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The ESPN and NBC Round Tables | Superfectablog v3.0

Racehorses in History

June: Fairy Chant
b. 1937
Why: A champion at 3 and 4, Fairy Chant won the Beldame twice. She was in the money for 26 of her 42 races.

Raceday 360


The ESPN and NBC Round Tables

ESPN did an admirable job with their round table; making it commercial-free was a nice added bonus. NBC’s was slightly more given to histrionics and that seemed to lead to less in-depth discussion — and poor Larry Jones had to appear on both. They seemed to address most of the ‘right’ issues, although ESPN stuck to the more concrete ones:

everyone keeps mentioning banning medication and it seems like a no-brainer, yet there’s no clear answer as to exactly what would have to happen to make it a reality. New York OK’d Lasix when it seemed that their ban on it was preventing a Triple Crown – would it not have made more sense to make everyone else adhere to their standards? Keeping drugs out of sales would be nice too.

Kudos to ESPN for actually listing out the typical medications used today in the US and even bigger kudos to Randy Moss for keeping the issue going. The NTRA’s Alex Waldrop (and I give him a lot of credit for taking part in the discussion) suggests that the current steroid testing protocol is working, but it’s still so piecemeal that it’s not enough.

It was interesting to hear that Team Valor’s Barry Irwin buys most of his horses overseas; Jim Squires also correctly pointed out that the sturdier lines are not the popular ones in the US. It wasn’t always the case; Broad Brush was the leading sire in the US in 1994, yet only four of his sons are standing at stud in the US today. His millionaire son, Concern, stands in Oklahoma – a long way from Kentucky. Only Include is standing in Kentucky (and at a ‘popular‘ price) ; Schossberg was sent to Chile. Maybry’s Boy is in New York, and Mongoose is in Florida. What changed in about 15 years to make a hearty stallion like Broad Brush less fashionable?

Artificial surfaces
Well done to Nick Zito for standing up for safe dirt surfaces – the fact remains that the research simply isn’t there yet to suggest it’s time to have the entire industry switch to synthetics. If and when it is, bring it on – but I don’t see the statistics that support removing a good dirt track in most cases.

Training & Racing Age
Hurray! Dr. Scott Palmer pointed out that early training is necessary to create soundness; I can’t understand why this issue is so often overlooked (or misunderstood) when there is ample research on it. Dr. Larry Bramledge tried to address the same issue, but it did not seem to be getting through as effectively to the NBC crowd (not surprisingly).

I would also suggest that the lighter schedules (both training and racing) could also be a major factor in making modern racehorses less sound — could it be that this has led to current breeding trends, rather than the other way around?

Waldrop clearly knows his real challenge is actually getting anything done and brings up toe grabs as an example – but the fact that only four racing jurisdictions have taken the NTRA’s advice in that regard is not encouraging (especially given how abundantly clear the evidence is that they are unsafe).

Randy Moss is right – everyone needs to compromise. I’d really like to know which ‘horsemen’ told him he ‘needed a muzzle.’

The highlight of NBC’s round table was Gary Stevens for calling for a commissioner to oversee the entire sport. It’s clear that there needs to be central authority — or at least major industry bodies like the Breeders’ Cup organization laying down their own rules as a first step — ideally beginning with banning medication in any of their races, including the Win and You’re In series.

Here’s hoping for a safe Preakness…

3 comments to The ESPN and NBC Round Tables

  • cowgirlup_3232005

    Synthetics tracks can be safer and then it can be harmful to horses. The only way it will be safer for a horse is if all the tracks across the U.S. goes to the Synthetics. Or they have to go to dirt. If you take a horse who only runs on synthetics then their bones their body’s can not handle the hardness of the dirt track. If the dirt track is all they know then their body’s will handle it better then a horse who hasn’t. It’s no different then a person who trains on an artificial track and then they try to run on the streets, it’s hard on your body. You have to train on the type of track you want to run on or else you will break down. Horses are not much different then humans sometimes people forget that.

    As for the training, there needs to be more training to build better stronger horses. I feel they don’t do enough training and that is why we have more breakdowns. I don’t believe it has much to do with the breeding. Take for instance my sister and I have the same mom and dad. We are build different. She is stronger on top then I am but I have more leg strength. We each got different strengths and weakness from our parents. Horses are the same you have to work harder on their weakness to build a stronger and better horse.

  • Superfecta

    The is simply not good evidence that any given synthetic track is safer than any given dirt track – nor does it follow that a type of synthetic track that works in one situation will work in another, given different climate conditions and maintenance – I wish it were that simple, but the fact remains that the jury is out.

    I agree training should be ‘harder’ though – there is plenty of good evidence in that regard – peer-reviewed study after peer-reviewed study demonstrates that a sound foundation builds better bone mass.

  • Horse Racing Betting

    I believe they are taking a step in the right direction banning steriod use. You know there is a lot of cheating in the world of horse racing, but restricting it might only cause more cheating to accure as only the honest stables will abide. Big Browns trainer claims that he dosnt see much benifit from these steroids, I would like to hear more about that. If they didnt have much of an affect on the horses performance, why does every stable use them?

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