Monthly Archives: March 2012
One of the most exciting things at ThoroEdge I have come across over the past several years is a nutritional supplement out of the UK called STORM. More info on this blog at http://www.thoroedge.wordpress.com/storm.
Recently, one of my clients was generous enough to allow me to publicize his latest success story at Parx outside of Philadelphia. The video link to the race is above.
Color Cam is a 3yo maiden with 5 races to his name, having previously been trained by Nick Zito. In his debut he ran third to a promising Mark Valeski, and in his next start he was soundly beaten by rising star El Padrino. Since then, despite a few class drops – he had yet to find the winner’s circle, and had never displayed any type of closing kick.
I’ll leave the rest to owner Jeremiah Kane:
“I started my 3 y.o. colt (Color Cam) on STORM after I purchased him in early January 2012. He’s been on the program about seven weeks now and his stamina and physical development have improved markedly.
Our first breeze at Palm Meadows was below average (0.51, 4F) and Ben Perkins (trainer) commented that he looked “short”. I purchased STORM and we started him on the supplement when we shipped north to PARX race course; recently I have tracked him routinely galloping about “2:10-2:20 miles” without exertion. His last breeze at 48.33 (4F) did not tax him a little bit and we went 6.5F on Sunday in a Mdn 25K race (4th race 3/25/12 at Parx). His burst of speed at the sixteenth pole was truly amazing where he overcame 3 lengths and won by 4 “going away”.
STORM will be a foundation of supplementation for my thoroughbreds in training. Thank you for your insights and products for thoroughbreds and keep up the great work.”
Here’s my take on the race featured above:
-After a less than ideal break, Color Cam settles in with the second group of horses – a good dozen lengths off the leader.
-By the time the quarter mile split is posted, he is no longer visible to the camera.
-We next see him coming out of the final turn in 5th place a few paths outside the rail.
-Into the stretch run, as the horses running in the 4 spots in front of him are all slowing down equally, Color Cam is the only one to make a move to improve his position.
-He starts his kick at the sixteenth pole, and proceeds to make up several lengths in just a handful of strides to win going away at the 6.5F distance.
STORM’s primary ingredient is beta-alanine, an amino acid that converts to carnosine in your horse’s muscles. During high intensity work, as lactic acid builds up and fatigue is imminent, carnosine acts as a buffer to the hydrogen ions flooding the bloodstream, delaying the onset of fatigue.
Most of us remember the days of the ‘milkshake’ which promised similar buffering capabilities, but is now illegal and was quite unpleasant for the horse to experience when dosing. STORM is simply added to the feed 2x per day and is highly palatable, not too mention 100% natural and legal. Amino acids such as beta-alanine are merely the building blocks of protein.
In over 3 years of blogging, I’ve only touted a specific product 2 times; the other was Niagara Equissage: http://www.thoroedge.wordpress.com/equissage. However, when the science behind a product is sound, and my personal experiences are so profound – I like to spread the word.
In the interest of full disclosure; I am unaffiliated with the Niagara Equissage team, but I do market and sell the STORM product.
A Bullet at Belmont-
Another of Mr. Kane’s racing stock has been on STORM for several weeks now and just posted his first work of the 2012 season: 3F in 35.86 – the fastest of 15 at the distance this morning by over a half a second!
Look for Farmer Jones to return to racing this Spring – he’s a router and not one to breeze so quickly (before STORM that is.)
Another Bullet at Belmont-
Farmer Jones again works fastest; this time at 4F versus 37 others:
Again, this is not a historically fast worker, and his trainer/jock is certainly not urging him past the norm, he just seems to be much fitter than he was pre-STORM at this stage of his conditioning.
Although fellow sprinter Black Caviar gets most of the attention, here is a pic of Hay List wearing a compression garment that aims to improve recovery after a strenuous gallop: “We have been using them on Hay List for a couple of weeks now and it makes a huge difference.” – trainer John McNair.
I had originally wondered if this technology would make its way into the equine world while watching the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, specifically the swimming events where world records were falling daily due to a new style of swimsuit called the LZR racer:
Eventually the LZR racer was outlawed because of its pronounced effect on race times. Now a human swimming doesn’t compare precisely to a thoroughbred running for a variety of factors, chiefly water provides much more resistance than does air. Hence, the improvement in performance will never be as large in horseracing.
So far, the equine version of the suit, made by Australian company Hidez, is only able to be worn post-exercise as a recovery aid. However, newer models to be worn during training sessions (and including HR monitors), are right around the corner.
What the hell are these things?
Despite the title of this post, these garments are more complex than a garden variety wetsuit. The human version is a one piece, and takes as long as 15 minutes to put on – and requires assistance to do so. The Hidez version for horses in Australia is comprised of several ‘panels’ each with a zippered seam and seems to be fitted within just a few minutes. The level of compression is also gradated, meaning there is more pressure applied to areas further from the heart.
What do they purport to do?
These act as compression garments, keeping the muscles warm and supported during and after exercise. This action also increases circulation and provides more oxygen to muscles, thereby reducing soreness and increasing recovery. The human version also greatly reduces drag on the body due to passing through water, a chief reason behind the vast and immediate improvement on decades old record times.
At only $900 or so, I hope to have my Hidez suit here in the states sometime this summer, although I am waiting on a model that can be worn during gallops and breezes. Then I will undertake an admittedly unscientific ‘study’ on the suit’s effect on performance much like I did a few year’s back with the Niagara Equissage:
As a training aid, I envision galloping and breezing further, faster, and safer than without the suit – resulting in improved oxygen delivery to working muscles, enhanced post exercise recovery, and increased neuromuscular efficiency.
