Friday, June 26, 2009

My favorite breeder and trainer of all time is the immortal Federico Tesio who bred an incredible 21 Italiano Derby winners. Tesio also trained 20 of those winners and he worked diligently to improve the Thoroughbred in his breeding program. Nearco, Ribot and Donatello were three of his greatest racehorses.

Tesio also studied the writing of Burchard Von Oettingen - a world-renowned expert on Thorougbreds and breeding and Director of the Royal Stud of Trakehnen Germany. Tesio incorporated much of the writing of Oettingen into his breeding program.

Here is what the immortal Federico Tesio had to say about speed and staying power back in the day before they had speed figures.

“But it is impossible to establish mathematically where speed ends and staying power begins, for one horse may be in front at 1000 yards and left behind at 1001, another may be winning at 1001 and be beaten at 1001 ½, and the same may happen at any distance in any race.

“This would lead to the conclusion that distance does not exist – only time – distance being nothing more than an expression of time.

“…A jockey cannot make his mount cover a given distance in a faster time than the horse’s natural capacities allow. He can, however, make him cover it in a slower time.

“…This is the kind of mistake that jockeys frequently make in a race, because they do not realize that the distance should not be measured with a yardstick but with a stop-watch, or by the time it takes to cover it. The successful jockey is the one who is the best judge of the pace – the pace being the time it will take his horse to cover a certain distance.

“In an important race, the owner of a good horse which has been perfectly conditioned for the distance will always try to enter another horse to ‘set the pace’, in other words to ensure the fastest pace possible. Thus a rival horse whose speed is limited to shorter distances will not be given the chance of winning by a sudden sprint.

“It frequently happens, however, that a trainer has not entered a second horse good enough to set the pace for his favourite, …In this event the favourite must set the pace himself.

“To be in front and force the pace has its disadvantages, for the leading horse must act as a wind-breaker which involves greater effort, while those who follow in his wake tire less easily. But between two evils one must always choose the lesser, so in the absence of a pacemaker it is safer for a trainer to take the lead with his favourite, provided he is convinced that his horse can ‘stay’ the distance best, in other words that he can cover the whole distance in the fastest time.” – “Breeding the Racehorse” page 66-67

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