Sunday, June 30, 2019

Horse Racing - An Industry At The Tipping Point: PART II

©2019 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.

The death of 30 horses at Santa Anita Park since January and the Stronach Group’s banning of Hall of Fame Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer from racing at Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields, highlights the intense scrutiny that the Horse Racing Industry has received in recent months.
In Part I, we looked at the observations of Burchard von Oettingen on the training of horses. In Part II, we’ll look at his observations on the improvement of the Thoroughbred. His eight proposals at the end are especially interesting.
Burchard von Oettingen was the Director of the German Royal Stud at the turn of the Twentieth Century. His book Horse Breeding In Theory and Practice has had a profound influence, as well as my study of Franco Varola and Federico Tesio, on how I view Thoroughbreds. I’ve written numerous blogs about them and chronicled their story in Horse Profiling: The Secret to Motivating Equine Athletes – a book I co-authored with Kerry Thomas, founder of the Thomas Herding Technique.
Here’s a look at what Oettingen wrote in Horse Breeding In Theory and Practice (pages 194-205).

Conclusions and Propositions as to the Improvement and Breeding of Thoroughbreds

The great and important duties which the Thoroughbred accomplishes in the breeding of other light horses, justified, and even also obliged, those people who stood outside the domain of Thoroughbred breeding, to criticize the basis of all its performances, and breedings, on which it is built up, and on which it continues. Our present day Thoroughbred is the outcome of race propositions, and of the manner of breeding and training, which those propositions entail. These propositions are made on human understanding, and are influenced by human misunderstanding, and what is much worse, by many side interests. Only by clever and purpose-answering race propositions, as well as by reasonable breeding and rational training, shall we be able to still more improve our Thoroughbreds. After the observations made in the previous chapters, there seems to be no doubt that our present day Thoroughbred needs improving, and its room for improvement is just as certain as agreeable.

The chief attacks which have been made up to now against the Thoroughbred may be summed up as follows :—

1. Faulty conformation.
2. Want of endurance for long distances.
3. Want of cleverness.
4. A too weedy and light fundament.
5. A want of capacity to carry heavy weights.
6. Nervousness, difficult temperament, and the bad use of food.

1.—Faulty conformation. This oldest reproach against the Thoroughbred, rests partly on the fact that we over-estimate our knowledge of this matter, and partly on our inexperience in the judging of horses in training. I call to mind the opinion of the Landstallmeister von Burgsdorf, expressed in 1817 in a special brochure. He went on to say that most English Thoroughbreds had spavin, and that the English Thoroughbred must shortly disappear. We must not forget that from chipping come chips, and that of course every kind of breeding must produce a certain percentage of faulty individuals. Training and racing, moreover, show up many little faults in form which would not have been noticed when merely looking at a horse as, for example, at shows. Nevertheless, it is interesting and instructive to see that the Thoroughbred, even with such great faults, is still capable of performing very astonishing things, whilst a non-Thoroughbred with the same faults in most cases could not do anything. If with faulty conformation it is still capable of doing well, the substance used must be very good indeed.
The so-called Biedenweg's instructions for judging horses competing for State prizes, which are still in vogue in the Prussian State, but probably very rarely followed, can, in my opinion, be dispensed with. One cannot lay down laws to judge the conformation of a horse to suit all cases. The views as to what form a horse should have differ, and are, as history teaches, also changeable. There have been times in which long-legged horses were preferred to short-legged ones, and in which long shin bones were considered an advantage. I also believe that many so-called faults in a horse of 100 years ago were more dangerous than they are to the present day horse, and vice versa. In short, our doctrine as to the conformation of a horse will always have its limits, and will often change in the future, according to the experiences which we gather from the racecourse and from the other uses to which the horses are put. Races and other tests of performances will in themselves destroy what is useless. If, however, Biedenweg's instructions exclude a priori certain conformation, w'e rob those horses which are supposed to be better of the opportunity of showing that they can perform better things.
The better form has not been proclaimed as such by the vacillating opinions
of judges, but acquired for itself the right to be judged as such by beating competitors. The history of Thoroughbred breeding teaches that even without such police rules as Biedenweg's instructions are, faults are finally eradicated automatically. The best example of an effective elimination of faults by racing is perhaps the walk of the Thoroughbred. I know of no breed which produces so many horses which w-alk so correctly as the English Thoroughbred. Where is the half-bred stallion in Germany which without freshness walks as correctly, gracefully and beautifully as Ard Patrick, who, besides, won the Epsom Derby, and beat the four-year-old Rock Sand, and Sceptre? The eradication of horses with irregular walk is not done in England, as in the breeding of Half-breds, or as they do when buying horses for military mounts, by picking out the regular walkers for the stud or military service, but by training and the struggle on the racecourse. Military commissioners can be as strict as they like in refusing to buy irregular walkers, but they will never be able to judge as keenly and as correctly as the winning post. Anybody can prove this statement if he will only examine the same horses two years later at the troop after manoeuvres. He will find there are more irregular walkers than in the racing stables. The regular walk of horses that have not worked, but are well led in, disappears very often with working as butter melts in the sun.
Race propositions must therefore offer sufficient opportunity to eradicate these different faults, and not protect, for example, the roarers, not leave too much to chance, and not damage the temperament of young horses by too many short races. Those handicaps, so much loved by the bookmakers, for horses of all ages, with the light weights, for distances under 1 mile, have also no value for breeding, and should be much more restricted than is at present, unfortunately, the case in England. The making of racecourses, for example, over uneven ground (as more detailed in No. 3), may also have a favourable effect on the form of Thoroughbreds by eradicating every unharmonious conformation of racehorses.

