Carl Nafzger is a True Supertrainer
“With Unbridled, when I was in the test barn after the Belmont, I damn near cried because I realized I ran a short horse.” What?!?
Nafzger routinely breezed Unbridled a half mile the day before each big race, including the Kentucky Derby, and even this aggressive preparation still results in a ‘short’ horse?
More from Mr. Nafzger in today’s Paulick Report-
“Real Triple Crown horses thrive (on the spacing of the races). I made a mistake between the Preakness and Belmont with Unbridled: I ran a short horse in the Belmont. He was thriving, and I said I’ve got to take it easy on him.”
So ‘taking it easy’ on Unbridled cost him a Belmont victory, yet most trainers today routinely take it much easier on theirs in the months leading up to such a grueling 3yo campaign. Mr. Nafzger learned the hard way that when a horse is thriving, that is precisely the time to push forward for more development, rather than resorting to 4-5F ‘maintenance’ works. In reality, often those workouts ‘maintain’ nothing other than mediocrity.
Watch closely as many horses fail to breeze AT ALL between the 3 TC races this year, much less a half mile the morning before either race. Even a horse as immensely talented as Unbridled, with all the work put into him, came up short on conditioning in this Hall of Famer’s eyes. Yet today’s trainers believe a 4F work 7-10 days out is sufficient with their talented stock.
As a result I believe all of today’s 3yo are short, and it will be once again evident as even the winner struggles home on rubber legs at CD in 4 weeks – and is likely absent from the starting gate 5 weeks later in NY.