Turf Miler Conditioning: AU vs USA – Pierro vs Animal Kingdom
Pierro prepares for the Group One Caulfield Guineas over 1600m by going his final eighth in 10.38 seconds, FOUR DAYS before the big race. Video here:
Occasionally the stars align and we have the opportunity to compare apples to apples around the world in terms of racehorse conditioning, and it provides quite a contrast in styles. Have you ever seen a US turfer prepare for a Grade 1 by breezing a final furlong in sub 11sec the week of the big event? Yet it happens Down Under all of the time, and here is why it’s a good thing:
Of course, Animal Kingdom is still 3 weeks out from his BC Turf Mile, but we know what we’ll see from him based on past efforts. And when it comes to the frequency of racing, Pierro is no outlier – here are the past performances for today’s race in Australia (jump ahead to Race 7):
10/14/2012 – G1 over 8F
9/28/2012 – win at 8F
9/1/2012 – win at 6F
4/28/2012 – win at 8F
4/14/2012 – win at 7F
4/7/2012 – win at 6F
Today will be his 3rd race in 6 weeks, and earlier in the spring he ran 3 times in a span of just 21 days.
Meanwhile Animal Kingdom again races off a huge layoff – details in earlier post:
So, Australian turf sprinters train faster and closer to their races, and they race more frequently, but US horses racing over turf breakdown 3x more often:
And yet the focus here in the US is on anything other than equine conditioning as the latest headlines attest:
NY OFFICIALS ADOPT NEW SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS
These initial rule changes – allowing voiding of claims of horses that are vanned off the track after a race, requiring disclosure of corticosteroid administrations and treatments to stewards and claimants, expanding the Racing and Wagering Board’s out-of-competition drug testing program, implementing stricter and lengthier timeframes for the administration of corticosteroids and Clenbuterol before a race – will apply to all Thoroughbred racing in New York state, including Saratoga Race Course, Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Finger Lakes Race Track.
Of course, Australia doesn’t have strict drug laws to ‘protect’ their equine stars – as there is no need because nothing is allowed on raceday. Pretty simple solution.
We need more damn race-appropriate exercise, the numbers don’t lie.
But no, only our 2yo breeze up sales stock goes as fast as Pierro – and they are nowhere near ready to do so in many cases.
UPDATE: Pierro suffers his first loss, as he’s run down by All Too Hard in the last 50m. After a slow start from the 7th position and a 4 wide trip uphill through the first turn, the formerly undefeated colt had a bit of his closing kick sapped. The next big race for him is at Moonee Valley, in just 2 weeks time.
Do you think Animal Kingdom will ever run again after early November, win or lose?