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[RC] breakdown of racing TB - Jennifer Adam

I have to jump in with a couple of comments.

I used to follow TB racing religiously and memorized lists of pedigrees just for fun. Found it fascinating - and the sight of those horses streaming down the backstretch never failed to bring tears to my eyes. I kept track of breedings and foal crops, and started to wonder where some of the foals ended up - those that had stellar breedings and *should* have been successful racers. Did a little poking around - and discovered the dirt hidden beneath the fabulous barns and expensive silks. The number of horses that break down on the way to the track is disgusting. Someone made a comment that they were surprised by the number that survive sound to race - it isn't that great of a number, IMHO. What happened to Barbaro was *not* an exceptional case - except for the fact that it happened on network TV during a highly touted race. At Arlington track just a couple of weeks ago, 16 horses broke down on the track in one week. 12 were euthanized. The track surface was examined and found to be fine.

I don't have the money to be involved in the TB industry so I can't speak about their training or conditioning practices. But I have done enough research to know that whatever they are doing is not good for the horses. And I think the commonly accepted practice of retiring studs from the track as 3 or 4 year olds and then breeding them for the next 20 years is a mistake. It is too easy to breed for traits like early muscle development, speed, and competitve aggression without taking care to breed for important characteristics like good feet, strong bones, and a sturdy body.

I cried when I saw Barbaro that day - I've always disagreed in principle with racing horses as 2 and 3 year olds, but I still wanted to see a Triple Crown winner. The Triple Crown is not worth losing so many horses. I will never watch another 3 year old race as long as I live. I'll wait for those few that are still racing as 6 year olds... and pray they stay sound. To relate this to endurance - that's what I like about endurance the most - the focus on building *long* partnerships and keeping horses sound and healthy for *miles and miles and miles*.

Just my 2 cents - thanks for letting me vent!


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