Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: In Sunny, HOT and HUMID S.C.
Sad to say, but there really isn't much anyone can do. People have tried for years. You can't beat the money. People who care and just want to train and race adult horses are up against people with more money and control of that industry. Two ways I see that a change happen.
A) A law gets passed forcing it (that's been tried, but money can buy or prevent just about anything) OR
B) Every TB breeder in the country withholds racing their young horse. If there's not 2 and 3 year olds to race, then they can't hold that race. All the Derby's would go away. Figure the odds of that ever happening. :))
OR (my favorite)
C) If Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and enough of the other super rich got together and sponcered 3 or 4 big races, with matching or record setting winners purses and imposed an age limit of 5 year olds and above. If they did that and ran the races every year, then the Derby's might die down. Especially with the bigger money attracting owners, faster horses attracting spectators, which would both attract more media. If they got big enough and started a bigger industry of fully matured horses doing the racing. That might eventually end the 2-3 year old racing. But what are the odds of that every happening?
(BTW: A horse could probably be raced at 3, but it's not good because of the time and work involved to get the horse conditions for racing. It would mean stressing the joints at 2. Better wait until after 3 to start the hard training and race at 4+ I'll cover why I like 5+ in a bit). Hense endurance racing requiring 60 months.
Horses race at 3 now and break down. They are put through lot at 2 or younger just to get them ready at 3, so damage has already been done.
Would you like more horses than Ruffian? I used her because she was a BIG winner (including the triple crown for fillies the year she died) and a great example of how people care more about the money than the horse.
There was Barbaro and War Admiral, but I'm not great at pulling names out of a hate :)). I could start searching the web for more, but those are some of the big names. Of course less than 1% of the horses ever get any recognition, so the big names that break down are a % of that 1%. Most are never known, because they didn't win (for whatever reason) and were disposed of in some fashion. About 5,000 horses pass into and out of that racing industry every year. Plus there are even more that are still in and aren't out of the industry yet. It repersents a big investment for the people who breed and raise them and a lot of money for the vets/trainers/handlers/etc....
People who don't train hard are not going to produce big money winners. It's like somone who trains for a year joging and/or walking 5 miles a day, 3 days a week to get in shape (but keep it easy on their knees) competing in a 5K race against someone who's spent the last 6 months running 5-6k 5 days a week. You have to train for what you expect to do. I don't have a problem with training horses to run a hard race. Just the age that it's done at. Don't start building up for the heard racing before they're over 36 months.
Yes, contact sports are rough, but that would probably more like comparing it to polo. This is racing, not a contact sport.
Yes, you can find a few older horses racing. Some were started later and kudos to the rare owner who does bear the cost of waiting. There are some who started young, managed to win enough money AND stay sound enough to keep racing (possibly as rare as those who's owners cared enough to wait). You can sometimes even find 6 year olds racing, but not in the Derby's. You see (and this "logic" has always escaped me) "adult" racing TB of 5+ (this holds true of the other breeds too) are usually faster than a racing 3 year old (much like a 21 year old human is usually faster than a 14 year old). The big races have an age limit of 3 years old. Now think about that and consider the speed records horses like Secretariate and Ruffian could have set if they'd been trained, coinditioned and then turned loose on the track at 5 years of age.
I can't say why they are so hung up on 3 year olds, but they are. And that's where the money and, by default, the power is. And as a result, that's were all the media attention is.
If you have a solution that works, you'll have done what great many have tried to do for many, many years. You have all my best wishes if you plan to join the ranks of those battling the 3 year olds racing industry. There are still people fitting it. It's like a relay race that never ends. As one person falls away there's always more joining.
But always comes back to: You can't defeat the money.