2.—Want of endurance for long distances. This reproach is the most common, and not to use a stronger expression, a very ill-considered one. We have proved that no other race of horses has attained the endurance of the Thoroughbred in many long distance races. Generally the above reproach is applied to the former long races over 4 miles with heats, as they took place in the time of Eclipse. We must, however, emphasise that the removal of these long races with heats was the first step towards progress. The errors made must be found somewhere else, and as we shall soon see, one did not go far enough in the shortening of distances.
Not only representatives of Half-bred breeders, but also breeders and admirers of Trotters and Thoroughbreds, have always rightly aimed at the production of a horse with the greatest possible endurance as the goal of their breeding efforts. As history- shows us, however, they were wrong in demanding performances over too great distances in order to reach this goal. They forgot that races should not only prove which is the best, but that the object of this test, and of the training for this test, should be to improve the stock. A flat race, for example, over 20 kilometres or more (in Moscow there exists one for 20 versts) does not improve the stock but ruins it. The breeders of Trotters in America tried in the middle of the last century to get 100 miles covered in 10 hours. After that they wanted 20 miles doing in 1 hour. They also attained this result. They, however, observed at the same time that the health of the horses suffered, that is to say, that horses did not improve, but rather their value as breeding stock depreciated. The practical Americans soon found that the right distance for testing breeding stock is the one on which one can train horses, i.e., prepare them without damaging their health, and they found—and I think they are right—that this right distance is 1 English mile. Russian Trotters kept to their long distances. The result is, firstly, the American Trotter has improved its record in 1818 of 3 minutes per mile to 2 minutes to-day; secondly, the American Trotter to-day shows more endurance for every distance than the Russian. The improved record of Russian Trotters since 1860 (there are no reliable statements for former years) is mainly due to the establishment of good racecourses (hippodromes instead of roads), and to the introduction of sulkies instead of the four-wheeled droskies, which weighed two and more puds heavier. In 1860 the six-year-old Wehsar from Chrenowoi, ran in a four-wheeled drosky 2 versts in 3 minutes, 27 seconds, and in 1896 the best record was in a sulky, 2 versts in 3 minutes, 13½ seconds. Since 1893, the year in which sulkies were generally introduced, the record performances of Russian Trotters have made very little progress indeed; for example, in 1896 the best record for 1½ versts was 2 minutes, 15½ seconds, and in 1907 the best record for the same distance 2 minutes 14 seconds. Trotting races for distances over more than 1 mile are justified and useful as a test for an individual horse in use, just the same as all kinds of long distance rides for Thoroughbreds and Half-breds. As a matter of principle, one ought to distinguish tests for breeding stock from tests for stock in use. The former have for object the improving of the production of capable breeding stock, whilst the latter serve to show what the maximum performance is, and how it may possibly be best attained, if need be. Without considering whether the stock is hereby damaged or not.
The question, what distance, looked at from the above point of view, is the right one for flat races, still requires solving. At the time of Eclipse the chief races were run over distances of 4 miles. The classical Derby is now run in all countries over about 2,400 metres. The Grand Prix de Paris over 3,000 metres. The Doncaster St. Leger 2,937 metres. The longest races are in France, in the Prix Gladiateur, 6,200 metres. In England there are now no races over 3 miles. In Ireland there is still one over 4 miles, and two over 3 miles, and in Germany, Second Class Autumn Meeting in Hoppegarten, 4,800 metres. In the course of time the art of training has, of course, made much progress, and trainers have learned that gallops for more than 2,000 to 2,400 metres, also in preparation for the Derby and longer distances, are bad. The gallops which were still in force twenty years ago, and which were often run like a race over the Derby distance, have almost totally ceased. Most trainers incline to the opinion that such long gallops do not improve the condition of the horse, but rather the reverse. If that is so, it is a mistake to have flat races for longer distances than about 2,400 metres. It is a mistake to have races over distances which do not improve the rightly trained stock, but rather do it harm. To fix the right limit with certainty is very difficult, but the Derby seems to be the utmost limit for a useful race distance. My own opinion is that for three-year-olds 2,000 metres, and for two-year-olds 1,200 metres is the correct and most useful test distance, and I should consider it a sign of progress if all so-called classical races, i.e., such as serve for breeding stock, were raced over these distances, as is the case with the American Trotters. Training would not only be facilitated thereby, but the horses would also prosper more. To train horses for different distances at the same time, and especially for very short distances of 800 to 1,400 metres, as is now demanded, is of no use whatever for breeding stock. Races held for long and short distances, in order to use stock which is not used for breeding, may be useful and instructive, as long as the number of these races is kept in moderate bounds and suitable to the requirements. For the same reasons there should not be too many selling races and handicaps.
It is wrong to believe that races of 2,000 metres for three-year-olds and 1,200 metres for two-year-olds would give little chance to so-called stayers, and would thus endanger the aim and end, namely, the breeding of horses for endurance. What is called generally a horse with plenty of endurance, and therefore one specially suitable for long distances, is not the same as what is called a stayer on the racecourse, as opposed to a flyer. I really believe that flyers are often more suited for long distance rides and other feats of endurance, as well as for steeplechases, than stayers.
The quickest pace in which a horse can gallop a certain given distance without endangering the speed necessary for the finish, I would like to call its special pace. This special pace diminishes in the case of every horse with the growing distance. In the case of horses which we call stayers, this diminishing of special pace is less than in the case of those which we call fivers. At the same time the former have to put in a less speed than the latter. The scale at which this decrease takes place, and the amount of reserved speed, show in which degree the horse is a stayer or a flyer. Here 1 would like to further remark that the stayer can increase its speed only very little or not at all after a pace which is under its special pace.
The special pace t of the stayer is greater than the special pace t1 of the flyer. The stayer, therefore, gains on the way per metre a distance equal to M. On the whole distance d the advantage of the stayer amounts to d M. If s equals the speed of the stayer, and s1 equals the speed of the flyer, the question is whether

d. M. > s1—s or d. M. < s1— s

i.e., whether the flyer on a given distance can, through its superior speed, gain the advantage which the stayer has obtained on the way (about to the distance) on account of its greater special pace. If this be not the case, the flyer will have to increase somewhat its special pace, but only in so far as s1—s becomes larger than d. M.
The pace in steeplechases is limited by obstacles and the ground. The stayer therefore in steeplechases is prevented from fully developing its chief force. The flyer, on the other hand, can make use of the pace necessitated by the ground, which perhaps just corresponds to its special pace, and put on a better speed at the finish. The less the obstacles, the more even the ground, the more advantage there is for the stayer.
In races of such great distances as in the above-mentioned 20 verst race at Moscow, the racing galloping ceases more or less, and the special pace of the stayer as well as of the flyer {ceteris paribus, viz., in horses of approximately equal class) becomes pretty equal. For this reason, in case of such unraceable distances, the flyer will very often have the advantage.
The above comparisons apply in general only to horses of approximately equal class. A horse of the first class, for example, which is at the same time a stayer, may have a greater speed than a horse of the third class which is a typical fiver. In a race between the two, therefore, the latter will not have need to put on his better special pace. In the case of such champions of the course as Gladiateur, Kincsem, Ormonde, Plaisanterie, Isinglass, etc., it will be very difficult, for want of a reliable standard, to decide whether they are stayers or flyers. The best proof as to whether two horses belong to different classes will be found in the fact that one of them can beat the other with the tactics of the stayer as well as those of the flyer. As a rule, I would say that racehorses between whom there is more than a stone belong to two different classes.

