2yo’s in Training Sales - A change of heart

Training Sale 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire


I used to be a fan of two-year-olds in training sales. I used to enjoy picking out which horses I thought would turn out to be successful runners. I also liked being able to use their experience at these sales as a handicapping tool as first time runners early in their juvenile year. My thinking has changed in recent years. 

I can no longer ignore what pushing these young horses to make a splash at these sales can do to the horse’s overall well being. Sure, some horses handle it just fine, but many do not. They are trained too hard, too early, and they are expected to look good by means of whatever way possible. Not to mention the fact that the accelerated training schedule, just to make them stand out for the sale, probably gives little indication of what type of race horse they might become at maturity. Maturity being the key word. These sales have no concern with ultimate potential, and everything to do with the almighty dollar.

I now look at a two-year-old in training sale as a poster child for what is wrong with American breeding. I’d much rather see a healthy four-year-old, still on the improve, rather than a youngster giving his all, way too young, for the sole purpose of turning a profit.

Please tell me why I’m wrong. 


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Older Comments about 2yo’s in Training Sales - A change of heart...

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Dee i can appreciate your concern for the horses themselves. First of all before i get to my main point. Top Billing did not break down because he ran as a 2yo. He broke down because the people who called the shots. They decided to run him 3 times in less than a 2 month period over a cement based track.hen he got hurt prepping for the 4t time over the same race track. Guess what,he is a 3 YO now. Back to my original point. If you limit the years a horse can run. Please answer me,who will be buying all these nice horses that people have come accustomed to watching run. Without their money supporting the game,do you think any of these horses would be stars. No they would not,because the BC Classic would hold a purse of $250,000 instead of 5 million. I wish that one day ,if you are not already,be an owner of young horses.Then if you were lucky enough to pay big dollars for a baby,see the reaction on your face when someone tells you when to race them. Look at the bright side,you can always turn them into expensive pets
Breezing babies at sales is barbaric. I have no problem with a two year old in training being properly conditioned by a caring and knowledgeable trainer. My personal research has led me to believe two year olds can and do have long careers, and according to some research, longer careers than those that start their racing careers later. The practice of breezing babies at sales is not at all the same thing, and the practice, IMHO, should be abolished.
I think the proof is there that 2-year-olds should not be racing. New Year's Day is retired at 2, Bayern is hurt, and so is Top Billing. I think that is proof enough that horses should not be on the track so early.
Sorry that should be "they did NOT need to buy at the sales."
I agree with the issues of two yr olds racing. Years ago, all you had were homebreds. Owners had farms that turned out their youngsters from homebreds sires or swapped breeding seasons. They need to buy at the sales. Also racing was year round in the same way it is now. Racing shut down with the Display handicap up north. Then Florida racing picked up later and allowed several weeks between where the youngsters were sent back to the farm to be turned out, be horses and grow up. That changed with simulcasting and OTB in the 70's. Now you have year round racing, excessive use if drugs to keep the animals going and more importantly fewer owners owning a farm and raising homebreds. Now the horses come from the sales ring and because ofthe high prices, they need to race extensively as youngsters to even get back the purchase price and expenses. Also one should not underestimate the tax law changes that came in the 80's which limited deductions and increased the number of years to show a profit in order to take expenses. These changes have had a terrible impact on the business to the detriment of the horses.
Your points have some merit, no doubt. I believe the "wrong" part is trying to condense your thoughts on the subject to three paragraphs, as if it's just a passing thought. Unfortunately, your thoughts come across as a contradiction because handicapping in and of itself, is only about the almighty dollar.
In total agreement with you, Brian.
I agree .. it has to change.. you are 100% right but until the people in the industry WANT this change.. it will never happen. They almighy dollar will win out every time regardless of how many young horses break down and die
Totally agree Bryan! Something needs to be done about this. Greed!
you're not wrong. ... the large amounts of breeding is what is wrong. I have adopted 4 horses from our local shelter in the last 16 months. .. that is what is wrong. .
I agree with you, Bryan. I particularly feel for the horses that have gone through sales as weanlings, yearlings, then 2 y/os (or just the latter two). Each time they go through a sale they go into bubblewrap mode, lest their coats get bleached or they get dinged up while getting turned out. By the time they get to 2 y/o sales they are in full on training and aren't getting turned out at all anymore and are forced to be at their peak fitness months before horses that were sold just as yearlings or horses that will be raced by their breeders. Another interesting pattern during the Ramsey-mania is that most of the Kittens that make headlines are Ramsey homebreds who haven't ever gone through sales rings. Mr Ramsey thinks that is one of the key factors to their success, whether it is or not is anyone's guess
You are no where near wrong. There are videos on U-Tube that show how right you are
Isn't it always about the money and not just in racing!
You're not wrong. IT is wrong. It's all about early return on investment, and I think it stinks.
I agree with you Brian

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