they were always other people's horses, not my own that I raised from birth.

    It's a uterus, not a clown car. - Sayyedati

  • #2
    What kind of race was it? Did you scope him?
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home

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    • #3
      One race does not make or break a two year old!! In the first race they are either scared or wired!! Owners must realize that it takes time with a youngster and some are slower to "get it" than others. Years ago we had a nice big two year old who made his first start on a muddy track. He broke good at the front of the pack and was so terrified at the racket behind him that he won with ease going 3/4. The problem was that he couldn't be pulled up until he got to the far side of the track (1/2 mile pole) away from the roaring crowd and flatly refused to come back to the winners circle!! He finally got to the winners circle and got his picture taken as the next race was warming up!! You just can't judge a two year old by his first race!!! They are still babies!! JMO
      www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
      Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        It was a MSW. He was not scoped. Was not even blowing after the race. He did not run on Lasix; all the others in the race did.

        Cross Creek, ***I*** know that. Just have to get the others on board. I'd rather turn him out and bring him back in the spring, but financially that probably isn't feasible for most of the owners. The track was also sloppy and he had never worked on anything but a fast track. It's hard to excuse away a 54-length loss though.
        It's a uterus, not a clown car. - Sayyedati

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        • #5
          Sounds like you have lots of things you can try. Always scope a horse that doesn't run as expected. Blinkers are probably in order as well.
          McDowell Racing Stables

          Home Away From Home

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          • #6
            And if it turns out racing is not his deal, there are folks out here (like me) who are facilitators of great new careers for TBs!
            SPAY/NEUTER/RESCUE/ADOPT!
            Little Star Chihuahua Rescue
            The Barkalicious Bakery
            On Facebook!!!

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            • #7
              Sorry about the race.

              On a side note, just curious, how did you deal with the day off decision?

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              • #8
                I thought from the title that your horse died during his first start. Glad to hear that he is OK but sorry you've had a bad start to his career.

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                • #9
                  Fingers crossed that you can get the other owners on board. I know you have a special connection with this guy and would rather not see him drop down to the bottom claimers.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Slewdledo View Post
                    I'd rather turn him out and bring him back in the spring, but financially that probably isn't feasible for most of the owners.
                    That's the first thing I thought of. Would never judge a race career by a 2yo's race 1. You are so right.

                    IMO, there are too many horses thrown away by partnerships and owners who'd rather make the horse pay his board beginning as a 2 year old - than do the right thing by him. If the partners can't even afford a winter turn out...
                    I would never create a model for a partnership that way.

                    If you need something that might help them hang on, maybe get some statistics from the DRF? I can't tell you the number of times I saw the PPs of successful 3yos who had 1 race as a 2yo and did nothing. (OK, OK, we're not talking TC, but successful nonetheless.) Of course most of them just needed the time to grow. As long as he was able to handle the training, that is a good sign.

                    Hope you can convince them... Oh, and I was involved w/ a horse that they initially wouldn't give a break to in the winter. The partners all thought he had to be near them in NY where the turn out was still pricey. Once they were convinced he should head to VA for the winter, he improved both record wise, and soundness wise. Hang in there...
                    But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson

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                    • #11
                      Are they new to the racing world owners? I know it's hindsight but I always encourage new owners to claim rather than breed one or buy a youngster. Anyway, dig around on Equinline etc and show them some race records of mediocre horses that failed miserably in their first start. I would stay away from the super stars, as that can get their hopes up even higher.

                      There's a lot to be said to have a fit horse, it seems unreasonable (money and time wise) to not give him another shot. Dropping him down in company might be a good idea, but no need to push him off the cliff right now.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Slewdledo View Post
                        Homebred 2YO out of our mare (1st foal from the mare for us; she had 1 or 2 previous foals by nothing stallions who did not race.)

                        Ran yesterday, absolutely abysmal effort. I don't think he handled the track but he has worked faster than he ran. Jockey had no excuses, said he ran for a quarter and then just stopped. Horse is just fine. The other owners are absolutely screaming and I understand that, they haven't put forth thousands to get the worst race we've ever had in 20+ years as owners.

                        I didn't want to run the horse at 2, figured he'd be much better next year after he matured. Also he'd be running at our home track rather than at a dumpy track several hours away. I was overruled. Now the trainer either wants to pull the plug on the horse's racing career or run him right back while dropping to the bottom (yesterday was a maiden special weight.)

                        Don't think I'm even seeking advice, just commiseration. I have helped find new jobs for lots of can't-run OTTBs over the past few years but they were always other people's horses, not my own that I raised from birth.

                        Wow -- what kind of trainer pulls the plug after one race?

