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In light of the sad news about Medina Spirit suffering an apparent heart attack, we thought this article very relevant.
By Dan Ross
The sudden death during training hours this summer of Bobby Abu Dhabi (Macho Uno) was a tragic incident. Connections lost a horse they loved. Racing lost one of its sprint stars. His death, however, opens a window into a still relatively obscure corner of equine fatalities.
While Bobby Abu Dhabi was originally reported to have suffered cardiac arrest, it was later reported he died of other causes. What this confusion betrays are some common misunderstandings surrounding “sudden deaths,” namely that the term
comprises a variety of different health issues and injuries, some of them completely unrelated to the heart. Another problem, said Dionne Benson, executive director of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, is that while we can speculate why racehorses' hearts suddenly give out, we're still unable to provide definitive answers, like we can for humans.
“This is such a hard area to dig into,” Benson said. “We have so little information out there.”
Defining “Sudden Death”
Veterinary medicine defines exercise-induced “sudden death” in racehorses as the collapse and death in an apparently healthy horse during, or within one hour after, exercise. The term comprises many different causes, not just sudden cardiac death. Massive bleeding in the lungs or abdomen; fractures of the skull or neck; hemorrhaging from a pelvic fracture–all these injuries can prove swiftly fatal in a manner that, outwardly, resembles a cardiac issue.
Of paramount importance, then, is that a thorough post-mortem is conducted swiftly, to identify, if possible, what happened. While some jurisdictions have comprehensive necropsy programs for all horses fatally injured during racing and morning training, this is far from a blanket requirement across the nation, meaning that many sudden deaths, which happen relatively rarely anyway, go unexamined.
What's more, even if a post-mortem is performed, when it comes to sudden cardiac death, oftentimes there are no lesions, ruptured arteries or damaged heart tissue that pathologists can point to with authority and say this or that caused the heart to stop.
Horse Race Betting Made Easy
Did you know that horse racing is third on the list of most popular sports to bet on in the U.S.? It is pretty impressive when you think about the fact that horse racing comes 26th with regards to the number of people watching it. The main reason behind this is that people don't usually watch horse racing because of the sport itself but the thrill they get from betting on it. And it can also be quite profitable if you know what you are doing. This article is for a beginner who is completely clueless about the process and doesn’t even know that dark horse betting is when a lesser known horse rises to popularity beating other competitors in a race. To help you, we’ll discuss some useful tips that will take your horse race betting skill to the next level.
Beginner Tips for a Better Horse Race Betting Experience
It was back in the 1600s when the first organized horse races started in the U.S. The most common misconception among people is that horse betting is all about trusting your gut and waiting for your luck to work wonders, but it isn't exactly that. There are so many different aspects of horse racing that you need to think about before betting on a horse. Follow this guide thoroughly, and hopefully, it will help you profit from your betting experience.
Figure Out the Most Popular Horse
The betting odds often play a significant role in detecting the winning probability of each individual horse participating in a race. In most cases, you will find that the horse with a shorter price is probably the one people are betting on most. Also, keep in mind that popularity is often considered with higher winning chances, too, and thus, as a beginner, it is not such a poor move to bet on the crowd favorite.
People who become a little bit experienced at horse betting keep a close track of the betting odds of the horses and study their rise and fall. They have proper knowledge of which horse is worth betting on and which isn't. Thus, it is also a good decision if you know someone who is an expert at horse race betting, to rely on their insight.
When many of us consider equine sports, a few distinct locations come to mind. Some might first think of Ascot in Berkshire where Queen Elizabeth II makes her annual appearance to watch one of the most prestigious events in horse racing. Others might think of the blue-blooded Kentucky Derby, where the creme-da-la-creme of American royalty have converged to wager eye-watering sums on the track in one of the most respectful venues on the planet.
Those who are not as familiar with the history and legacy of horse racing will make the mistake of discounting the Middle East and the wider Arabic world from the story of horse racing. This is in spite of the fact that, without the people, places, and ingenuity found in this region, horse racing as we know it today would simply not exist. Here's a brief history of the immense debt the equestrian world owes to the Middle East.
Arabian horses: the only game in town
Even those with only a passing interest in equestrian history will likely be aware of the importance of horse breeding on the Arabian peninsula. To this day, the so-called "Arabian horse" is the most recognizable breed on the planet, one that has produced some of the most successful competitors in history including (but not limited to) Marwan Al Shaqab, Cass Ole, Blueskin, Dormane, and Theodore O'Connor, all of which have either won the Kentucky Derby or taken home Olympic Gold.
The origins of horse breeding on the Arabian peninsula go all the way to the earliest days of civilization, with professional breeding taking place in modern-day Lebanon and Syria since at least 2000 BC. It was not until the 19th century when Arabian horses began to be recognized internationally, particularly those that were bred and trained by the Bedouin people of the Peninsula.
The Breeders Cup is just around the corner, arguably the biggest meet of the US racing calendar.
It isn't the last significant meet of the year; the Clark Handicap, Cigar Mile and Le Brea Stakes are all set to take place before the New Year, but the Breeders Cup is perhaps the biggest horse racing event of the year. Even if you have little interest in racing all year round, you're likely to cast an eye over the Breeders Cup field. That's the nature of the race, a national moment that captures the attention of a watching country.
There are other races like this around the world, other courses and individual moments that stop a country, albeit briefly, as they check their sweepstakes. They're the ones worth knowing about for all US racing enthusiasts, wherever they are. If that's you, you might be interested in these big races and when they usually occur.
Aintree Grand National
The Grand National is the UK equivalent of The Breeders Cup. It's a race that makes sporting headlines across the country, where even those with no interest in the event at all end up cheering on a horse in a workplace sweep. It's even described on the Coral horse racing page as being the world's most famous steeplechase. 40 runners attack the four-mile course, and the eyes of more than 500 million people are briefly transfixed on the race at the Aintree course in Liverpool, usually on the second weekend in April.
Taking a gamble on horse racing is a global pastime that remains as one of sports most popular betting markets today. From Great Britain's Grand National to America's Breeders' Cup, bookmakers from around the world take heavy wagering action from bettors attempting to make a quick profit. But before you can master the world of horse handicapping, it's imperative to understand horse racing odds and what they entail. For those struggling to grasp betting lines and available odds, continue reading for a short guide on the subject.
What's The Need for Horse Racing Odds?
To simplify, horse racing odds are the mathematical representation of how likely a single horse is to win a particular race. In addition to providing bettors with a clear outlook on the likelihood of a horse winning, the odds (also known as the betting line) will give you an idea of the amount of profit you can make from betting a specific horse.
Once you've mastered the other niceties involved around horse racing odds, you can utilize this knowledge to guide how much you could win and gauge how likely your preferred outcome matches the industry as a whole.
Odds will diversify depending on the racetrack, the horses involved, and live adjustments will be made on odds as industry news, or wager amounts shift the available price. Making use of an odds tracker can be an excellent investment when tracking the best available betting value.
The most prestigious event in US horse racing is less than one month away. And with the preliminary qualification races for the Breeders’ Cup one showing away from its conclusion, let us look back at the standout entries who earned a “Win, and You’re In” placement from the weekends racing Keeneland and Belmont Park.
Distaff, Sunday (Keeneland)
This past Sunday held the $500,000 Grade I Juddmonte Spinster Stakes at Keeneland. It was continued success for Letruska, who’s already demonstrated that she’s a serious contender for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff before claiming her “Win and You’re In” spot this weekend.
Led into the winner’s circle under jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., the 5-year-old mare ran a similar blueprint from her previous victory in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga Racecourse in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., swiftly reaching the front as the field ran into the first turn. Following a breather, after the far turn, she cruised home 1 ¾ lengths in front of Dunbar Road.
This victory became Letruska’s sixth win from her previous seven appearances, and trainer Fausto Gutierrez was delighted at the prospect of a Breeders’ Cup placement.
“She right now is one of the top contenders of the division,” Gutierrez said. “For her to win the ‘Win and You’re In’ for the Breeders’ Cup… What can I tell you? This is a strong year for this horse.”
As the horse racing calendar heads into Q4, certain race fans or bettors alike may be looking towards 2022 already. Let me stop you in your tracks, slow that horse down, and don't neglect the end-of-year events that horse racing has to offer. The Breeders' Cup is the penultimate of US horse racing and should close out the year in style, amongst many other dates that should draw your interest. Continue reading as we preview the end of year horse racing events you don't want to miss.
The Breeders Cup – November 5th & 6th, 2021
If you aren't familiar with the Breeders' Cup and its significance in horse racing, you're either from another solar system or you've been living under a rock.
It's the moment where the entirety of America enjoys horse racing in its glory, even those who don't watch the sport regularly will often be found tuning in. Live streaming and viewership reaches its peak during fall, and that's with great thanks to the Breeders' Cup.
Fourteen championship races will occur this year, with 5 ½ furlongs to 1 ¼ mile on turf and dirt will race it out in Del Mar, California. From juveniles, fillies, colts, and older horses, they'll all be gunning for that considerable prize money.
The Breeders' Cup World Championship concludes a year of elite horse racing with massive purses, the fastest horses, with huge fields that deliver the crowning of champions whilst making those skilful betting handicappers rich. The best bets for today will undoubtedly provide higher value than a regular event, including the races themselves like the Breeders' Classic which is well-known for it's $6 million purse.
Between the fourteen races scheduled, an event total of $30 million will be split between the many different types of races. The marquee event is always the Breeder's Classic Cup, which, as mentioned, boasts a six-million-dollar purse with horses travelling from all over the globe to compete in the event. Horses from countries such as France, Brazil, Japan, Ireland, and Great Britain will regularly compete in the Breeders' Cup, which is why it can own the title of 'World Championship'.
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by Marion E. Altieri
When buyers of Thoroughbreds consider a horse for purchase, one of the key considerations is conformation. Conformation is the way a horse is physically put together. The bones, muscles and proportions of the animal are the characteristics that ultimately prepare them for their job—that of running quickly with great efficiency. Human beauty is relative—every culture and every individual has standards of beauty that may not jive with those of anyone else.
Everyone is beautiful to somebody.
This is not the case in the equine world: each breed has standards of beauty. That beauty is not superficial, but rather tied directly at the unconscious level to expectations for the jobs of horses within said breed. Draft horses work hard for a living: they are stocky and muscular, with thick legs and strong backs. Thoroughbreds must be able to run fast, with grace, for grace of movement actually is a factor in the science of winning races. Long, elegant strides are the domain of those who win purses, while jackrabbit runners are far-less likely to take the day. This is a most egalitarian concept: a Thoroughbred doesn't win a race because s/he is liked better by the stewards or race announcer. No one votes on who should win—or the Triple Crown would be achieved every year.
A Thoroughbred must cross the finish line first to win a race.
And just as Fasig-Tipton's elegant, renovated facilities are both magnificently lovely and serve a very practical purpose—the two concepts are inextricably bound up together—concern for equine conformation also is a matter of form follows function.
Whether a horse's main function is to run fast in order to win a race or to escape predators in the wild west—its form has been "fearfully and wonderfully made" to accommodate that most basic of instincts.
The machinery that gives a Thoroughbred his locomotion—the self-powered, patterned motion of limbs or other anatomical parts—is vitally essential, from the core. A horse may be appealing to the eye, but if the parts aren't hung together in a way that facilitates smooth action and a long stride—beauty means nothing.
The legs, hind end, neck, withers and abdomen all must work together like a machine, creating a rhythm that is easily maintained, right 'til the end of the race. The runners may speed up in the stretch, but the original stride and way of moving of each horse remains essentially the same.
Many factors go into the study of conformation: yes, it's about musculature; skeletal structure and mass. But it's the way those physical attributes come together with the spirit of the horse—that one unquantifiable factor—that determines the horse's chances of becoming a champion. Energy must overcome drag, inertia and gravity, and that is achieved by the mechanical workings of the biological attributes of the horse. Even the fact that horses are unguligrade—they are of a class of animals who walk and run on their toes—is a contributor to the relative perfection of the animal.
Of course, horses lacking excellent conformation have made monster names for themselves in the sport: Seabiscuit was small, somewhat boney and was over at the knees. The mighty Seattle Slew actually was slew-footed: when he walked, his right-front hoof turned out. He ran straight as a string, but as soon as he walked back off the track, that right hoof turned and faced East. Both Seabiscuit and Seattle Slew established themselves in the Pantheon of Thoroughbred racing, their conformational flaws notwithstanding.
