California Chrome is no Swaps
Above is the May 7th edition of the DRF, from the day Swaps won the Kentucky Derby. Click to enlarge.
Day before the Derby: light jog like Chrome?
Nope. 5 furlong work.
Leading up to the big race: a leisurely week of jogging and light galloping like Chrome?
Nope. 6F race 7 days prior to the First Saturday in May.
Before that race? Another light week of ‘freshening up’?
Nope. 4F blowout the day before AND a 5F breeze 3 days prior to that.
The final 10 days before the Derby summarized:
California Chrome – a single 4F work at Los Alamitos and perhaps 2 cumulative miles of galloping.
4 race speed furlongs total.
Swaps – a 6F race, 3 works totaling just shy of 2 miles, and undoubtedly 10+ miles of galloping.
20 race speed furlongs total, 6 of them in an actual race.
It’s well known that Chrome’s trainer Art Sherman was the exercise boy for Swaps during these times. I would love to ask him why he thinks trainer Mesh Tenney prepared Swaps in such a manner for a grueling Triple Crown season, and why today Mr. Sherman decides not to do the same?
Regardless of what happens over the next few weeks, California Chrome is no Swaps and horses today pale in comparison to those of yesteryear when looking at total volume of exercise. And when you limit exercise, you limit response to exercise – i.e. improving both durability and stamina. If you were to measure the bone density of both Swaps and Chrome during their respective 3yo campaigns you would see a marked difference.
TODAY’S HORSES BEGIN TO SHOW THEIR WARTS PAST 9 FURLONGS AND ON SHORTER REST
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then I should feel pretty good about myself this morning. However, if the ‘imitator’ does such a better job of things, then perhaps he should get all the credit. Enter European racing analyst James Willoughby.
First here are a few posts I did years ago detailing the ever slowing times of our 10F Kentucky Derby and our 12F Belmont Stakes:
As you can see, my data analysis and presentation resembles a Joe Biden speech: frighteningly simplistic smatterings from an old man who seemingly rides the fenceline bordering illiteracy. Thank goodness for Mr. Willoughby who in April of 2014 put these trends into a much cleaner presentation:
Read it. Please.
Things seemed to have taken a turn for the worse in the 1980’s. Right about then is when Lasix became pervasive (and legal), while at the same time quarter horse cowboys invaded the thoroughbred game with their ‘less is more’ philosophy on conditioning and their ‘more is more’ view of stable size. Now those very studs are failing to impart stamina to their offspring – perhaps because their stamina was derived from pharmaceutical means rather than through genetic responses to intense conditioning practices. I’m told the concept of environment affecting genetic change is termed Epigenetics.
Regarding California Chrome: splendid raw times and Beyer figures in California up to 9F when well-rested. No argument there. More from the author:
I really have nothing to add. It’s apparent that at 10 and 12 furlongs the American thoroughbred is in decline. The more we rest them and the less we test them in training; the slower they become over longer distances.