                        Other than perhaps getting a new trainer, I can only tell you -- it can only get better from here!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Are his shins OK? That can be a pretty big excuse . Especially on a hard track. I imagine the rider eased him making his losing margin seem even worse. None the less he punched his ticket to easier company , no one is gonna claim him off of that defeat, if that is a concern for you. I hate it when your babies run bad, I do know how it feels. I assume your in Portand.
                          https://www.facebook.com/russellracingstable

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                          • #14
                            Why not meet in the middle and drop him down to a maiden claimer, but not bottom of the barrel. I would give him a good work out of the gate with company to simulate a race and get his confidence up and try again. We had a filly that worked unbelievable in the mornings and then ran and did the same thing - the winning race time on a fast synthetic track was slower than what she regularly worked on a very deep training track. She came back in a tougher MSW (with blinkers) and she ran great and was beaten 3 lengths in what amounted to her first real race seeing she didn't get involved first time. A lot of horses run shockingly bad first time out. It's too early to lose hope if you think it is truly a nice horse!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Come Shine View Post
                              On a side note, just curious, how did you deal with the day off decision?
                              I was thinking the same thing!
                              Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!
                              http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e350/Jen4USC/fave.jpg
                              http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e3...SC/running.jpg

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                              • #16
                                Not to sound too harsh, but...I think there is more of a trainer/owner problem than a horse problem, here!! Owners are ALWAYS PO'd/dissappointed when their "baby" doesn't win, but geez...two year old, first race, muddy track, apparently shipped to an "away"strange track...None of this points to a good performance. Not being there, I would hardly think that he bled or had breathing problems if he put forth so little effort. If he has pharyngitis, the trainer should have picked up on THAT when he was breezing at home. I'd also question his actual level of fitness and race preparedess by the trainer...maybe he wasn't REALLY ready to make his first start. The trainer may be covering his a$$ by blaming everything on the colt!! MSW can be a pretty tough race depending on where you are. With no siblings to race, no one will be worried about claiming him, so a drop in class is no sin. Better to run good in lower company, than last against the heavey heads!! I surely woundn't be worried about his future as a race horse based on the info you've given...even if he is YOUR first homebred runner. Please forgive my outspoken opinion, but in 40 years on the track I've seen this situation and met "first-time" owners like this!!!
                                Last edited by crosscreeksh; Nov. 16, 2011, 08:47 PM. Reason: add word
                                www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
                                Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Your trainer is either:

                                  - sharp and wants nothing to do with a horse that either has no heart, no brain, or no real ability

                                  - an idiot with no real skills

                                  Why is there little consideration for finding a much easier spot, ie- a maiden claimer? Why would he get claimed? If you want to race, it's the kindest thing you could do for him.

                                  Find a legit trainer who will give your gelding some time, and enter him in a realsitic spot.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18


                                    sorry, I should not laugh.

                                    but it pretty much is the story of my geldings first race. I got some nice chots of him all by himself down the front stretch...about, uh, 40 length behind the winner. He would have had a chance winning the next race though....

                                    to his excuse we trained him at home, he had a solid riding horse foundation. Then at the track he was all like "OH SHINY!!!"
                                    Plus the little girl riding him, well, lets just say it took us a while to figure out not to put a girl on him. (seriously, he was a chauvinist pig)
                                    I remember we started him at 2 (the race horse 2: rising ) but I can't remember if we raced him at 2 (been 20 years)

                                    I was going to tell you that he recovered and actually won some money....but then I checked his stats!
                                    He did make some, but not enough to buy a cup of coffee.....
                                    Originally posted by BigMama1
                                    Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                                    GNU Terry Prachett

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Seriously, give him some time off, even just a few weeks, run him back in lower company. Lots of horses in lots of disciplines have severe baby brain their first time out. (Old OTTB had a total mental breakdown at his first show--"OMG WHAT ARE THESE STRANGE COLORED STICKS OVER WHICH I AM TO JUMP? AIIIIEEEE!") First real race, first real company, first time on that track, MSW is not always easy...drop him into a maiden claimer and let him try again now he's got the first-time sillies out. You can look at lots and lots of equibase charts and see a horse where their first start is a bomb in a MSW and their next is a claiming race and they finish much better.

                                      As for getting claimed, *possible*, but most of the time people only claim horses who are making money. I don't think, looking at his record, Lucky ever changed hands in a claim in 64 starts, even when he was *making money* in AOCs or coming off an allowance win. There are lots and lots of horses available--unless the horse is a sibling to something spectacular or has been posting amazing works, why would someone drop a claim on him after he ran last his only other time out?
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                                      • #20
                                        How was the mother on the track? When did she break her maiden? Distance? Track conditions? How about the sire, did he show promise as a 2 year old? On an off track? Distance? Progeny? Any similarly bred progeny? Is he in a growth spurt/ungainly? Nervous in the paddock/wash out? "Looky", need blinkers, a shadow roll? How's the shins feel? How many works? What is he doing in the morning? So many unanswered questions, things that horsemen would look at and consider before pulling a plug or dropping a horse. Does the trainer have a history of success with young ones? As for precedent of great horses that were shelved as 2 year olds, show the other owners Zenyatta. Sometimes, they just need to be allowed to mature.

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