3.—Want of cleverness. This reproach has a certain justification, as it very likely is possible to still further increase the cleverness of the Thoroughbred by a different method of rearing and other tests. In consequence of their peculiar rearing up, for example, the Steppe horses, or the horses brought up in the Mauerpark of Sababourg (Beberbeck), are certainly superior to the Thoroughbreds in cleverness. It is reasonable to expect and also probable, that the race tests for many generations only on flat, level tracks, may cause neglect of several useful and important qualities of the horse in use (riding horses, school horses, hunters and military horses). To these qualities belong chiefly cleverness, which is best cultivated and tested in steeplechases. But also the shape of the flat racing track may have a favourable influence in cultivating and rewarding cleverness. Quite level and flat tracks, as, for example, those of Newmarket, are not suitable. Of the classical courses which I know, the Derby Epsom course is the most suitable for testing and rewarding the ability to go up and down hills and to pass such sharp bends as are found on very few steeplechase courses. The Epsom Derby course is known as a hard and very reliable test. Its chief value consists in the following :

1. The very strong incline, about half a mile from the start, demands so much from the horse, that roarers, unfit horses, and those of inferior quality and without sufficient stamina, drop out very early or have finished with the last incline before the winning post.
2. The uneven and often varying ground, with its several sharp bends, requires great efforts in the cleverness of the horses.
3. A one-sided capacity does not avail. Such a one-sided capacity might exist, for example, in the special cleverness to climb up a hill well; it is possible over-built horses with strong hind quarters might excel here. Or, again, such a one-sidedness might enable them to go better down hill, which shows a better developed fore part than hind part. Finally, this—at Epsom unavailing—one-sidedness might be a too long galloping-stride (Galoppsprung). It is possible that this too long galloping-stride results from a conformation that has not the necessary symmetry, which enables the horse to adapt in time the pace to an uneven ground and to sharp corners. This lack of symmetry would be less troubling on a level and straight course like Newmarket ; perhaps it should even be of some use.

In the breeding of Half-breds, Steeplechasers have often been used with good results. In Beberbeck, The Colonel, twice winner at Liverpool, has produced well, and from him are derived the good and strong limbs which, through Optimus and Obelisk (the dams of which were daughters of Colonel) one often finds in Trackehnen. The number of Steeplechasers which have been successful in English Thoroughbred breeding is indeed very small. The best known example is Touchstone's grand-dam, Boadicea (Banter's dam), who, between its seventh and twelfth year proved itself an excellent hunter, and as a 19-year-old produced Touchstone's dam. A great mistake in all propositions for steeplechases both here and abroad is that geldings have to carry 3 to 5 lbs. less weight, instead of having to carry 5 lbs. more. Such classical steeplechase races as the great Liverpool National should only be for colts and fillies, weight for age. Then also steeplechases would supply more useful sires. Everybody who has seen the Grand National steeplechase at Liverpool, run over a distance of 7,200 metres, with its 3-2 jumps, of which each is a great performance, and who could admire the 11-year-old Manifesto coming in as a victor for the second time among 28, and 19 starters, carrying 12 stone, 7 lbs., will at once admit that such a performance is just as imposing as a Derby victory, and the only thing to be regretted is that Manifesto, like many other steeplechasers, was a gelding. The mare Empress by Royal Blood, who ended her career as a steeplechaser as a winner of the Grand National Steeplechase in 1880, produced still 9 good foals, among them in 1889 Red Prince by Kendal, winner of the Lancashire Handicap Steeplechase, one of the best known sires in Irish Hunter breeding, and an ideal mating stallion for Half-bred mares.
The value of steeplechases as a breeding test depends on the kind of track. Steeplechase tracks like Auteuil are less suitable for testing breeding stock, because the kind of obstacles and the ground there admit of nearly the same pace as in flat races, besides, the distance, according" to the observations just made, is too long to be a useful test for flat racing. Steeplechase courses like Auteuil ruin the material more than difficult tracks like Liverpool, for example. Perhaps this accounts for the fact that the same horse (Peter Simple, Abd-el-Kader, The Colonel, The Lamb, Manifesto) has won and obtained places more than since in the Liverpool Grand National, whilst only one horse (Wild Monarch, won 1878 and 1879) has done the same feat in the Auteuil great steeplechase. An obstacle course which has to be used also for the test of breeding material, ought to consist of difficult obstacles, and varying, if at all possible, uneven fields with sharp corners. The distance ought to be in proportion to the topography and soil, about 6,000 metres, with a run in of at most 500 metres. Obstacles as well as the ground should prevent an uninterrupted flat race pace, and admit at most only of a good hunting gallop up to the distance (the finish), which, of course, must admit of a real struggle in the best pace, just as in a flat race. Such tracks would, of course, demand a much more careful preparation for riding and jumping than is the case at Auteuil. Whoever buys the winner of the great Auteuil steeplechase hoping to get a good hunter will very likely be deceived. Horses who have chanced to win on such tracks as I have just described, must be so far prepared that they are always well in hand and always willing to suit their pace to the ground. They must be very carefully jumped, so that they may be able to get over large and various' obstacles safely at the required pace and without giving too much away. Finally, after having surmounted the last obstacle, they must still have enough speed left for the final struggle. A test over such a course is, naturally, different to a test on the flat. The latter will certainly measure more correctly the galloping capacity, whilst the former makes more demand on the cleverness, docility, temperament, successful training, and, finally, on the speed of the horse. All these qualities have great influence in the practical breeding of horses, especially of military horses. I consider it an advantage that on such courses so-called flyers have a greater chance of winning than stayers, especially as the flyers are more symmetrically built, and have more energy than the stayers. It is very noteworthy and interesting that the development of a great speed over short distances requires a horse to be symmetrically built. One will find more often amongst stayers high-legged and narrow horses with upright shoulders and straight pastern than amongst flyers. Moreover, we do not here speak about flyers which are only very quick over 500 metres, but about such which, carrying 80 kilos,after a gallop of 6,000 and more metres, and over about 30 different jumps, still retain enough energy, force and breath to be able to put on enough speed to succeed in the final struggle. These are not only performances worthy of recommendation, but they are also guarantee for characters, which are especially valuable for all noble Half-breds.
Unfortunately, such steeplechases, so important as tests of breeding stock, are becoming more and more scarce, especially where bookmakers exercise much influence on racing propositions, like they do in England, even for flat racing propositions (many handicaps and short selling races). It is very clear that the special trainers are afraid of the work and preparation necessary for horses for such steeplechases, especially as very few of them are sufficiently conversant with it. This work belongs particularly to gentlemen riders, and here Germany is probably on top. This work will also cultivate the love and knowledge which are essential to the future breeder of Thoroughbreds and Half-breds, and, finally, this work will produce and animate the love of sport and the daring which soon disappears in long periods of peace, and without which every people would soon decay. The further spread and reserve of steeplechases, especially for gentlemen riders or officers, might also prevent a modern return of the times of ancient Greece and Rome, in which slaves did the fighting and dancing, whilst the Grand Seigneurs looked on and applauded.

