Sorry I've been such a poor blogger lately; too much going on. But -
Many, are boycotting the Triple Crown. I can't say I'm necessarily boycotting, but I sure don't want to watch. . . Nonetheless, I came across an article today about more hoof problems for Big Brown, winner of the Derby and Preakness.
'The unbeaten Triple Crown contender has a slight crack on his left front hoof. . . (and is) being treated by hoof specialist Ian McKinlay for a five-eighths of an inch long quarter crack on the inside of his left heel. . . McKinlay has repaired injuries much more severe before big races, allowing Touch Gold to fight off a leg injury from the 1997 Preakness and go on to win the Belmont and spoil Silver Charm's Triple try in 1997. . . Foot woes are nothing new for Big Brown. When he first arrived at Dutrow's barn in Aqueduct late last year, he suffered an abscess in the sole of his left front foot, which caused a wall separation and sidelined him for 45 days. In January, he suffered the same injury to his right front foot and missed another 45 days. '
Read the entire article here.
And from another article, here, we find out that 'Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown will head for stud at Three Chimneys after his racing career, which the colt's owner, International Equine Acquisitions Holdings, has said will end with his 3-year-old season.'
Part of the reason this got all caught up in my mental cogs is because a couple of years ago, right after Barbaro's break down in the Preakness, there was a thought provoking editorial in the agility magazine 'Clean Run'. I wish I could find the darn thing, but the bottom line of the article was that whether it's horses or dogs, breeding exclusively for particular performance traits, having a closed stud book, and ignoring a trend in physical or temperamental breakdown in your breeding population is a recipe for disaster.
What good are faster and faster race times, if the 'best of the best' have to be put down right on the track because of catastrophic break downs, or if their hooves have to be literally patched together to keep them racing? What good is a border collie with such high drive that they have no 'off' switch? What good is a flashy 'flying' trot, when the conformation no longer allows for an honest days work? What good is a head so big that ALL litters are are delivered via C-section? What performance criteria (or breed ring fad) is so important that we fail to achieve OVERALL health? What is the definition of IDEAL performance? When does specialization go too far?
Case in point - American Grand Victor, 1967
American Grand Victor, 2003.