Sunday, September 12, 2010

Book Update, Federico Tesio and Emotional Conformation

Kerry and I have received a lot of good feedback about the book. Claudia Mesquita Kayala of the Haras Cuatro Piedres bloodstock in Uruguay wrote:

"When I started reading [the book] it was already like magic... It was like I was the one writing your words... so linked and aligned with my experience and thoughts that I was reading and at the same time, listening to my own voice inside, since I don´t know yours.... and wondering how "mine" are also the things you express in your Preface. I truly believe that this is among the most important books on the equine, for the equine and the entire industry of horse, to have ever been written. Your insightful measures in explaining the horse not only will impact breeding selections and sales, but also how we train and comprehend the horse. So I write to you Mr. Thomas, to thank you for this effort, it will eventually reach the entire world."

Pine Knoll Farm Inc., an Equine educational facility of Lexington, Kentucky has also provided a link about the book on their website.

Kerry and I are exploring all options to have the book published - traditional book publisher, vanity press and self-publish. In the meantime, for the "techno junkies" and in keeping with the new trend in technology, an account has been established where e-book downloads are available at:

Kerry is a unique individual who studies the psychology and Emotional Conformation of the horse. His research is cutting edge and, in my opinion, it will someday have a big impact on every aspect of – buying, selling, breeding and training – how the horse is handled. His website is nearing one million hits and he has a good following on Facebook.

The book takes the reader on a journey of discovery of the intimate drama of life in the equine circle. Kerry’s research of horse psychology shows how nurturing the Natural Herd Dynamic of the horse in the domestic environment is vitally important for its health and well being. Emotional Conformation is the most important factor that can determine if the horse has the heart and mind of a potential champion. Behavior triggers and Behavioral Overcompensation can be tremendous obstacles, preventing the horse from living up to its fullest potential.

In addition, the book illustrates how the importance of nurturing the Natural Herd Dynamic of horses in the domestic environment and Emotional Conformation was also important to illustrious individuals such as Federico Tesio and Burchard Von Oettingen, the Director of Germany’s Royal Trakehnen Stud from 1895 to 1911.

Here's a sneak peak at the introduction to Chapter five:

Emotional Conformation

Breeding for Behavior
in the Hybrid Thoroughbred

“A horse gallops with his lungs, perseveres with his heart and wins with his character” – Federico Tesio

If anyone ever knew how to embrace the magic within the spirit of the horse, it was Federico Tesio.

Of all the renowned breeders and trainers of thoroughbred racehorses, Tesio was one of the greatest. Tesio’s passion for the horse began at an early age – he spent a lifetime researching and studying everything there was to know about the horse, especially the Thoroughbred.

As a young man, Tesio traveled to South America where he broke horses with Gauchos on the Argentine Pampas. Tesio also was a gentleman jockey, participating in over 500 steeplechases throughout Europe. As a breeder and trainer, Tesio was known as the “Wizard of Dormello” and year after year, his stud farm produced one classic champion thoroughbred after another. Tesio knew how to pick the right bloodlines, breeding the best to the best and his bloodstock program did much to improve the breed of the Thoroughbred.

Of course Tesio had his share of breeding failures, but, for the most part, Tesio knew how to put together all the puzzle pieces of the Equine Circle.

In addition to his vast knowledge of bloodlines and pedigrees, perhaps one of the most important reasons for Tesio’s success as a breeder of thoroughbred racehorses is that he researched and studied the psychology of the horse. Or, stated another way, Tesio studied the Emotional Conformation of the horse and Emotional Conformation is the final piece that completes the puzzle of the Equine Circle.

Tesio understood this and he specifically looked for it, spending hour after hour at auctions studying the physical and Emotional Conformation of the horses he planned to purchase. …

Franco Varola, a noted writer and author instrumental in the development of Dosage, knew Tesio. Varola wrote in his book The Tesio Myth that Tesio often spent hour after hour studying the behavior and reactions of his horses as they moved about in the Dormello stable yard. A close review of Tesio’s own writing shows that not only was he a brilliant pedigree analyst, but, he also was an astute student of horse behavior.


