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US Thoroughbreds Are Not Only Slower, But Also Breakdown More Often

What a mess: we are breeding for speed – but not getting it, and simultaneously our horses are getting injured more often while running route races in times similar to those of the 1940s. Unlike the Leonardo da Vinci quote above – some of us are indeed saying something about… Read More


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Older Comments about US Thoroughbreds Are Not Only Slower, But Also Breakdown More Often...

Amen to this article. Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen. Only thing I would add to the changes in training and the drugs would be the two year old in training sales, where such young horses are subjected to so much stress to show so much speed. Only one Triple Crown winner was sold at auction, and he was a yearling.
Our horses can't even finish their three yr old season let alone race any longer.
The inbreeding issue is interesting because while I agree it is a problem, interestingly enough in an article written by Nerud in Bloodhorse, he disagrees. Also harness horses are actually more inbred than thoroughbreds and yet many top horses race each week because they race in the qualifiers for the stakes races and then the finals are held the following week. Standardbreds are forced to retire at 14 yrs old and there are special races like Au Revoir pace which attracted 7 horses who were 14 and retiring.
So many issues today of unsoundness. BREEDING is an issue with too much inbreeding. And breeding for cheep speed and unsoundness. TRAINING. The training game as evolved in the wrong direction over the years. WAY WAY too many workouts, and WAY WAY too little races. I mean seriously? Which one gains your horse more experience? Workouts or Races? And six weeks between races is ridiculous. DRUGS. No horses in the olden days were on drugs. Many horses don't react well to drugs. PLUS, drugging a horse is abusive, and bad for the image of horse racing. I have said this before: I would like too see longer races, but the short races don't bother me to much. Horses today are just as good, just at shorter distances. What REALLY bothers me is the unsoundness. As a fan and horse lover, I hate seeing a horse injured and/or die.
I live near the Pinehurst harness track in NC. Many Standardbreds come here to winter instead of going to Florida. We have three tracks: half mile, 5/8ths, and a mile training track. If you go to the track you will always see the harness horses turned out in the paddocks. The harness people always let there horses be horses. One of the problems with the TBs is that they have hard works and few races. All the old time trainers, lie Jerkens, Nerud etc. all criticize the excessive hard works because they gave their horses shorter works and raced more. Many follow the views of Ben Jones who worked his horses no more than half a mile and raced them often. And of course drugs which is an entire issue in itself
High DEF Z Cam was that name
I have worked at standarbred tracks along with t-breds for the last 6 years. I hate to tell you how many babies and mature one I have seen put down. A standardbred card usually has from 10 to 14 races per card, and in those thousands and thousands of horses, only 4 did not make it back to their stall alive. Two had heart attacks and just collapsed, another broke a rear leg, but Saturday night we had one fly high in the air in a chain rection accident to come crashing down on its right hip. These animals stay perfectly still when down and we were surprised that two popped up so quickly of the three who went down on the backstretch. High De Z Cam, however, could not get up and one could tell that there was no movement back from the middle of his body. A winner of over $350K this poor fellow sadly had to be put down. 4 drivers scrambled out with only one getting a broken ankle. never is easy

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