Monthly Archives: August 2011

Clues in the PPs After Another Euro Invasion at Arlington


Remember when Carl Nafzger would breeze his Derby winners 4F the day before the big race?

Well, those aren’t just the good old days in Europe, as that practice is still alive and well and contributed to yet another American bloodbath on the turf at Arlington Million Day this weekend.

Secretariat Stakes
*Win – Treasure Beach(GB) -workout not recorded (probably too slow for the clockers) but my spies on the ground in Chicago tell me he went a strong 3F, plus other O’Brien runners did make the PPs with this move.
*Place – Ziyarid(IRE) -3F in :39 on Friday morning and led the entire way before getting nipped at the wire, off at 8-1.

No other horse had a published workout later than August 8th, a full 5 days before raceday. This is why I think blowouts are so important physiologically:

The Beverly D
*Win – Stacelita(FR) – No such workout under Chad Brown, but 2 days before her win in the United Nations(G1) at Monmouth, French trainer Rouget worked her 5F in 1:00. Mr. Brown to his credit, commented after the win that she was so on top of her game when entering his barn, that he just played the hand he was dealt. Sadly, look for a backslide in form as she gets accustomed to American (lack of) conditioning.
*Show – River Jetez(SAF) – 4F in :51 the day prior under Mike de Kock for this shipper – and undoubtedly some time on the high speed treadmill:

The Arlington Million
*Win – Cape Blanco(IRE) -3F in :40 the day prior under Aiden O’Brien, a blog favorite due to his use of HR/GPS monitoring at Ballydoyle: “It is not just visual monitoring at Ballydoyle, there is also the scientific approach. Heart monitors are fitted to every horse and a GPS armband is on every rider. Data is logged, ready for examination.”

Cape Blanco was relegated to the 2nd string at Coolmore after following a splendid 3yo campaign with 4 consecutive out of the money finishes to begin 2011. He then comes to America and proceeds to twice beat our reigning turf champion Gio Ponti. Hmm, maybe some of our trainers should mimic the conditioning practices of Mr. O’Brien instead of the Supertrainer du Jour? (At least over turf…)

Over these 3 races, American trainers had 23 entries and no one breezed within 2 days of the race, the closest was Jonathan Sheppard with Fantasia(GB) going 5F in 1:00 3 days prior to The Beverley D. Could just merely be a coincidence? Keep in mind the extensive traveling schedule of the Euros as well and their accomplishments this weekend in Chicago are even more impressive; remember that they did it last year too.

Please come meet me in person September 7th and 8th in Lexington as I am a speaker at the 2011 Thoroughbred Pedigree, Genetics, and Performance Symposium hosted by the Bloodhorse:

I’ll actually be keeping my opinions on conditioning to myself, and be speaking primarily about the use of modern technology in order to objectively quantify thoroughbred performance.

We selectively breed for favorable genetic traits, but how can we tell if we got ‘em when the foals hit the ground?

Owners, breeders, and bloodstock agents have enough subjective opinions floating about, let’s add some hard data to the equation from the inside of the horse – heart rate and accumulation of blood lactate during moderate exercise being the key variables – and discover a heretofore missing piece to the puzzle of thoroughbred performance. My work is the intersection of heart size and biomechanics, moving off the paper and onto the racing surface.

Only 45 minutes of a formal presentation, but I will be at a table/booth from 9-5 both days, anxious to talk/debate with anyone willing.