4.—Faulty and too light fundament. This reproach, unfortunately justified, is the weak point in the whole Thoroughbred breeding. Every Half-bred breeder knows how difficult it is to improve by the infusion of Thoroughbreds the important fore-legs, and any rider who knows the Thoroughbred outside the racecourse will confirm that the galloping capacity of the same is a greater one than the fundament will stand. Whoever has ridden Steppe horses will know what good fore-legs can stand. In this respect, next to the Steppe horse come the Irish Half-breds. We have seen in Germany several such Irish Half-breds on our steeplechase courses. Certainly they broke down now and again, but they were put right and won races again, and they did performances on three legs which a classical Thoroughbred can very seldom perform. As typical examples of these kinds of performances, let me mention the following Thoroughbreds and Half-breds :—Red Nob (Half-bred) 1866 by Neville, Et Cetera 1884 by Town Moor, Teviot 1886 by Harden or Lucebit, Gardenia 1888 by Reyeller, Handy Andy (Half-bred), Sixpence 1889 by Man-of-War, Balrath (Half-bred) 1898 by Alban, Sportsman (Half-bred) 1894 by the Dethroned, Scotch Moor 1895 by Town Moor.
It is fairly clear from the observations made in the chapter on weight differences, as well as from the list of horses whose fundament admitted of their successful use on the racecourse up to their eighth year, and even beyond that, that the two-year-old races, and especially those which are run early in the year, may be considered the chief cause of a general retrogression in the capabilities (Leistungsfahigkeit) of the Thoroughbred, as well as of the special deterioration of the fundament. A sequence of the early two-year-old races, as well as of the many early entry closings, is the breaking in of the yearlings, which often takes place in July, and the dangerous trials of same in autumn. The yearlings lose through these causes the benefits of grazing, which really cannot be over-estimated. How much the long-extended grazing influences the production of good fore-legs can best be seen with the Steppe horses and Half-breds in Ireland. It is clear that the movement connected with life on the Steppes, on hard meadows (in summer day and night), produces better, i.e., stronger, dryer and firmer fore-legs than the 2 hours' training and the 22 hours' rest in the stable of the yearlings. Besides, the American training method, to keep them in motion twice daily, and to give them plenty of walking exercise, seems in this respect to be very effective, especially as it avoids the effeminate treatment which is resorted to in Europe without any advantage whatever. In America in 1893 I thought that the American Thoroughbreds possessed better fore-legs and a more regular walk than our horses, perhaps since then, however, even there the steady increase of races for two-year-olds in the early part of the year (even beginning in January), may also have had a bad influence in this respect. The law which has been in force in France since 1867 that two-year-olds must not be run before the 1st of August is very reasonable. Unfortunately, this law has been extended since 1907, so that in July also, races may be run for two-year-olds (at most two on each race day), for a prize up to 5,000 francs, for a distance not over 1,000 metres. In Germany, since 1905, the 2nd of June has been fixed as the earliest date for two-year-old races. The above particulars on changes in weight differences seem to prove that the few two-year-old races not run too early in the year have had a favourable effect on Thoroughbred breeding. Yet I believe that the complete elimination of two-year-old races would be the best means to improve Thoroughbred breeding, and especially to improve the fundament. As long, however, as the bookmakers and their following are so powerful as they have been hitherto, a change will, scarcely be possible in England in this respect. One may expect the unfeeling energy necessary to carry out such a trenchant rule, together with prudence and careful work, only in France and Germany. In Germany, first of all, one might attain an improvement by forbidding two-year-old races before the 1st of September, and also to offer the best prizes for four-year-olds and older horses, for distances of 2,000 or 2,400 metres.
If one, however, objects to this, the fact that most classical winners of about the last fifty years are derived from dams who ran and won as two-year-olds, the question seems to be justified, as to whether these dams have produced so well, in spite of, or in consequence of, the two-year-old tests. Those fillies as well as colts which can stand the two-year-old race tests are, especially if they come out as winners, without doubt by nature the best and hardest horses, and can therefore produce well in spite of two-year-old races. That the two-year-old races are a good thermometer as to hardness, health, and quality of young horses can be taken for granted, just as surely as we can accept their directly injurious influence. Besides, these young horses, through their early training, lose benefits which nothing can replace, such as the one year's grazing, which is especially useful for the whole constitution, and more particularly the fundament. Moreover, against the fact that most classical winners are derived from dams which have also run as two-year-olds, we have the other fact, which I have discussed above, that horses with prominent performances at great ages, as well as the champions of steeplechases, are derived in the majority from stallions and dams which did not run as two-year-olds. If two-year-old races are altogether abolished, I would recommend, and especially for countries in which grazing is interrupted by a long winter, to break in the yearlings late in the autumn, to work them well through the winter, and to send them again as two-year-olds in the summer to grass.

5.—Want of capacity for carrying heavy weights. I do not consider this reproach justified. The statement so often heard that horses carried heavier weights formerly is only correct in so far as the so-called King's Plates are concerned, in which five and six-year-olds and older horses were tested under great weights up to 12 stone, mostly for 4 miles with heats. Besides, in the 11 King's Plates, the never beaten Eclipse carried, for example, as a five and six-year-old, in its remaining 8 races, only 8 or 9 stone. In the second half of the nineteenth century 8 stone, 7 lbs. was the usual weight for four-year-olds. The weights of the Derby, of the St. Leger, and the Oaks, have been increased by 1 stone since their inauguration. In the first races for two-year-olds (1780) the weight for colts was 7 stone, 9 lbs., and in the first classical races for two-year-olds (1786), 8 stone, 2 lbs., against 9 stone of to-day. In Germany the Derby weight is the highest, namely, 58 kilos. Then follows England with 57.15 kilos. France and Austria with 56, America and Russia with 54.9. A greater weight than 58 kilos for three-year-olds in classical tests does not seem to be desirable, especially as the danger to the legs would thereby be increased without obtaining any advantages. A great mistake, however, are the feather weights, which are still usual in England in many handicaps and selling races. English earnest hippologists have often tried to do away with this, but the power of the bookmaker has always prevented it.

6.—Nervousness, difficult temperament, and bad use of food. I only mention this altogether unjustified reproach on account of completeness. If a chronometer must go as well as it ought to, you must handle it in a proper manner, and the same thing applies to the Thoroughbred. The worse and more unreasonable the rider, the less is he suited to handle a capable Thoroughbred. The Thoroughbred demands only a reasonable, not a tender treatment, and no good Thoroughbred can bear, for example, to stand a whole day or longer in the stable. In right hands, the Thoroughbred is neither nervous nor difficult, and uses his food better than any other race of horses, especially when it works hard. The above reproach is a characteristic judgment of people who do not know the Thoroughbred thoroughly, and who cannot distinguish the racehorse in training from the Thoroughbred in use.

On account of the above observations, I make the following proposals :—

1. Forbid two-year-old races before the 1st of September, also under 1,000 metres.
2. Regulate distances for three-year-olds and older in breeding races to 1,600—2,400 metres.
3. Establish well-endowed races for four-year-olds and older for 2,000-2,400 metres.
4. Lay out flat races over uneven ground with sharper turnings than is usual in Germany up to now, after the model of Epsom.
5. Arrange steeplechases as breeding races for four-year-olds and older colts and fillies on courses with great obstacles, varying and uneven ground and sharp turnings, for 4,000—6,000 metres, with age weights for gentlemen riders.
6. Abolish all races under 1,000 metres, all handicaps for two and three-year-olds, all hurdle races, and the so-called Biedenweg rules.
7.—Abolish the early entry closings, as they lead to too early trials, put heavy taxes on breeders, and are the cause that good horses often cannot run in important races.
8. Increase breeders' rewards, so that more breeders may participate in the earnings of races, and increase the interest in the breeding of hardy yearlings.

If, however, the representatives of Thoroughbred breeding will decline to reorganise the race trials in the above-described or a similar manner, and will persist in going on as they have done up to now, and if, further, as is unfortunately the case in England, the influence of bookmakers and other business people should increase in the framing of racing propositions, the proud words, "pro republica est dum ludere videmur," will soon be no longer true as regards race tests. Half-bred breeders will then be forced to apply to their own breeding the care and expense which has been the cause of the origin of the Thoroughbred, and they will be forced to demand from their own breeding stock those tests of performances which have made the Thoroughbred so capable. In other words, Half-bred breeders will themselves have to produce a sort of Thoroughbred. Of course, that is a long way off, and several generations will have to work before that standard can be reached to which the Thoroughbred of to-day has attained.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Horse Racing - An Industry At The Tipping Point: PART I

©2019 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.

The death of 30 horses at Santa Anita Park since January and the Stronach Group’s banning of Hall of Fame Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer from racing at Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields, highlights the intense scrutiny that the Horse Racing Industry has received in recent months.
That intense scrutiny by track and state investigators and the media has shown the national spotlight on trainers and how they manage the horses in their care.
In a CNN interview by Nick Watt, Scott Herbertson, a professional gambler and horse owner, said: “I think it’s a few bad apples that make us all look bad, you got guys pushing horses beyond their limits and causing these catastrophic accidents.”
Jockey Club President James Gagliano said: “We think that we are at a tipping point and this is America’s legacy sport. But it has to look inside and make some substantial changes.”
As I read the news about the horse deaths, I’m reminded of another time and era when horses and racing were viewed more as a sport and not a commercial enterprise or product.
In a 1979 interview by Michael Horacek for The Thoroughbred Record, noted author and developer of Dosage, Franco Varola, stated: “The racecourse should a center of equine life. I fear we shall end up with horrible metropolitan tracks. I fear we shall let the Turf be covered by empty Coke cans and garbage during mass Saturday meetings with punters shouting, ‘Come on, Number Seven!...Sometimes, I admit, I tend to be depressed by the Turf changing itself from sport into industry, by the clandestine betting, by the atmosphere so different from that of my younger days.”
And, in his book Typology of the Racehorse (page 231), Varola wrote: "…the Thoroughbred is sociologically significant because, as often repeated in this book, it is a microcosm of man and repeat’s man’s motives and trends in the various areas and times.”
Burchard von Oettingen was the Director of the German Royal Stud at the turn of the Twentieth Century and in his book Horse Breeding In Theory and Practice (page 194), he wrote: “Our present day Thoroughbred is the outcome of race propositions, and of the manner of breeding and training, which those propositions entail. These propositions are made on human understanding, and are influenced by human misunderstanding, and what is much worse, by many side interests. Only by clever and purpose-answering race propositions, as well as by reasonable breeding and rational training, shall we be able to still more improve our Thoroughbreds.”
Anyone who’s followed my blog for any length of time knows that much of my study of Thoroughbreds has been greatly influenced by Varola, Oettingen and Federico Tesio who was a world-renowned owner, breeder and trainer of Thoroughbred racehorses. I’ve written numerous blogs about them and chronicled their story in Horse Profiling: The Secret to Motivating Equine Athletes – a book I co-authored with Kerry Thomas, founder of the Thomas Herding Technique.
At this point, I thought it fitting to look back in time to see what Oettingen wrote about training horses in Horse Breeding In Theory and Practice (pages 399-404).


