Friday, November 27, 2009

Racing aged equines

It's Churchill Downs, not the wheelchair races!
Holy cow, you guys haven't taken this one too far now, have you?

Just real quick, but I thought I would post the following comment as an example of some sanity:

Painted Hill says:
November 24, 2009 at 12:47 am
Sorry Fugs, but I’ll have to disagree. 12 is not too old to run, especially without the wear and tear of constant training. She hasn’t been beat up and used up. Look at the Grand National horses, they race over much tougher courses often into their teens…(not that i am a fan of the GN, just sayin…). And yes, they are usually kept fit over their life, but horses don’t lose fitness like people do, you can bring them back if you do it right. As far as losing bone density with pregnancy, that’s usually from lactation, from her record, doesn’t look like she ever had a viable foal…. And yes, she would also lose bone density sitting around, but the wonderful thing about bone is that it responds to stress by remodeling. She’s in work and likely has had some remodeling going on. Do you have any evidence that physiologically speaking this is a bad idea? I’d love to see it. Is she fit? Maybe, you don’t know what kind of workouts she’s been getting. Maybe she is , maybe she isn’t. The track vet has watched her work and has pronounced her OK to race. trust me Dr Peckham didn’t dod that because he believed in the dream, in fact I’m sure he would have loved to find a reason for her not to race, but he did not find one. Will she win? probably not, but so what. If the mare loves to run and is sound and fit, why not let her…. As a former stakes horse (albiet a smaller one) she might have a chance against nickel claimers. And I’m sure the owner knows what a claiming race is, and I doubt anyone would claim this mare for 5K (other than someone trying to “save” her from racing). Anyone who knows anything about racing realizes that a fair number of horses you care about will be in the claiming ranks….just look at any race card, they aren’t full of stake and allowance races.
And there are two sides to every story, you assume the old owner is telling the truth (even though he himself changed his story…) He never said she could not race, only could not be bred. And trust me, that was NOT to protect the mare….. Now he doesn’t want her raced, but it’s not his mare. And did she get “fired” as you said, or laid off as is reported. There is a difference.
BTW, I’ve seen horses go back to the track and perform well after extended layoffs (many years), it is not impossible.
Oh and about that 17 year old, did you see why they brought him back? He was miserable being retired….He came back to life at the track. Wasn’t that a good thing? Yes, he now probably has a job that will keep him happier, he can stay at the track and not have to run…..
Maybe the owner is a little loopy, aand it’s probably not the smartest decision in the world, but you guys have gone over the edge on this one. People run horses on a dream all the time, you see at every track. As long as they aren’t hurting them, why not? Of course you all think this fragile grandma mare is gonna break down, but there really is no evidence for that….

I'd love to see some evidence too, because if I honestly believed this mare would break down - as evidenced by studies and facts, then I would have to agree that racing her were dangerous. Fact of the matter is, I don't think anyone knows whether or not this mare can be successful on the track, or whether or not she will break down. However I highly doubt that she runs a higher risk than those 2 and 3yo's of breaking down, when in condition. Everyone seems to be acting like this mare was taken from the pasture then run the next day when that most certainly was not the case. As far as this woman's age and apparent lack of experience - how do you know what she does or does not know? Or who is supporting and helping her train this mare? Horses do race into their double-digits, Grand Prix jumpers are considered young to be jumping in international competition at 9 and jump well into their late teens - 12 is not old for a horse and that mare is definitely still in her prime. If the track vets pass her, her works are approved, and she is sound and fit - why can't she race? Because we don't think so? We're not even there! How can we purport to know the situation!!

Now, on the other hand, a horse who gets "higher and higher" when ridden, as this mare's owner claims, just needs development - it does not necessarily mean she wants to race. However, I know one of our Thoroughbreds would absolutely love to return to the track. He is highly competitive, absolutely loves to run, and is excited just at the sight of a track. If it is not hurting the mare, well, then, so be it. Who are we to judge. Cathy, your posts lately have just been one bash after another - education? Where? My stomach turned when I read your sick excitement in the comment section at someone mentioning it possible to post this mare's owner's alleged comments from another board. How low can you sink? *sigh*

1 comment:

Nathalie Uy said...

We're just trying to find some color in this black and white world.
Keep on making inspiring article :)