After losing to wonder filly Black Caviar numerous times last season, Hay List will race next in the Group 1 $500,000 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 23 before returning to Sydney. He currently sports a nifty Timeform rating of 132.
‘The Great White Hope’ is probably my favorite pre-Derby motto. Congrats to the hometown connections behind Hansen here in Louisville – I only wish he was training at Churchill’s Trackside facility which I drive by everyday as trainer Mike Maker did for many years past. Oh well.
EDIT: As of March 10th, Hansen is headed to Trackside in Louisville to train up to the Spiral Stakes.
From Dr. Hansen’s blog:
“He (Maker) decided to take Hansen to the track the morning of the race to gallop about 3/4 of a mile. Hansen gets upset when he does not get to go to the track. So why not make him happy?”
Now by ‘gallop’ this could mean anywhere from 6F in either 13 or 18 second furlongs, but what actually happened isn’t that important, what is notable is that this excitable colt was taken out of his stall the morning of the biggest race of his life for exercise. I gather that since Dr. Hansen called attention to this as a ‘change’, that it was the first time it happened. Voila – he was much calmer in both the post parade and in the gate.
We have talked about the physiological implications of the ‘blowout’ for years in this space. For such a fractious colt, this exercise will cause contraction of the spleen – dumping 30% more red blood cells into the bloodstream. Now when he returns to his stall for his afternoon nap – the spleen re-fills with fresh blood. Without this session, he goes to the gate with 7 day old blood inside of that spleen, less than ideal for oxygen transport.
The connections viewed this practice as purely a psychological tool, but enjoyed the physiological aspects as well, no doubt. A blowout doesn’t need to be a Carl Nafzger style 4F in :50, it can be much slower for an excitable prospect.
LASIX ACROSS THE BOARD AT GULFSTREAM ON SUNDAY
Race 7 is a MSW for 3yo over 6F on the dirt with 9 first time starters in the field of 10. Kiaran McLaughlin sends 2 forward for Darley without Lasix, as does owner/trainer Fred Seitz with his entry. Seitz wins, and the 2 Darley horses place and show.
I bet this was the first ‘lasix-free trifecta’ in many, many years – decades, perhaps?
TOBA Graded Stakes Chairman Dr. David Richardson took some heat for backing off on the lasix-free 2yo races in 2012, but he also provided some of the best comments on the use of the diuretic in an interview in the Paulick Report:
“We suggest that most who discuss the merits of furosemide have not read the studies on its use. The study on furosemide from South Africa was a well-done study and demonstrated that the drug had a modest effect on reducing EIPH. The study showed 79% had some bleeding without furosemide and 57% of those receiving the drug also had bleeding. Thus, in the study group receiving no medication, 21% had no bleeding, 44% had Grade 1 bleeding (minor and does not affect performance), and 23% had Grade 2 bleeding (which would be borderline for adversely affecting performance). Therefore, the major benefit accrued to 12% of the horses. Is it wise to treat 100% of horses to achieve a 12% benefit? While long-term negative effects of furosemide administration on the breed can be postulated but are certainly unproven, it is clear there are major dissues of public perception about competing on medication. It is curious why we feel 2-year-olds racing in Graded Stakes races require this medication when racing in all jurisdictions around the world are able to function without it.”
FROM ACROSS THE POND, ANOTHER TRAINER USING PHYSIOLOGY TO GAIN AN EDGE
“So if you got that edge it has to help. The likes of Aidan O’Brien and Mike de Kock, some of the most revered trainers in the world, are seeing there is a benefit to using exercise science.”
I am lucky enough to be acquainted with a member of the team behind one of my favorite ‘rags to riches’ stories, the recently retired Blind Luck. This champion mare earned over $3 million on the track after starting her career as an $11,000 yearling purchase. See the video clip above featuring Blind Luck on the backside at Del Mar, along with her groom Cesar and Steve Bourmas – The Laserman.
Steve is the foremost expert on photobiostimulation massage in both the thoroughbred and standardbred worlds. This unique therapy uses a Class IV cold laser (retail price – $30k) in order to facilitate healing from the cellular level – as the specific light frequency tells each cell to produce more ATP/energy, thereby increasing cellular metabolism. Steve’s story is unique in that he began working with professional athletes in Chicago, primarily the NFL’s Bears and NBA’s Bulls, before moving onto horses.
Some of his accomplishments, other than those with Blind Luck, include:
- World Record 2-year-old trotter—Manofmanymissions
- 3-year-old pacer with a final quarter in a world record 24 seconds—Iam Bonasera
- 4 individual track records—Standardbred
- Breeders’ Cup Win—Dakota Phone
- Kentucky Derby Prep Stakes Win—Indian Winter
My favorite part of the video clip is from the 2:42-3:05 mark where Steve, after several minutes of therapy to warm up the muscles, stretches out the front legs of this great mare – safely increasing range of motion in an effort to improve stride efficiency/length. I’ve personally witnessed Steve spend well over an hour in a single session with a horse, moving over the entire body while pinpointing and treating problem areas.
There will be much more about Steve and his work in my upcoming book: ‘Internal Horsemanship’. Slated for e-release in March, and paperback in April – here is a sneak preview of the cover which is about 85% ready for printing: