Violence off the Derby trail with sesamoid fracture

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Violence wins the Nashua Stakes as a 2yo Violence wins the Nashua Stakes as a 2yo

Violence, promising 3-year-old colt and one of the early Kentucky Derby favorites, sustained a fracture to his right front medial sesamoid.  The fracture was detected after his gutsy second place finish in yesterday’s Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Resting comfortably at Gulfstream Park, the colt will ship to owner Steven Marshall’s Black Rock Stable’s Farm in Versailles, KY this week for further evaluation and recuperation.

“It’s such a disappointment to see such a promising colt sustain an injury,” said trainer Todd Pletcher.  “He’s been training beautifully and made such an impressive effort in his second place finish yesterday.”

The Medaglia d’ Oro colt, winner of the Cash Call Futurity (GI) and unbeaten in three prior starts, earned 20 points in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” standings for his runner-up effort, moving into third place in the standings with 30 points.

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  • MD

    It’s hard enough to make the derby just because to qualify you have to run well…..but you need to stay sound and healthy too! It’s too bad. Sorry to the connections but hopefully he turns into a good stallion. I wouldn’t try to run him again. 

  • MD

    It’s hard enough to make the derby just because to qualify you have to run well…..but you need to stay sound and healthy too! It’s too bad. Sorry to the connections but hopefully he turns into a good stallion. I wouldn’t try to run him again. 

  • http://twitter.com/GuyFleegman1 Guy Fleegman

    That is tragic.  Hopefully he will become a useful stallion and live a long and happy life.

  • http://twitter.com/GuyFleegman1 Guy Fleegman

    That is tragic.  Hopefully he will become a useful stallion and live a long and happy life.

  • Dantana

    Is a stallion “useful” that can’t make it past four starts?
    We have plenty of that kind of brilliance.

    • Demot Carty

      Danzig

      • LongTimeEconomist

        Raise A Native

        • Tinky

          Both notable anomalies, but not a foundation for a strong argument.

          I know a few people who have ridden motorcycles for decades without being injured, but that doesn’t make it safe.

      • ROISIN

        And the not so famous like Muskateer who won a grade 3 as a 10yr old.
        Also Catlaunch who was still racing and winning in Ohio as an 11 yr old with well over 90 starts. I guess they don’t count since they are not in the big leagues but that’s soundness !

        • Darlene Sanner

          I would send a mare in a heartbeat to Musketier because of his long career on track Or for bigger bucks if I had them the mare would go to shuttle stallion Lonrho 35 starts 26 wins And could run all day

    • Khambat

      Most of last year’s three year old class was retired with stallion plans by the Travers. And horse racing wonders why it can’t capture the public’s attention.

      • nu-fan

        I became a fan of I”ll Have Another after watching him win the Santa Anita Derby last year.  As others favored other horses through the first two legs of the TC, I stuck to IHA and, of course, he didn’t disappoint.  Then…..he disappeared to Japan!   I would have liked to have had a horse that I could have followed for more than one season.  Hard to get wrapped up in this year’s crop.  Just have a feeling that it will be deja vu all over again.

  • Dantana

    Is a stallion “useful” that can’t make it past four starts?
    We have plenty of that kind of brilliance.

  • Skip Ean

    I am so sorry this brilliant horse was hit with this.  I hope vets can help him so he can resume his career, which has seemed so promising. 

  • Skip Ean

    I am so sorry this brilliant horse was hit with this.  I hope vets can help him so he can resume his career, which has seemed so promising. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000265486749 Susie Grady

    Trained by Todd Pletcher. What a surprise he’s injured.

    • Skip Ean

      How come you and I know this but others defend him. Answer: money.

    • Smokey Glacken

      Someone needs to do a count of exactly how many good 3 year-olds break down, or are so severely injured, that they never race again. We all know things happen but, with Pletcher it seems to occur constantly.

