The problem is that we are breeding for sub- :10 furlongs for the sales ring. That kind of speed can't be sustained for any distance that TBs race - and is more in the Quarter Horse range. . I've heard "experts" complaining about "slow" early fractions for 10f races: :23 and change is SLOW for 10f? A horse that can string together five :23 quarters does 10f in 1:55 and 12f in 2:18. Doesn't happen!
Drosslemeyer's biggest problem was that he was a 10f plus horse in the 8-1/2 furlong era... At 10+ he was 6-4-1
I lived through the thrill that was the 70's and have agonized ever since. My theories? Lasix, emphasis on extreme speed in breeding (the quick refund on purchase price) and neglecting the staying blood (the stallions wind up overseas when they don't get those precocious babies). Another theory is the drought began with the influx of Quarter Horse trainers. They didn't and don't know how to prep a horse for a route, and I don't mean 9 furlongs. The ability to work 5f in 1:00 in no way correlates to the ability to get 10f. Horses no longer work more than a mile and don't work more than once a week. When my daughter was doing cross country, they ran six miles at speed every day to race only three miles. Today's TB trainers do just the opposite. No wonder we can't get a Triple Crown winner. They're not bred to trained for it anymore.
And it's not just the Illinois Derby, Brian - it's all the fillies as well. Genuine Risk only had one prep against the boys and finished third in the Wood. Sheprobably wouldn't have gotten in under the new system. CDI could have just restricted it to Grade I earnings over a mile at three and left it at that. It looks more like they're trying a new marketing approach and we'l have to see how it goes. Long gone are the days when a Canonero can come out of nowhere...and that's sad.
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