The Thoroughbred is a hybrid animal. The abrasive nature of man selectively breeding for speed and stamina and nature’s quest to breed for survival are antagonistic one to another. As a breeder, we can try to breed the perfect horse from a physical conformation standpoint but if we ignore the forces of natural selection at work in our breeding stock, we will produce an inferior animal. If we believe that a thoroughbred produced from a mating selection could be a Triple Crown winner, but it is a flop on the racetrack, that is because the Emotional Conformation was not taken into account in the breeding or, indeed, the development of that equine athlete.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Arlington-Washington Futurity Racing Roundup

The 76th running Saturday of $100,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity (G3) at Arlington Park is shaping up to be wide-open as three of the eight horses entered are still maidens and none have ever run in a stakes race.

Trainer Donnie Von Hemel is looking to score his second victory in the Futurity when he sends Caleb’s Posse to the starting gate as the 5-2 lukewarm morning-line favorite. Von Hemmel won the Futurity in 1994 with Evansville Slew.

In his second start at Arlington on August 14, Caleb’s Posse broke his maiden in a 5 ½ - furlong sprint en route to a 2 ¾ -length win over runner-up Major Gain (3-1) who starts from post three and is one of three entries for trainer Wayne Catalano.

In his maiden win, Caleb’s Posse earned a 97 Brisnet Speed Figure, the highest of all entered in the Futurity. A sharp bullet work out on September 3 indicates that Caleb’s Posse should be ready to run another good race.

This will be Caleb’s Posse first attempt at a mile but with Posse as his sire and Slewacide as the damsire, he should have enough speed and stamina to get the distance. To date, Posse’s 2-year-old runners have 11 wins in 24 starts for 46 percent.

Caleb’s Posse is a descendent of the Northern Dancer sire line and since 1990 there have been three horses from that line to win the Futurity: Dixie Band (2009), Cactus Ridge (2003) and Cowboy Dan (1997).

Of Catalano’s three entries, Impersonator (9-2) is the one I like the most.

Impersonator comes into the race with a maiden win in a 7-furlong sprint at Arlington on August 22. Impersonator earned an 88 speed figure for that effort and has improved in both of his previous two starts.

Like Caleb’s Posse, Impersonator is a descendent of the Northern Dancer sire line and the juvenile runners of his sire, Tale of The Cat, have 12 wins in 29 starts for 41 percent.

In his maiden debut, Wheemaway (12-1) was a fast-closing finisher who came from sixth place at the top of the stretch to finish third – 2 ½ -lengths behind Impersonator. Wheemaway earned an 84 speed figure and has room to improve off of that effort.

I really like the pedigree of Wheemaway and he’s my top long shot pick.

His sire, Victory Gallop, won the Rebel Stakes (G2) and Arkansas Derby (G1) en route to a win in the 1998 Belmont Stakes (G1). His grandsire, Cryptoclearance, ran second to Bet Twice in the Belmont Stakes (G1) and his damsire, Pine Bluff, also won the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby en route to victory the 1992 Preakness Stakes (G1).

Victory Gallop’s juvenile runners have three wins in 14 starts for 21 percent.

Wheemaway is a descendent of the Mr. Prospector sire line and since 1990 there have been five horses from that line to win the Futurity: Got The Last Laugh (dead-heated with Officer Rocket, 2006), Sorcerer’s Stone (2005), Most Feared (2002), Publication (2001) and Hansel (1990).

Rough Sailing comes into the race as the 4-1 morning-line third-choice for trainer Michael Stidham.

Despite traffic problems at the three-sixteenths pole, and running 6-wide, Rough Sailing came from seventh at the top of the stretch to win his maiden debut, going one mile on the turf, by 2-lengths at Arlington Park on August 8.

The time for the race was a slow 1:42.32 but if jockey Michael Baze keeps Rough Sailing out of traffic problems and closer to the pace he should be competitive.