I HAVE already mentioned in previous chapters the importance of individualisation in the treatment of both breeding material and foals. It is quite evident that when training horses, whether for the purpose of racing or hunting or other performances, it is most important to individualise, and it is therefore impossible to give a hard and fast rule. I only intend to give general points of view, ideas and experiences, from which each individual breeder must build up his own theory according to the particular requirements of his available material, the training track and climate, etc. The difficulty of the art of training lies in the fact that its object, the horse, like all other living creatures, is endowed with many powerful characteristics, rendering a machine-like and uniform treatment impossible. If the horse were a machine, then training would not be an art, and racing tests to the lifeless clock time would be all that would be required. Furthermore, the work of the trainer is made difficult by the task of having to obtain the highest possible degree of fitness by a fixed time, i.e., the race day. The object of all training consists in removing all superfluous fat and connective tissues, in strengthening the muscles and sinews, and in clearing the wind. In order to obtain this result the horses must be watched carefully and correctly every day and properly dealt with. The trainer's eye is the cause of horses being fit or unfit.

The suitable English and Irish soil, as well as the admirable racing tracks —given by the grace of God—especially at Newmarket, has led the Englishmen also in this branch into the comfortable and tenacious conservatism which is just as dangerous and hostile to all progress as was the former conservatism of artillerymen with reference to breech-loaders not invented by them. It has taken a long time before the simplest doctrines of hygiene could remove much of the evil in English training. The distinct successes of the Americans in training and riding during the course of the last ten years have caused Englishmen to think and reform where necessary. In both training and riding, Americans, who are not bound down by tradition, and who are not spoiled by English pastures and galloping grounds, obtained great successes through their practical ideas and almost inconsiderate leaning to what is natural. Moreover, the Americans have reason to be proud of the fact that Old England, with its long history of classical races, has had to learn such a rough lesson from them!

(a) The Training Methods.

The training methods of the eighteenth century, that is, at the time of Eclipse, born 1st April, 1764, had to adapt themselves to the following circumstances: —
1. There were only a few attainable racecourses for each horse, and the racing season was much shorter than it is today, often only three months.

2. In most cases only four-year-old and older horses ran. Three-year olds only since 1756, and two-year-olds only since 1773.

3. There were no railways, and consequently the visiting of the different racecourses entailed long journeys on foot.

4. Most races were run for a distance of 2 to 4 English miles, with heats, the weights for six-year-olds being 12 stone.

At that time it was very usual to keep horses in training for only three to four months, and to send them for the rest of the time to grass. After the grazing, training began with weekly physics and bleedings. Then the horse received about two sweating gallops weekly, over distances of 2 to 6 English miles. During the sweating gallops with woollen rugs, some parts of the body which had too much flesh very often—for example, the neck—were covered with extra heavy rugs. In these gallops the last quarter of a mile had to be ridden a little more quick, that means at half speed. After the sweating gallop the nose and mouth were washed, then the horses were brought into the stable or in the so-called rubbing-down house, and there covered with several woollen rugs until the sweat oozed out in sufficient quantities. The sweat was then removed with a sweating knife, and the horse rubbed dry by four persons with woollen cloths, then covered with fresh rugs and given walking exercise for half an hour. Some days a week complete rest days were usual, whilst long walking exercise, as is common today, was almost unknown. The usual daily canter or gallop was over 2 to 4 English miles, often without a leading horse, and in anv case at a slower pace than is usual to-day. The word "canter," meaning a quiet gallop, arises from the slow manner in which the pilgrims walked to the grave of Archbishop Thomas Becket at Canterbury, murdered 1170.

The development of training in the last century, after the coming into prominence of the classical races for two and three-year-olds, proceeded as follows:—

1. According to Darvill, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, following sweating gallops were given. For yearlings over 2 miles, for two-year-olds over 2½ miles, for three-year-olds over 3 to 3½ miles, for four-year-olds over 4 to 4½ miles, and for 5 and 6 year-olds over 5 miles.
2. The sweating gallops gradually became more scarce, and were held over somewhat shorter distances. The sweating gallops of two-year-olds (at the beginning once weekly, over 1 English mile) gradually ceased altogether.

3. Sweating gallops at the beginning of the nineteenth century were given in addition to the daily work, i.e., in addition to the quick work or so-called gallop. Later on there was no quick gallop on the days of the sweating gallops.

4. Opening medicines, called physics, became more rare, and are finally limited to one or two doses a year, especially in spring, shortly before the beginning of quicker work, i.e., beginning as they are transferred from the straw-bed to the racecourse.

5. The daily work consisted of 1½ to 2 hours in the morning, and about 1 hour in the afternoon. This afternoon work, however, does not seem to have been generally practised, and ceases almost everywhere towards the end of the nineteenth century.

6. The work in the forenoon for the two-year-olds consisted of a short walk and trot, then two quiet canters of about 1,000 metres, and then a somewhat quicker canter of about 1,200 metres, the latter once or twice weekly, at full or half speed. The older horses cantered and galloped just as often, but over longer distances. The distance was gradually increased to the distance of the racecourse, i.e., extending eventually over 4 miles, equal to 6,437 metres. In Autumn the yearlings cantered two or three times daily, each time 600 to 800 metres, and in the late autumn were tried up to 800 metres with the assistance of an older leading horse. The afternoon work consisted only in walking and a little trotting.

7. About the second half of the nineteenth century the work of the yearlings and of the two and three-year-olds was limited to two canters daily, of which the second canter was somewhat longer and quicker. Once or twice weekly the second canter was made almost at racing pace, in accordance with the progressive condition. The three-year-old and older horses cantered generally about 1 English mile, seldom more than 2,000 metres. Derby horses, for example, galloped at least two or three times before the race 1½ miles, equal to 2,414 metres, at full racing speed. Gallops over longer distances than 1½ English miles gradually cease altogether, even in the case of horses, for example, which were trained for the Doncaster St. Leger (distance 1 mile, 6 furlongs, 132 yards, equal to 2,937 metres).

The present day views on training are characterised as follows :—

1. Sweating gallops and physics are only applied in exceptional cases when the condition of the legs does not permit that quantity of work by which the useless fat and flesh, called in German luder, can be removed, and yet at the same time muscle can be formed. Further physics are given if a horse, in consequence of too much work, has become stale or has broken down, so that during the time of its enforced rest it may not put on too much flesh. If a broken down horse has to be blistered or fired, it is given a pill before and after the rest of four to six weeks. Where needed it is also given a physic about eight days before the race when some slight accident to a fit horse requires an important reduction of work.