      • Kris

        You are so right, Smokey Glacken.  For the life of me I can’t figure out people who get excited about any Pletcher three-year-old because you know he’s going to ruin most of them.

        • Skip Ean

          And yet he continues to get horses left and right from owners?  He doesn’t get called on this by the equine press?  He makes a fortune by breaking down a good number of his horses?  Would be great if he could be banned for 10 years, but he will get away with it because of the quick money owners want from horses they only see as dollar signs–not living creatures who can have longer careers before they are put into the breeding shed for lots more money.  I’m sorry, that stinks.

        • Smartyjohn

           last year, it was Baffert’s horses. this year (hopefully not) Pletcher’s.

        • Darlene Sanner

          he has had 27 make it in the gate with only 1 win But it seems the best ones are always out before Derby I never fall for a Todd horse for the Derby

      • McGov

        He learned from the best…DW…same thing.  How many young horses are pushed so hard for the glory of men…pushed beyond reason.  Future generations of trainers will understand the science better…they will carefully balance the need for experience against appropriate bone density development…they will measure bone density constantly between the juvenille beginnings of a horse and it’s full maturity 3 years later.  Today, most trainers do not embrace these concepts…they rely on their track vets and their eyes, ears and hands….and mathematical evaluations of performance and pedigree.
        I hope I live long enough to see the change…..in the interim it is full cup blinkers for me.

        • nu-fan

          McGov:  Or, is that kind of information pretty much available but is for long-term investors rather than those wanting to have their money back as soon as possible?  Perhaps, that is why I still admire Shirreff and the owners of Zenyatta and how they did not rush that horse.

          • Skip Ean

            And he is not rushing Eblouissante, Zenyatta’s half sister, either, and she is doing very well.  John doesn’t run a horse factory.  He cares and tends his horses, learning as much as he can about each one.  He respects them and tunes into them and doesn’t worry about money like the factory guys do.  He worries about the horse.  Rare.

          • nu-fan

            Yes, he seems very rare, indeed.  And, yet, successful.  Why don’t more emulate him?  Is it because they do not have enough owners who are thinking long-term instead of the fastest ROI?  But, Shirreff’s horses were not aimed for the Triple Crown.  That is where I wish that the U.S. would have just as prestigious of racing events for older horses as they do for 3-year-olds; but, not aimed at destroying the TC.  Just provide an alternative for owners/trainers with horses that need more time to grow and mature. 

          • McGov

            I have no idea if Pletcher measures bone density changes on his juveniles…but I do know that most don’t.  It’s true that some owners want to get even on their investment asap…but those types don’t own the likes of Violence.  IMO, there is a ‘poop or get of the pot’ approach by some blue bloods to see what they really got…if they really have a chance for a Triple Crown run.  And there is a thinking that you must put a horse through a certain level of adversity, and arguably an unreasonable amount, to toughen them up a bit for a Triple Crown run.
            But in the end we are talking about 1200 lb athletes running as fast as they can on little tiny stick legs…it is a precarious undertaking to say the least….and very high risk.
            IMO, more can be done to minimize the risk…and it would start with using all science and technology that is available.

          • nu-fan

            Agreed.  I am a believer in a scientific approach but, in the end, isn’t it the horseracing industry that needs to listen to what is being said and follow that advice?  That is what I have a hunch is not happening for self-interest reasons.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/GM4MKOH3SRM3GAZLMIKOOOAI74 jttf

        last year, pletcher had 3 derby trail horses that did not return to racing.  algorithm’s last race was jan 29.  spring hill farm’s last race was jan 20 and thunder moccasin last raced on feb 11.  eskendereya was 3 years ago.  the worst example was last year’s preakness.  the top three finishers did not return to racing.   california’s i’ll have another, bodemeister and creative cause.  these three did very well, but did the regular 6 furlong works shorten their careers ?      went the day, also had his last race in last year’s preakness. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000265486749 Susie Grady

    Trained by Todd Pletcher. What a surprise he’s injured.

  • Demot Carty

    Danzig

  • Richard Kasoff Lv

    Dantana, I agree. Eligible for NW2X. Says it all. What a waste. Yet someone is salivating over the prospect of sending a mare to Violence for about 2006 large, or so. What a joke.

  • Richard Kasoff Lv

    Dantana, I agree. Eligible for NW2X. Says it all. What a waste. Yet someone is salivating over the prospect of sending a mare to Violence for about 2006 large, or so. What a joke.

  • Khambat

    Most of last year’s three year old class was retired with stallion plans by the Travers. And horse racing wonders why it can’t capture the public’s attention.

  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    I do not doubt that he is a decent trainer, but I have to look at historical trends here and it just seems this stables plan to get a horse to the Derby never seems to work out right.  Sorry Todd, but if I were an owner I would not want you training my three year old for the Derby, as it just seems to not be in the cards for you to get one there that has the true talent and stays sound.  I do hope that he is able to race again to at least see where the talent in the colt truly lies. 

    • nu-fan

      I don’t quite understand why owners would go with any trainer that has a large number of horses?  I would rather have one where my horse has a larger investment stake to the trainer and, therefore, is that much more important to keep healthy for a longer racing career.  It seems to make financial (and ethical) sense.

  • Skip Ean

    How come you and I know this but others defend him. Answer: money.

  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    I do not doubt that he is a decent trainer, but I have to look at historical trends here and it just seems this stables plan to get a horse to the Derby never seems to work out right.  Sorry Todd, but if I were an owner I would not want you training my three year old for the Derby, as it just seems to not be in the cards for you to get one there that has the true talent and stays sound.  I do hope that he is able to race again to at least see where the talent in the colt truly lies. 

  • Don Reed

    Any minute now, this will be blamed on global warming and/or the new points system.

  • Don Reed

    Any minute now, this will be blamed on global warming and/or the new points system.

  • Smokey Glacken

    Someone needs to do a count of exactly how many good 3 year-olds break down, or are so severely injured, that they never race again. We all know things happen but, with Pletcher it seems to occur constantly.

  • LongTimeEconomist

    Raise A Native

  • Tinky

    Both notable anomalies, but not a foundation for a strong argument.

    I know a few people who have ridden motorcycles for decades without being injured, but that doesn’t make it safe.

  • Ritis

    Someone should do a count on how many promising 3
    year-olds Pletcher has had over the years suffer significant injuries,
    or break down completely.

    • Skip Ean

      They close the wagons around him and protect him, despite this knowledge.  No other trainer will go up against him (or any of the other big shots who also have negative effects on good horses).  No jockeys will.  No grooms will.  The equine publications won’t.  If they wing Pletcher, they lose money…and money is more important than honor and the truth. 

      • kyle

        I know what you mean. There are places you can’t mention the names: Jersey Girl, Left Bank, Fleet Indian, Eskendreya, Devil May Care, Rags To Riches, Bluegrass Cat, Violence, etc., etc.

  • Ritis

    Someone should do a count on how many promising 3
    year-olds Pletcher has had over the years suffer significant injuries,
    or break down completely.

  • Mboyle852

    They never seem to race at four, I’ll tell you that much.

  • Mboyle852

    They never seem to race at four, I’ll tell you that much.

  • llange06

    A 3 y.o. colt is still considered a young horse. Horses were never made to have their hoof capsules their main shock absorbers inoperatible due to horseshoes. The shoes do the damage and will continue until more people realize horses can race and train without them. Bones heal in 6 weeks. Maybe a barefoot approach would be a sensible alternative for owners looking to get the best for their horses.Dont give up yet he is still a youngster.

    • Black Helen

       During WW2,  all metal was needed for the war effort. Many horses ran barefoot then or the shoes were reset 3x till unusable.

