13th Jun 2012
Osblog 17 Belmont
Pete Bradley tweets that the two Grade 1 winners on the Belmont card “failed prepurchase vet exams” for wind. After the shock of seeing such an unusual comment subsides the question arises as to why the two minute standing exam performed before maturity and at rest can cast a shadow that dims the evidence of the racetrack . Here are two racehorses proven where it matters, yet tarnished (not by Pete) because of an opinion formed with limited evidence.
It reminds me of discussions we had some years ago about a Champion Irish two-year-old which won a Group 1 over 12 furlongs and yet was considered unworthy of a place at stud because of the reputational damage of a yearling sales exam. What would Tesio think of that?
Who judges the judges? If somebody expresses a negative opinion about a sales horse it has immediate damaging impact on the value of the horse. The fact that most racehorses fall short of expectations in some way rescues the one who damns. The statistics will show that a horse disappointed and this may be defensively attributed to the defect identified, though it may have no connection. If the ones who damn had their opinions broadcast, then at least their judgment could be assessed and the appropriate number of pinches of salt could be taken with the negative report. And when the damned horse subsequently wins a Classic, the potential owner, deprived of a Champion, can learn.
The wheel has certainly turned and most of the players now realise that the yearling or foal purchase is a risk, and part of the risk assessment is the veterinary evidence. Those who followed it blindly regretted missing too many great horses and also found their shortlists at the sales left it almost impossible to play. Obviously caveat emptor and certain defects are considered from experience to be unforgivable. If we could discuss these things more openly we could all learn but the University of Horsedealing charges slightly higher fees.