2. The daily work consists in the morning of 1½ to 2½ hours' walking exercise, none or very little trotting, and two canters or gallops. In the afternoon ¾ to 1 hour's walking exercise, either led or with a man up. After the beginning of the fast work, it is calculated that under normal conditions about six weeks are sufficient to make the horse fit for racing up to I3 English miles, equal to 2,000 metres; whilst at least two months are required if the distance is IJ English miles, equal to 2,400 metres.

3. In the case of the two daily canters or gallops, the last 500 to 800 metres (or as some trainers say, the last 300 to 600 metres) should, according to the American idea, be done at medium pace, and in the case of a more advanced condition at racing pace, at first only in the second canter, later on in both. The beginning of this gallop in any case must be done at such a slow pace that one can trot alongside. This slow part of the canter may be accordingly extended up to 2,000 to 3,000 metres. Once or twice weekly, in the case of more advanced condition, the quick part of the second gallop may be extended up to 1,200 to 1,600 metres, later on up to at the most 2,000 metres, when, of course, the slow part can be very much reduced, or omitted altogether. Only few trainers are of the opinion that the gallop at racing pace may be extended up to 2,400 metres.

The idea which underlies this kind of training is that the daily gallops over short distances, at a medium or at racing pace, bring the muscles which are used for quicker work, and the lungs, better and more surely into condition than the former usual longer gallops, undertaken once or twice weekly, for which the horses were not sufficiently prepared, as the other daily work was only slow cantering.

The new method of training is supposed to effect a daily, uninterrupted and gradual improvement of condition, whilst formerly, according to the doctrine of the old trainers, every two steps forward should be counteracted 'by one in the opposite direction. Moreover, experience has taught that gallops at racing pace for longer distances than about 2,000 metres do not improve the condition, but rather the reverse. The winner of the St. Leger, 1906, Troutbeck, has, as I have been assured by his trainer, W. Waugh, never during the whole of his existence galloped or cantered over a longer distance than 2,000 metres. On the other hand, the American trainer, Walker, who gets perhaps the most out of his horses, gave his Derby candidate. Eels, several gallops at racing pace over 2,400 metres, sometimes even with relay leading horses. But even this trainer is of opinion that this distance is the extreme limit, and is even sufficient, for example, for the preparation of the Grand Prix, which is run over a distance of 3,000 metres.

In the bigger and better American racing stables, one often finds the practical arrangement of using one part of the stablemen for riding only, whilst the greater part is employed in cleaning, feeding and leading the horses. A racing stable of about 30 horses not far from New York, had, for example, only two stable boys who could ride. Besides these, the stable jockey also rode. The cleaning and feeding of the horses, as well as taking them to their daily work on the racecourse, and in the afternoon generally to the yard, was undertaken by about eight to ten young fellows who, however, never were allowed to ride. By this arrangement the two stable lads had plenty of opportunity to practise galloping, as they galloped each of their about 7 horses twice daily. It is principally owing to this very practical division of work that the Americans are in the position to produce so many good jockeys. Some of them even learn to accomplish fairly accurately the very difficult task of doing a gallop whilst training at a certain defined pace (eventually 1 mile in about 1 min. 50 sees.). In American training such tasks are very popular. The most difficult task, however, is to ride definite distances in the shortest possible time. The partisans of racing against time do not recognise, in my opinion, sufficiently the difficulties attached to same. Thev think that in our racing to a finish the art of the jockey in riding is more important than the capacity of riding in the shortest possible time. If the horse were a mere machine it would be an easy thing to get the best record by letting it go full speed ahead from start to finish. With living horses, however, the best record would certainly not be obtained by this method.

…Besides a horse's galloping performances, there are several other very remarkable signs to show how far its condition has improved. To commence with, notice must be taken how long it takes the horse to snort (clear the wind) after it has been pulled up. The sooner this happens the more forward is its condition, especially the breathing. If the horse, for example, requires a minute or more to snort, it is a sure sign that the horse has been asked to do too much in the gallop in question, i.e., a mistake has been made. If the horse is very fit and the gallop has been too short, i.e., it has been easy work for it, it takes a long time lo snort, or it does not snort at all. The length and pace of the gallop must fit the condition, so that if it clears the wind by snorting 10 to 30 seconds after being pulled up, it is a sure sign that everything is all right.

In the case of a horse which is fit the skin becomes thinner, the hair more shiny, and the flesh firmer. The latter, as well as the disappearance of useless fat, can best be noticed at the mane and on the ribs. A little easy sweating is by no means a sign of bad condition, on the contrary, a fit horse certainly sweats less but more readily, as its sweat is more liquid and its skin thinner and more readily penetrated. The sweat of a fit horse looks like clear water; on the other hand, that of an unfit one like lather, which can be most distinctly seen between the hind legs, and dries up less quickly. If the horse when galloping begins to become long, or to breathe more deeply, pressing the knees of the jockey outwards, it is a sign for the jockey to pull up.

Finally, I must add that before the race, and in order to get a perfect condition, in most cases several gallops at full speed, over not more than 2,000 metres, are required, and that the last quick gallop—which often works wonders—must be undertaken two or three days before race day. Of course, even after this last gallop the horse must do its usual two canters daily up to the day of the race. On the day of the race itself, early in the morning, give the horse 1 to 1½ hours' walking exercise, a short canter of 800 metres, and a so-called sprint for the same distance. If desired, you can do as the Americans like to—let the sprint follow the canter without any interval. About five hours before the race give the horse some oats with a little water. An hour before racing lead the horse out of the stable…

(In Part II, we’ll take another look back in time at Oettingen’s “Conclusions and Propositions as to the Improvement and Breeding of Thoroughbreds.)

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® Unlocks Secret Of Ancestral Herd, Pedigree, To Determine Outcome of Belmont Stakes

Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® Unlocks Secret Of Ancestral Herd, Pedigree, To Determine Outcome of Belmont Stakes

By Calvin L. Carter and Dallas Carter
©2019 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.