  • llange06

    A 3 y.o. colt is still considered a young horse. Horses were never made to have their hoof capsules their main shock absorbers inoperatible due to horseshoes. The shoes do the damage and will continue until more people realize horses can race and train without them. Bones heal in 6 weeks. Maybe a barefoot approach would be a sensible alternative for owners looking to get the best for their horses.Dont give up yet he is still a youngster.

  • Skip Ean

    They close the wagons around him and protect him, despite this knowledge.  No other trainer will go up against him (or any of the other big shots who also have negative effects on good horses).  No jockeys will.  No grooms will.  The equine publications won’t.  If they wing Pletcher, they lose money…and money is more important than honor and the truth. 

  • ROISIN

    Pletcher does have more than his share of bad luck. Look what happened to Uncle Mo and there was filly trained by him that had liver problems but I can’t recall her name. I know these were not injuries, per se, but still bad luck.

    • Tiznowbaby

      That was Devil May Care and she was euthanized in 2011 after being diagnosed with cancer.

      • ROISIN

        Thank you. I knew it was a liver problem but did not know it was cancer.

  • ROISIN

    Pletcher does have more than his share of bad luck. Look what happened to Uncle Mo and there was filly trained by him that had liver problems but I can’t recall her name. I know these were not injuries, per se, but still bad luck.

  • Cheryl

    Not even close to the Derby yet and already the injurys have begun !

  • Cheryl

    Not even close to the Derby yet and already the injurys have begun !

  • Tiznowbaby

    That was Devil May Care and she was euthanized in 2011 after being diagnosed with cancer.

  • Kris

    You are so right, Smokey Glacken.  For the life of me I can’t figure out people who get excited about any Pletcher three-year-old because you know he’s going to ruin most of them.

  • Merrily

    I do not think the pressure Pletcher puts on the 2yr olds is healthy for the horses.
    He pushes them before their bones are matured as do many of the trainers.  We have
    to stop doing this.  Move the Kentucky Derby to 4 year olds and stop the injuries.

    • MARIAVORHAUER

      YES I AGREE ,STOP 2YR OLD RACING

      • Black Helen

         I believe Whirlaway ran 16 times as a two yr old then came back to win the Triple Crown. It has been shown that proper training and racing actually strengthens the bone.
        Long gallops, long works and rest with freshening as needed.
        DRUGS AND SPEED ARE THE DAMNING FACTORS

        • tfly

          Well said Black Helen- many great and long-raced horses had 2yo start totals that double what’s considered a career now.  It isn’t 2yo racing, it’s a lack of horsemansip and the influx of vets on the backside.

        • Swiss305

          The current problem is that the sensible training routine you describe is not followed.  Corners are cut, horses are hurried into races to amass points and drugs are liberally used.  Stop dangling the golden carrot available only to three-year-olds and more of them will be ready for the test of the Triple Crown at four.

        • John F. Greenhaw

          Long gallops, long works, rest???  Recipe for failure on the track!

          You may want to do a little research on this subject before you go shooting your mouth off.  Rood & Riddle (Dr. Bramlage) looked into this topic several years ago and found that horses are much less likely to incur injuries on the track when they are trained under conditions similar thereto.  It’s a good read–look it up!

          As far as the bashing going on here of Todd Pletcher, let me begin by saying that I wish I owned several every year good enough to be part of the TAP system.  I invite every one of you know nothings to spend a week or two on the backside of a racetrack, any racetrack, then you just might know enough to comment with some modicum of intelligent thought. 

          Trainers, by and large, do not do anything that the other trainers do or don’t do.  To suggest that TAP, or Assman, or Baffert, somehow put their horses through some type of torture regime, followed around closely by some Dr. Zorba looking crazy Vet with a bag full if needles,  well—– it’s just plain crazy. 

          What you do get with these trainers, aside from higher daily rates, is a system where your horses are cared for in a way that is far superior to what you would  expect.  In many barns, you could expect your horses to get some attention in the mornings, but thats about it.  With Tap, and the others, I’m sure, your horses will be schooled and worked everyday, in some form or another.  Then, paddock training, gate works, bathing, nutrition, medical if needed, and then more of the same. 