With Mizzen Mast as his sire and Woodman (sire of 1990 Futurity winner Hansel) as the damsire, Rough Sailing has the breeding to easily get the distance of the Futurity. Mizzen Mast’s juvenile runners have five wins in 11 starts for 45 percent.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Del Mar Futurity Stakes Racing Roundup

J P’s Gusto, with three straight stakes victories to his credit, will go to the starting gate Wednesday as the 5-2 lukewarm favorite in the 64th running of the $250,000 Del Mar Futurity (G1).

In his second start, J P’s Gusto broke his maiden by winning the Willard Proctor Memorial Stakes at Hollywood Park on May 31. Since then, J P’s Gusto has won the Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes (G3) and the Best Pal Stakes (G2).

Like Three Chimneys Hopeful winner Boys At Tosconova, J P’s Gusto is a descendent of the Man O' War sire line and since 1990 there have been three horses from that sire line to win the Del Mar Futurity: Officer (2001), Future Quest (1995) and Bertrando (1991).

J P’s Gusto is the only graded stakes winner of his sire Successful Appeal and his 2-year-old runners have eight wins in 16 starts for 50 percent. A sharp work out at Del Mar on September 4 and it appears that J P’s Gusto may be ready to run another good race.

A long shot I like is Riveting Reason (12-1) who, after two starts, is still a maiden. But, with a third place finish in his debut and a second in his last race, he has room to improve off of those efforts.

His Brisnet Speed Figures have improved with each race. A sharp bullet work out on September 4, a few ticks faster than J P’s Gusto’s, and Riveting Reason should be ready to run a good race.

Riveting Reason is a descendent of the Mr. Prospector sire line and since 1990 there have been five horses from that line to win the Futurity: Lookin at Lucky (2009), Midshipman (2008), Horse Greeley (2006), Souvenir Copy (1997) and On Target (1994).

His sire, Fusaichi Pegasus, won the 2000 Kentucky Derby and his juvenile runners have 5 wins in 24 starts for 21 percent.

Indian Winter comes into the Futurity with half-length win in his maiden debut at Del Mar on August 21 and has been selected as the 5-1 morning line third-choice for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Indian Winter received an 87 speed figure for that effort and if he moves forward he should be competitive.

Indian Winter is a descendent of the Nasrullah sire line and three horses from that sire line have won the Futurity since 1990: Icecoldbeeratreds (2002), Worldly Manner (1998) and River Special (1992).

Indian Winter’s sire is Indian Charlie and his grandsire In Excess sired Futurity winner Icecoldbeeratreds. Indian Charlie’s juvenile runners have six wins in 12 starts for 50 percent.

On paper, it would appear that Western Mood (7-2) is going backward instead of moving forward. But in his three previous starts, Western has never been off the board and he has the breeding to be competitive in the Futurity.

Western Mood is a descendent of the Mr. Prospector sire line and his grandsire Forty Niner sired the Futurity winner On Target. Western Mood’s damsire, Deputy Minister, sired the 1999 Futurity winner Forest Camp.

West Acre is the sire of Western Mood and his juvenile runners have 6 wins in 9 starts for 67 percent.

A sharp work out on September 2 indicates that Western Mood may be ready to run a good race.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hopeful, Simcoe Stakes Racing Roundup

The Grade One, $250,000 Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes is the Labor Day marquee race for 2-year-old thoroughbreds at Saratoga but the $125,000 Simcoe Stakes at Woodbine appears that it will be a better wagering race.

Boys At Tosconova is the 8-5 morning line favorite in the Hopeful Stakes and heads a field of seven. However, three of those horses, Nacho Saint, Chipshot and Printing Press had been cross-entered and competed in the Sapling Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park on Saturday.

Boys At Tosconova looks tough in this spot and most likely I’ll pass on this race. But if the odds stay where they are or go higher on Stay Thirsty (4-1) and Settle For Medal (12-1) I may play a small win, place wager on them.

Report Card Time heads a field of 12 as the 3-1 morning line favorite in what appears to be a wide open field of the Simcoe Stakes.

Report Card Time comes into the race with a 5 ¼ -length gate-to-wire win in a 6-furlong turf sprint at Woodbine on August 14. His sire, Kafwain, is a son of Cherokee Run and offspring of that sire line do pretty good when stretching out to middle-distance races. Of his 2-year-old racers, Kafwain has eight winners in 11 starters for 38 percent.

