On Nasal Strips (and tongue ties) in racehorses....

Yesterday afternoon, California Chrome trainer Art Sherman contacted the NYRA Stewards requesting permission to use nasal strips on the horse. In a Stewards house rule, nasal strips had previously fallen under the broad catch-all of a non approved device and was thus banned from use in NY where is it not as popular as it is in say California where just about every trainer is using them. The Stewards immediately sought comment from New York State Gaming Commission Equine Medical Director Scott E. Palmer, VDM, on the use. Dr. Palmer wrote: "I recommend that the stewards at State-based Thoroughbred racetracks discontinue their ban on equine nasal strips. Equine nasal strips do not enhance equin

The relationship of Service Fee to Yearling Sale Averages

In my earlier post on using Machine Learning for Yearling Selection I mentioned that we looked at both the service fee that the stallion was at the time the yearling was conceived as well as the time that the yearling went through the sale (or the year prior as most fees are set in October the year before). We found that the service fee at Sale Year, that is the fee set in the October before the yearlings sold (or in the case of Australia/New Zealand the May before the yearlings sold the following year), was a pretty good barometer of the stallions overall performance at that point in time. The market tells you when a stallion is not getting it done and the service fee of the stallion is a p

Are Triple Crown Winners getting slower?

Earlier this week in the Thoroughbred Daily News I wrote a letter to the editor in response to Bill Oppenheim's column. Bill pointed out that the Beyer speed figures for the Derby and Belmont were starting to get really low, that is the winners were generally getting slower. Bill's suggestion was that we should recognize that the market has selected for speed and change the distances of the races to suit the horses that are being bred for. We have done some work on this from a genetic perspective. There are quite a few winners of Triple Crown races that are genetically Sprinter/Milers. Two in particular have gone on to stud and have in the main sired sprinters, which is what they were geneti

Is winning the Kentucky Derby relevant to the breeding industry?

We have just witnessed the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby. No doubt by now that there will be stud farms around America now jockeying for positions to take a chance at stud with the brilliant California Chrome. A rational precis of California Chrome's pedigree would be as follows - his sire was well bred, talented, but suffered from a breathing problem which compromised his career. His dam was a modestly performed runner, by a well-bred and well performed regional sire, who was out of a modestly performed mare. In summation, he's Mendel at his best, the genetic 10,000-1 shot that you would go broke trying to do again (unless it is that mare and that sire). We've seen these types of hors

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