The classic trail to the third jewel of the Triple Crown takes us this Saturday to Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, where TACITUS has been tagged as the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the 151st running of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1). Post time is 6:37 ET.
Knowing as much as possible about the Thoroughbred and what it takes to produce a classic champion has been a passion of mine since the early 1990s. My research and study led to the creation of the Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®  which is an analytical tool that measures the breeding influences in the five-generation pedigree. The profile is breeding, sales and racing analysis tool used to measure the graded stakes and classic potential of young Thoroughbreds.
In addition to the profile, we have also created a Behavior Index which allows us to identify legitimate and false race contenders and thus move some horses up or down in ranking.
Let’s look at the profile grade rankings for the horses in the Belmont Stakes.

As you can see in the Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® chart above, seven of the ten horses entered in this race have a grade ranking of A or better making this a very good Belmont field of contenders.
In the second chart, the Behavior Index has been applied to five horses highlighted in red allowing us to move horses up or down in ranking. Regarding handicapping, if you think that any of the top four horses in the first chart are false contenders, then they could be moved down in ranking and horses like Tax and Intrepid Heart, in the second chart, could be moved up into the top four ranking.
Let’s look at the horses I like in this race.

TACITUS has been tabbed the 9-5 morning-line favorite and he comes into this race with a 3-0-1 record in five starts for trainer Bill Mott including fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1). He was placed third due to the disqualification of Maximum Security who crossed the finish line first. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:

TACITUS steadied while unsettled behind horses first time through the stretch, found a better rhythm through the middle stages, came five wide off the turn, exchanged brushes with GAME WINNER late and finished with good courage.

Tacitus ran well in just his third start of the season to finish only 3¼ lengths shy of victory.
Tapit, the sire of Tacitus, was a multiple graded stakes winner that compiled a 3-0-0 record in six starts with $557,300 in career earnings.
As a two-year-old, Tapit was undefeated in two starts including a win in the Laurel Futurity (G3).  Tapit was troubled by a lung infection for much of his three-year-old season but he did win the nine-furlong Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) in route to a ninth-place finish in the 2004 Kentucky Derby.
At stud, Tapit has sired numerous graded stakes winners including the Belmont Stakes (G1) champions Tapwrit (2017), Creator (2016) and Tonalist (2014).
Tacitus has an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and he’s the best-bred horse in this herd of runners. Tacitus has the breeding to win this race and I look for him to take another step forward in the stretch out to 12 furlongs.

WAR OF WILL (2-1) comes into this race with a 4-1-1 record in ten starts including a win in the Preakness Stakes (G1). Here’s the video and chart call of that race:

WAR OF WILL broke alertly, was nicely in hand saving ground on the first turn, rated kindly behind the leader down the backstretch, advanced leaving the far turn, had an opening along the inner rail, took command leaving the three sixteenths, edged away under brisk urging and held firm.

War of Will’s win in the Preakness Stakes (G1) was sweet redemption after he was hampered severely by Maximum Security at the top of the stretch in the Kentucky Derby (G1)
War Front, the sire of War of Will, was a graded-stakes winner of the 8½-furlong Princelet Stakes which he won by 8-lengths in a final time of 1:41.79. However, most of War Front’s other races were in sprints where he had a penchant for finishing second. However, he did win the 6-furlong Alfred G. Vanderbilt Breeders’ Cup Handicap (G2) by 2½-lengths.
At stud, War Front sired Soldat, winner of the 2010 With Anticipation Stakes (G2) and second-place finisher in the 8-furlong Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Stakes (G2), and 8½-furlong Pilgrim Stakes (G3). Soldat went on as a three-year-old to win the 9-furlong Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2).
He also sired The Factor, a speedy colt who as a two-year-old won the 7-furlong San Vicente Stakes (G2) and went on as a three-year-old to win the 8½-furlong Rebel Stakes (G2).
War of Will has an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and that makes him a legitimate contender.

TAX (15-1) comes into this race with a 2-2-1 record in six starts including a fifteenth-place finish in the win in the Kentucky Derby (G1). Here’s the video and chart call of that race:

TAX saved ground throughout and was no factor.

Tax is much better than how he ran in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and I look for him to improve off that race.
Arch, the sire of Tax, was a multiple graded stakes winner that compiled a 5-1-0 record in seven starts with $480,969 in career earnings.
Arch made only one start as a two-year-old easily winning a maiden special weight at Keeneland in October 1997. As a three-year-old, Arch won an allowance race at Keeneland in April 1998 and compiled a 4-1-0 record in six starts including wins in the 10-furlong Super Derby (G1) and the 9½-furlong Fayette Breeders' Cup Stakes (G3).
Arch passed away in 2016 and as a stallion, his best runners include: Instilled Regard, Nyaleti, Arklow, Blame, Grand Arch, Arravale, Hymn Book, Art Trader, Les Arcs, Archarcharch and Pine Island.
Tax has an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and he has the breeding to be competitive. I look for him to run good.

INTREPID HEART (10-1) comes into this race with a 2-0-1 record in three starts for trainer Todd Pletcher including a third-place finish in the Peter Pan Stakes (G3). Here’s the video and chart call of that race:

INTREPID HEART stumbled at the start then got bumped by FEDERAL CASE who broke inwards, chased just off the inside down the backstretch, came under coaxing at the nine-sixteenths and tipped four wide through the turn, swung five wide into upper stretch, drifted in straightened away and weakened while passing a pair of tiring rivals to secure the show honors.

In just his third career start, and second start of the season, Intrepid Heart finished a respectable third in the step up to Graded Stakes competition against seasoned runners.
Tapit, the sire of Intrepid Hearst, was a multiple graded stakes winner that compiled a 3-0-0 record in six starts with $557,300 in career earnings.
As a two-year-old, Tapit was undefeated in two starts including a win in the Laurel Futurity (G3).  Tapit was troubled by a lung infection for much of his three-year-old season but he did win the nine-furlong Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) in route to a ninth-place finish in the 2004 Kentucky Derby.
At stud, Tapit has sired numerous graded stakes winners including the Belmont Stakes (G1) champions Tapwrit (2017), Creator (2016) and Tonalist (2014).
Intrepid Heart has an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and he has the breeding to be competitive. He’s an improving colt and I look for him to take another step forward in his third start of the season.

Tacitus has the best breeding by far and he should win this race. There’s not much in the profile score that separates the other five horses with an A+ profile. Honorable mention goes to Bourbon War (12-1), Spinoff (15-1) and Sir Winston (12-1).