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The Six Month Mark

Barbaro has been at New Bolton for six months now; there’s an in-depth article in the Baltimore Sun that sums up his recent activities. I was at New Bolton myself yesterday for some meetings and I picked up my own little Barbaro (right, apologies for the terrible photgraph, but my house is a bit dark), autographed by Dean Richardson. Have I mentioned I love my job?

There’s also an article here on how Barbaro’s injury is helping to advance the cause of synthetic tracks. (Is that another point in his favor for the Eclipse? I’m still mulling that one over). This quote from Gary Stevens was intriguging:

Recently retired jockey Gary Stevens thinks breeding could eventually be affected.

“This may be the savior to racing here in America, given what we have seen in the brief introduction we have had so far from meets at Turfway Park, Keeneland, and now beginning at Hollywood Park,” he told the Tim Wooley Racing Web site. “It seems to show that speed is not as important as stamina, and our overfocus on speed has not been good for racing.”

This excerpt is also worth highlighting:

Matz worked Round Pond on Keeneland’s Polytrack before the Breeders’ Cup and wasn’t hesitant to train Barbaro on that surface before the Kentucky Derby.

While he was at Keeneland last month, Matz saw “a lot of the horses who were running in the beginning of the meet, were running back two weeks later,” he said. “Recovery time is a lot quicker.”

If recovery time is indeed quicker and that becomes received wisdom in racing, that could help make the win-an-Eclipse-in-4-starts trend a thing of the past, which would certainly be a welcome change. Obviously, it won’t suit every horse — Larry Jones mentions Wildcat Bettie B as one who ‘can’t even gallop over it’ (and Lawyer Ron comes to mind as well) but he notes that she is the exception.

Speaking of Larry Jones, the DRF has a short article on his trainee Hard Spun’s pedigree. I’m looking forward to seeing some other local two-year-olds in the Laurel Futurity this weekend. And I seem to remember there’s some important horse in the Cigar Mile

Can I just make McDynamo Horse of the Year?

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3 comments to The Six Month Mark

  • ACL

    I’ve been thinking about this artificail track issue and I’ve come to the conclusion that it may in fact be bad for the breed overall. My thoughts are that the new track currently (and in theory) creates a bias for stalkers/closers. However, the obsession for speed is probably not going to be going away anytime soon. In addition, all the trainers have developed methods to encourage this, and the breeders have invested millions to encourage speed. It will not switch suddenly. In addition, I think that trainers and breeders will use the new track surface to train even harder for speed, because after all, the risks are lower, and now we can push the horses even harder. In addition, the breeders could make the horses even more fragile because they will be racing on synthetic surfaces which will mask these problems, but overall the quality of the breed will continue to become even more fragile.

  • Nellie

    I tend to agree re: artificial surfaces not doing much to improve the increasing fragility of the breed – because of the apparent “kindness” of the surface, the problems just won’t be visible, creating a false sense of security. I worry that this will provide an excuse to ignore the issue of soundness. It’s being called a big step in improving safety – my opinion is that it’s only a tiny one.

  • Superfecta

    Definitely interesting perspectives; we’ll have to see how it all plays out, but I certainly believe it could go either way — I hope that more breeders start taking real genetics data on board, but I don’t expect an overnight shift.

    Thanks for your comments, they are always welcome!

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