Two long shots that I like in this race are Runaway Whiz (15-1) and Gangster Rap (9-2). Both horses are sons of Old Forester who has four winners in 13 of his 2-year-old starters for 31 percent.

In his last race, Runaway Whiz rallied nicely in the stretch to finish in third place. His Brisnet Speed Figure (86) is tied as the fastest among the other starters. Runaway Whiz adds blinkers and he is ranked second on the Brisnet Prime Power. That’s an angle I like to play – a long shot ranked in the top three prime power numbers.

Gangster Rap comes into the race with a narrow three-quarter length loss in his 5 ½ - furlong maiden debut on July 25. Terry Jordan, who is 28 percent for the meet, takes over as trainer and steps up Gangster Rap into stakes competition for his second start.

Gangster Rap is tied with Runaway Whiz with an 86 speed figure and he is ranked second in the Prime Power rankings.

Another long shot I like, probably for the bottom of the exotics, is the 20-1 Hippolytus who was blocked at the top of the stretch in his last race but still managed to finish second – beaten by only 1 ¾ lengths. His sire, Philanthropist, has two winners in 11 starters for 18 percent.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sapling Stakes Racing Roundup

Trainer Michael Maker is looking to score his first win Saturday in the 77th running of the $150,000 Sapling Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park when he sends the 3-1 morning line favorite Maybesomaybenot to the starting gate.

Maybesomaybenot heads a field of nine horses that have been entered in the Sapling Stakes. However, Nacho Saint (7-2), Chipshot (4-1) and Printing Press (15-1) have been cross-entered in the $250,000 Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes (G1) which is scheduled to be run on Monday at Saratoga.

I like Maybesomaybenot for the win. He’s coming into the race with two solid wins – both at 6-furlongs. In his last race, Maybesomaybenot scored a 1 ½ -length win over runner-up Nacho Saint in the Sanford Stakes (G2) at Saratoga. A bullet work out on August 25 and it appears that Maybesomaybenot is ready to run another good race.

Maybesomaybenot is a descendent of the Mr. Prospector sire line and since 1989 there have been seven horses from that line to win the Sapling Stakes: Western Smoke (2009), He’s Got Grit (2005), Don’t Tell The Kids (1999), Double Honor (1997), Smoke Glacken (1996), Boone’s Mill (1994) and Carson City (1989).

Maybesomaybenot’s sire, Sunday Break, won races from 7-furlongs to 8 ½-furlongs and was a pretty good middle-distance runner. His grandsire, Forty Niner, also was a good middle-distance runner and he won the 1987 Sanford Stakes.Sunday Break has six winners from 13 juvenile starters for 46 percent.

The possible defection of Nacho Saint and Chip Shot for the Hopeful would impact my exotic wagers as I, most likely, would use them with Maybesomaybenot in the exacta and trifecta.

Nacho Saint always puts in a solid performance. In three starts, he has three second-place finishes and a bullet work out August 29 indicates that he may be ready to run another good race.

Nacho Saint is a descendent of the Bold Ruler sire line and his sire, Yes It’s True, won the 1998 edition of the Sapling Stakes. Yes It’s True is the only horse from the Bold Ruler sire line to win the Sapling Stakes since Doubly Clear won it in 1984.

Chipshot encountered traffic problems in his last race, the Sanford Stakes, and finished a well-beaten fifth. But prior to that race, Chipshot had been progressing nicely and if he moves forward, I look for him to be competitive. A bullet work out on August 17 and another sharp work out on the August 31 and Chipshot should be ready to run a good race.

Chipshot is a descendent of the Mr. Prospector sire line. His sire, Peace Rules, also has 6 winners from 13 starters for 46 percent.

Vengeful Wildcat (9-2) is undefeated in two starts and comes into the Sapling with a 3 ½ -length win in the Tyro Stakes at Monmouth on July 25. If he continues to move forward, he should be competitive.

Vengeful Wildcat is a descendent of the Bold Ruler sire line and his sire, Vindication, has six winners from 23 starters for 26 percent.