          Training a horse is a long and hard process, and as one old time trainers once said” 
          This AIN’T NO SPORT FOR LITTLE BOYS WEARING SHORT PANTS”

          Many of the comments on here seem to come from afar, meaning from those with little or no experience in the sport or any time spent on the backside.  It would appear that their mind-set comes from having read Black Beauty while in grammar school, or having a pony when a child. That’s all fine and good, but this is a sport where the “SKIN” you have in the game comes with a big price behind it, and you damned sure better get some results or face financial disaster. 

          That’s just the way it is!!!    

          • Matt Clarke

             You speak the truth……but folks here are not certainly not looking for or willing to accept the truth.

  • Swiss305

    Time to reconsider making the classic races for four-year-olds and older and no or very limited racing of two-year-olds?  They need time to grow up. 

    • Skip Ean

      you’re the second person to say this on this blog–and you are so right…so right

    • Black Helen

      NO , DO NOT CHANGE THE TRIPLE CROWN!!!!
      CHANGE WHAT WE ARE DOING TO THE BREED WITH DRUGS AND CHEAP SPEED.
      THAT IS THE REAL PROBLEM.

      SUPER TRAINERS USE NEEDLES, NOT HORSEMANSHIP
      (deleted)

      • Swiss305

        Ask people who really know and care about horses and the honest ones will tell you that two-year-olds should not be raced in the way they are now to prep and set them up for the big races as three-year-olds.  When the Derby is run, some of them are barely three calendar years old because of the way every Thoroughbred changes age on January 1st.  If you leave the Triple Crown the way it is, you will continue to see two and three-year-olds ruined or destroyed, many right in front of big crowds.  What does that do for racing?  And if they win the Derby, we ask that they come back in two weeks and win the Preakness, then the Belmont.  Don’t you see this as crazy?  The drugs and the breeding practices only make it worse.  Many people agree that racing has to change in order to survive.  The Triple Crown is not sacrosanct.

        • Ida Lee

          Swiss305: Actually, the Triple Crown is sacrosanct.  When you have a sporting event going back to 1919 with only 13 winners, it most certainly is sacrosanct and even a thought of changing it is totally unacceptable and unthinkable.  As to Violence, another early retirement of a beautiful and great competitor. It’s heartbreaking. I have spoken to a nationally known horse expert…he has written and lectured extensively on horse welfare and spoken before Congress. He believes that 2-year-olds should not be racing. He also tells me that the number of injuries and breakdowns in horse racing every week is much more than what is reported.

          • nu-fan

            Ida Lee and Swiss305:  Could the Triple Crown expand each of its three races to have one additional race for 4-year-olds and above?  I, somewhat, cringe, at the quest that so many have: to have a Triple Crown Winner!  But, I do not see these historically significant races going away.  However, could it help to expand it so that those wanting to pursue this dream can do so and, at the same time, not start their horses for an additional year for better physical development?  Just wonder whether that might help some horses and, perhaps, change things over a period of time. And, after all, the BC has more than one race. Why not the Triple Crown races?

          • Ida Lee

            nu-fan: Then it would be the Quadruple Crown. Doesn’t sound quite the same does it? The TC cannot be changed. Besides the fact that it is, after all, the TC, it is the only horse racing event that the general public is really interested in viewing. I don’t watch or keep up with football but I do watch the Super Bowl. I don’t watch or keep up with tennis but I do watch the US and French Open. Also I don’t believe you can compare the TC with the Breeders’ Cup. The TC is won with winning 3 races. All the BC races stand for themselves. Each individual winner is the Champion in his category. Like I previously mentioned, we’ve had only 13 TC winners and to paraphrase Kent Desormeaux “what kind of freak do you have to be to win a TC”. Well, I don’t see this “freak” anywhere in our near future. On the other hand, maybe he or she is one of those beautiful babies born this year.  That’s why the TC is so special. Let’s keep it that way.

