Lovely photos...I would much rather be there than here in "still too cold for this time of the year" PA!
Mary, with Old Fashioned fracturing a knee and the Pamplemousse injuring a tendon I'd like to ask: why are the Derbies, The Preakness and Belmont and other important stakes not run with 4 yr olds? Starting running at 3 yrs, and then competing at greater speeds and longer distances only at 4 yr old, would that not be likely to reduce importantly the number and seriousness of injuries? Those horses are still growing when 2yr and 3yrs old. Also, seeing that Quality Road is made to run with a hoof crack does strike me as good for the reputation of the sport. Having that injury may, if nothing else, make him more likely to stumble from pain or unbalance and break a leg (The Mousse's owners/ trainer by contrast do speak well for horsemanship).Thank you for your thoughts on the above.
A quick aside to Anonymous; horses that train and race starting at 2 have a lower rate of injury than those who begin to run later (check in Google Scholar for a number of published papers about bone modeling/formation in thoroughbreds) - I spent a lot of time on this issue back when I worked at Penn Vet.Many horses in a variety of disciplines compete with quarter cracks - it just depends on the nature of the injury. Some are no big deal, some are showstoppers. I'm also curious to see how Quality Road handles it.Sunny Santa Anita looks much warmer than chilly Pennsylvania!
Anon, I'm certainly no expert on the subject but would love to hear from some trainers and vets (thank you to Superfecta for the informative comment!). I will say that the Thoroughbred trainers I know are aware and, for the most part, very concerned about the toll the Kentucky Derby trail takes on young horses. Those who are lucky enough to have Derby contenders are continually monitoring them for any signs of stress. Horsemen like "The Mousse's" connections are more common than you might think!
thanks for sharing the great pic's! I hope I can make it to Santa Anita next year!
Anon, you are right to be concerned, as the injury rate seems so high among those headed for the Derby. Of course, sometimes a horse is "pushed" to make the Big Dance, and that may cause some small injury to become a major one. This is an athletic endeavor, and many times injuries do occur without any possibility of prevention. In reality, these are the high profile injuries that the public is aware of, but on a daily basis we see the same injuries occurring to the lesser known horses, young or old. These animals are selectively bred to peak at 3 or 4 years old, and as mentioned, early training and racing strengthens their bones. It is not unlike starting a child playing a sport when he or she is young, so that the athleticism is cultivated and they are ready to turn Pro at 18. Or win the Final Four. Kudos to the trainers who know when to stop on a horse, Derby bound or not. I think if that quarter crack bothers Quality Road, a trainer named Jerkins won't push him... one of the finest training families ever to grace the sport.