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[RC] Regarding Horse Racing - Joell Dunlap

HorseCity.com published my essay about Eight Belles that attempts to debunk some of the misinformation about racing in general and about the breakdown of the filly in the Derby.  The San Francisco Chronicle printed it as well:

I've read Andy Beyer's article in the Times about breeding and I have to say that he's not entirely wrong, but once again, he misses the mark.  Endurance Riders have something very valuable to offer to the racing community;  it's the notion of aerobic training for horses.  Having spent 12 years on the track, I can tell you that the notion of putting in the long slow miles to build bone density and integrity into tendons, joints and ligaments is something that racing rarely employs. 

That's one reason that Michael Matz was able to explode into the racing scene from showjumping.  He trains at a training facility, not at the track where the horses will run and he's able to put more long slow miles into his horses.  It's TRAINING that has to change.  We are breeding better horses and implementing some foreign blood, particularly the South American breeding into the top Tb's.  But any horse will break down if he's expected to race 1 mile on Sunday and has only put in 20 miles (or less)  training during the previous month.

Eight Belles, and the ugly breakdown at Hollywood Park this past weekend don't have to be in vain.  There is an opportunity for trainers to re-think their training and produce sounder and possibly faster horses if only we can get the community to listen and to fire the trainers who continue to accept the status quo.

Just my two cents.

Joell Dunlap
Executive Director
Square Peg Foundation
Mission: to turn "I wish" into "I can."

"The small man build cages for everyone he knows. While the sage who has to bow down low when the moon is full, drops keys for the beautiful, rowdy prisoners." - Hafiz