Secretariat, the mighty warrior who won the Belmont—and therefore, the Triple Crown—by an otherworldly 31 lengths—is considered by most to be the most perfectly-conformed Thoroughbred.
(The measuring stick for conformation: a perfect square should be formed by its legs, back and distance between the hooves. A distasteful thought, but if you can envision a Thoroughbred with its head cut off at the neck—that squareness, or lack thereof, will be revealed. Secretariat formed a perfect square, to the naked eye using that yardstick.)
Indeed, Secretariat was as perfect as possible, and no doubt, our recent Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah, also will be discussed for his conformation for decades to come. His 5 ½ margin of victory in the Belmont Stakes (by which he won the Triple Crown) made it look easy, and his beautiful conformation had a great deal to do with the Pharoah taking his rightful place in horse racing history books.
American Pharoah’s body had to be built to facilitate acceleration, speed, and ability to defy drag and gravity. These things must work together in harmony—and then, these mechanics of his biology had to work together with his focus, drive and will to win.
Conformation photos aren’t taken of horses until they enter the breeding shed, but Equicurean has acquired this gorgeous, “informal” conformation shot through which we see the mighty warrior in all his buff glory. The depth and breadth of his chest; his long, straight legs and round hind end (the engine) all work together with his straight back, high withers (shoulders) and long, perfect neck to make a running machine that obviously propels him forward with power and authority.
Horse sales and races will continue in the months and years to follow American Pharoah’s Triple Crown win precisely because this is the sport in which hope springs eternal. There may be another horse out there whose conformation comes together with pedigree and attitude to create another Triple Crown winner—and maybe this time, we won’t have to wait 37 years.
Conformation will be studied and respected as a key factor as long as horsepeople keep hope in their hearts, and science on their minds. Conformation is not the only determining factor, but it's the first that buyers and sellers notice—and the one that has the most clout when doing the mathematics of physics, that sweet science that aids and abets the quest to win at this sport that offers more intangible rewards than any athletic endeavour on Earth.
About the Author
Marion Altieri first rode Quarter Horses at age four. That same year (1960), her Mother took her to the races at Saratoga for the first time, and thus began the love affair. In 2003, Penny Chenery and Marion met; Penny became her Mentor and encouraged her media dreams. This year, Marion is launching FillyMedia.net, and resurrecting "View from a Broad" on Filly Racing Radio. (The radio show aired originally in July, 2013 on WJKE The Jockey, and was sponsored exclusively by NYRA--The New York Racing Association.) She's thrilled to see her name and work on the pages of EquineInfoExchange.com, which she considers to be THE Best (Most-Beautiful, and Most-Comprehensive) horse-centric Website in the Universe. She's available for writing and editing gigs at ThoroughbredWriter@yahoo.com (859) 940-0568.
Re-launching Tuesday, 14 September 2021 View from a Broad, on f!lly Racing Radio: Thoroughbred and Arabian Horse Racing Online Radio by ThoroughbredWriter
by William G. Gotimer, Jr.
Betting on horses has been a favorite pastime for centuries in many places around the world. Despite changes in almost every facet of life - betting on horses has remained largely the same. Determining the order of finish in a race of spirited horses has always been the pursuit. What has changed over the years is the mechanics of placing a wager.
Younger race fans have grown up with numerous ways to place a bet; multi-bet teller windows, self-service machines, telephone bets, internet wagering, wagering aps on phones – all modern methods. Most people are even aware of the old fashion bookmaker models highlighted in shows such as Peaky Blinders where bets are transmitted through a series of calls, hand signals and chalk boards (hence the term “chalk” for a race favorite). But what about the period between the chalk period and the computer period? Not many remember placing bets in those days from the mid-1930s to the mid-1970s but placing bets required some determination. It was not for the faint hearted.
Much of the routine was driven by technological limitation. Placing bets and cashing bets needed to be done at separate windows and in fact were done on separate sides of the building. Placing bets was done on the windows facing the racetrack while cashing was done around the back facing away from the track. A bettor having a losing day without cashing a ticket was said to “never make it the other side”. Winners could be seen rounding the corner to cash tickets while losers remained in place on the front side. Cashing tickets was done manually as was the math needed to determine your return. Bettors needed to know exactly how much they were due lest an “error” intentional or accidental saw them leave some of their winnings behind at the window.