          • Swiss305

            Let’s continue to do whatever it takes, run horses into the ground and over-breed them hoping for the next Secretariat so we can be entertained by that very, very “special” moment  when the next Triple Crown winner appears.  It will all be worth it to preserve our very “special” tradition, worth it to everyone but the horse and all the horses wasted along the way.

          • Ida Lee

            Swiss305: If you want to get real, let’s get real.  If you’re serious about protecting horses from harm, then we stop ALL racing and, even better, let’s just stop all sporting events, not only those including animals but those including people too.  The injuries suffered by athletes of all kinds can be gruesome. TBs are delicate creatures to begin with..in a perfect world they would not even exist…it’s not “normal” to have 1,000 lb plus of flesh standing on pin-thin legs and then run at speeds of what? 35-40 mph? . But they do exist and they were bred to race. We can discuss selective breeding of species another time. The only thing we can do at this time is protect our athletes as best we can. And for the record, I don’t want to see horses or any animal suffer in any way for entertainment or for any reason. I have spent too many sleepless nights. gone into fits of hysteria and shed too many tears when one of our athletes gets hurt or worse.

          • Swiss305

            If you want to protect race horses as best we can, you should support changes to the sport which would be in the horses’ best interest. You began our discussion by calling the Triple Crown something sacrosanct which should not be changed for any reason.  I don’t doubt your love for the animals or your sincerity.  In light of that, I don’t understand your staunch resistance to any change in the TC.  Changes have already been made in racing which have begun to reduce injuries and fatalities in all ages of runners.  Changes in drug allowance have already been imposed with more on the way.  Just because  there is a long-standing “tradition” to use ‘bute or any other drug doesn’t mean it should continue when we pinpoint that use as demonstrably detrimental or dangerous. We should also be examining the demands put on two-year-olds in pursuit of the classic purses.  Most people in the racing industry acknowledge that the breed is weaker now. We should then admit that we can’t expect the performance from them that we saw in their ancestors. 
             

          • Ida Lee

            Swiss305: I love the TC races but under no circumstances do I approve of or believe in giving race horses any kind of drug or substance,  performance enhancing or otherwise. I don’t think human athletes should be taking them either. Anything, and I do mean anything, that can be done to protect TBs in any race is something to strive for at all costs. Example, I think the TC races could be further apart…the competition is grueling and they could use more time between races to regroup. I don’t think that would greatly affect the integrity of the TC competition. I think we have accomplished much in this industry to protect the TB and I pray we continue.  

          • nu-fan

            Ida:  Actually, what I had in mind wasn’t a fourth race for the older horses.  What I wondered was why there couldn’t be another race right after the 3-year-olds run in each of these TC races and have those be for horses that are 4-years-old and up.  After all, do all horses mature (physically and mentally) at the same rates?  These races could be marketed in some way to link the traditional races to these new ones.  Over time, this will give another option to those owners or trainers who aim for a TC but this could become just as great.  And, I can’t imagine anyone objecting to another set of races that would pull in more wagering…and it might double the fun!

          • Swiss305

            You’re right.  Lets not change a single thing, even when we realize the damage caused by leaving things as they are.  You’re right again–it is heartbreaking.  And there are many more horses injured and destroyed than anyone knows about in pursuit of the Triple Crown and other big prizes.  Changing  any aspect of this competition is “unacceptable and unthinkable” even in light of this?  Your definition of sacrosanct and mine are very different.

      • John F. Greenhaw

        Its a good thing a moderator was alert to this comment.  I have a feeling it was borderline libel per se.

    • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

      I used to be in favor of this, but since have changed my thinking.  It would cheapen the Triple Crown and the acheivements of those that would win it at 4.  The bigger reason is the change in not only the medication use, but in the perception of the value of the horse.  Nowadays it is all about immediate return on investment.  In yester-year it was about proving the horse long term and owners raced horses to race them first, and for breeding stock second, since most owned their own stallions and broodmares.  What needs to be brought back is something like the old ACRS.  Tracks and sponsors need to get behind this type of racing series with huge money to be won at the end…such as a 5-10 million dollar prize to the winner of the series (provided they raced in enough of the races in the series).  That would entice people to race their older horses and not whisk them off to the breeding shed.  But then again….asking racing jursidictions to get together and actually do something together for the betterment of the sport….I must be high!!  They can’t even coordinate post times for their races to make it easier for people to watch and wager…

      • Savko08

        Why they call it the Triple Crown, you have to have the animal to win those races, if you have the horse and you think you can win 3, race him or her, if not, stay home and think what could have been?

        The horses from the past that won the Triple Crown didn’t have the meds that these horses have know…and they didn’t skip races to win races, they ran, and that’s what changed now….now you have a horse that just runs in the Belmont to win that race and upset the hopeful Triple Crown winner…That’s what changed… if you made a rule that in order to run in the Triple Crown races, you have to run all three… Yes, you will see a Triple Crown winner but not till then….

    • Darlene Sanner

      2 studies have been done and it has been proven that horses raced at 2 are more sound over all and race longer 

      • Swiss305

        Please cite these studies.

    • McGov

      I completely agree with that statement….especially in this day and age.

  • kyle

    Paulick censored the start of a list of horses that have broken down or fallen ill in Pletcher’s care. I doubt a list of his chanpions would receive the same treatment.

    • Skip Ean

      Well, he owns and manages this blog, yet the idea of shielding Pletcher doesn’t leave a good taste in our mouths.  We may have to build one on another site and then create a news story.  Not sure this post will be admitted to the mix, based upon what you say.

  • SteveG

    So many owners choose to entrust their horses to Pletcher that his operation has taken on the characteristics of a corporation rather than a stable.  By necessity, because of its sheer size, it is system & process driven.  That translates out into alot of wins. 

    Big numbers begetting big numbers, including injury numbers.  I have no idea whether his percentage of inured horses is outsized.  That would be interesting to see.  If he’s got 200, let’s say, and 20 succumb to injury or illness, that’s 10%.  The same, percentage-wise, as a 10 horse outfit losing 1.  That would be a dispassionate way to view it.  It’s probably the way Pletcher views it.  Horses as numbers.  Cool, detached, corporate.

    Probably why so many people who prefer hands-on, old school horsemanship, dislike him.  It’s like being the mom & pop hardware store when Home Depot moves in down the street.  Bad for the local economy.

    • kyle

      To me it’s a factory. “The Program.” I wouldn’t go as far as changing one of those letters, but very few make it out whole. And we are not talking lenghty careers. For every Ashado or English Channel there are probably five talented stablemates whose careers ended under much less than ideal circumstances. Caixa Electronica is an interesting case. May say something about the barn’s strengths and weaknesses.

      • SteveG

        Yes, dropping the “r” brings along too many atrocious historical human allusions.  “Factory” works for me.  I would say another aspect when you’re so program driven is that individual horses have to fit the system - the system doesn’t fit individual horses.

        I’ll also continue to wonder how the most talented of his whose careers ended prematurely would have fared if disbursed into the care of a less inflexible, some might say less ”heartless” environment…

        I wish I had some real numbers to look at:  lost horses vs. totals.  Suffice to say, there are other ways to measure success as a horseman besides total purses. 

        • kyle

          Percentages aside, I think a couple things are pretty clear. It’s pretty hard for him to get a good two year-old through, even a significant portion of, its three year-old season. Any kind of normal progression is simply not realized. And finally, the cycle for his best horses is short and sharp. Three months – or three races – and out.

          • SteveG

            Agree on those points.  Not the trainer I’d choose for a target down the road.  0 for 24 in the KD until Super Saver & all things considered, a miserable BC record.  Two events where the ability to bring a horse along is key.

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