So many people this Derby season were complaining about how slow the horses ran in each of the jewels. Aside from the speedy opening times in the Preakness, many (novice and professionals alike) thought this to be the slowest and weakest crop of 3 yr old colts ever. I don't know about you, but I feel like we have been hearing this rant (or excuse) for more than a few years. Every time we get through the Triple Crown with no standouts, it's a weak crop of colts. So how many times are we going to say this before we do something about it?
This year has been crazy with the sideline list. While some colts, such as Uncle Mo, were taken out of training for reasons beyond a fracture, many are taking a break because of sustaining one.
Tapizar-Chip in the knee
Nehro-Chip in the ankle
Dialed In-Chip in the knee
Premier Pegasus-Cannon bone fracture
Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom likely won't race until next March due to a fractured hock.
As mentioned, these are just the horses out for bone fractures, not to mention To Honor and Serve, Boys At Tosconova, and Jaycito who are out with ligament, back, and hoof problems respectively. What is going on? Many of these horses where either 2 yr old stars or thought to be the potential stars of the Triple Crown series. So my next question...what can be done?
We have taken out the steroids, are tinkering with the idea of banning Lasix, we've tried introducing polytrack and other softer surfaces (which leads to lots of complaints about 'real' horses running on 'real' dirt...need I mention the Zenyatta haters?) but still our horses are breaking down and the industry stands divided.
In a time when we really need a stand out superstar to win the public's hearts in the Triple Crown races and then stay and run a few more season, we can't even achieve the former. It is becoming all to common for us to shrug our shoulders and dismiss injuries as 'part of the sport' but instead, we need to be finding the cause. Perhaps the answer is in allowing or banning various drugs, making tracks that benefit the horses, jockeys, and all running types, or maybe even doing a breeding overhaul. Whatever, just do it already! I don't care if breeding for endurance and stability means we start running the Derby in 2:08+. If I get to see how my Derby fav does in his 4 yr and 5 yr old season, I think I will take that hit in speed. At this point, I just want to enjoy them on the track and have the horses enjoy running again.(Differentiate, Arlington Park-July 17th 2010)