Tragedy hits Santa Anita again

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Kurenai
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Thu Oct 31, 2019 4:48 pm

stark wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 4:43 pm
stark wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 10:43 am
Any chance somebody can change the title of this thread, thanks.
Please.
To what? "Go on, nothing to see here?" :lol:
stark
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Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:03 pm

Kurenai wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 4:48 pm
stark wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 4:43 pm
stark wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 10:43 am
Any chance somebody can change the title of this thread, thanks.
Please.
To what? "Go on, nothing to see here?" :lol:
That would be just fine, thank you.
It's a real gut-punch every time I open the website and see that at the top, plus it's a big weekend of racing coming for those who haven't heard, and yes it's at the same Santa Anita as mentioned.
Ain't no fan of clickbait.
I've found it easier to tear up tickets at 8/1 instead of 8/5.
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Curtis
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Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:04 pm

Kurenai wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 4:48 pm
stark wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 4:43 pm
stark wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 10:43 am
Any chance somebody can change the title of this thread, thanks.
Please.
To what? "Go on, nothing to see here?" :lol:
I was thinkin’ maybe “Unicorns and Rainbows at Santa Anita.”
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Mylute
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Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:26 pm

Diane "Extreme Trump Derrangement Syndrome" Feinstein is threatening the hammer if anything happens this weekend.
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Tessablue
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Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:49 pm

Obviously hoping that everything goes perfectly, but it's worth bearing in mind that the BC committee and Santa Anita chose to risk it all this weekend. I appreciate the lengths Santa Anita has gone to in order to ensure the safety of their racehorses, but I think we'd all be less on-edge if the event had moved literally anywhere else.
BaroqueAgain1
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Thu Oct 31, 2019 10:30 pm

I'm not sure if I would have been less 'on edge' if the BC had moved to the other most likely location - Churchill Downs.
IIRC, Churchill has also had issues with breakdowns and a fatality there, the home of the Kentucky Derby, might have done more harm to the sport nationally than one at Santa Anita. :?
Tessablue
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Thu Oct 31, 2019 10:39 pm

BaroqueAgain1 wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 10:30 pm
I'm not sure if I would have been less 'on edge' if the BC had moved to the other most likely location - Churchill Downs.
IIRC, Churchill has also had issues with breakdowns and a fatality there, the home of the Kentucky Derby, might have done more harm to the sport nationally than one at Santa Anita. :?
I don't think there's any chance of Kentucky legislation taking down racing in that state at the moment, not that I think anyone in California will follow through any time soon, and I think the dissolution of the sport is far more likely to start with a reforandum-driven domino effect. Plus, Churchill had no pre-existing narrative. Fair or not, that's the reality everyone was working with when the decision was made to remain at SA.

But, to counter the pessimism, perhaps an incident-free weekend will help convince legislators that reforms are in fact being carried out.

Oh, also, thank you Sparrow Castle and Kurenai for those wonderful insights! I love hearing about policies at smaller tracks, and the care that "smaller" owners put into their stables. My home track of Suffolk Downs was frequently the butt of jokes in its final years, but it had a very low breakdown rate and an excellent thoroughbred aftercare program. It sure seems like there are formulas to minimize harm out there; we just have to work towards them.
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Falinadin
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Fri Nov 01, 2019 1:32 am

I've been reading from the sidelines, but I figured that I'd throw my hat into the ring.

I agree that studies aren't perfect and that horses are individuals, but I will mention that there are actually quite a few studies that show positive effects of racing at 2, in addition to the ones Tessa linked.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21999798 "Evaluation of catastrophic musculoskeletal injuries in Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses at three Midwestern racetracks." Sadly most people can't get full access to this article, but it found that Thoroughbreds that had catastrophic injuries were typically those that had their first race at 3 years old (rather than 2).
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs ... 12.00651.x "The association of age at first start with career length in the Australian Thoroughbred racehorse population" found that "Risk of retirement from racing decreased with a younger age at first start, a higher number of starts as a 2‐year‐old, and a longer average distance raced."
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23662779 "Profiling the careers of Thoroughbred horses racing in Hong Kong between 2000 and 2010." found that "An increased age at first start in Hong Kong tended to increase the hazard rate for retirement from racing in Hong Kong"
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22320408 "The association of 2-year-old training milestones with career length and racing success in a sample of Thoroughbred horses in New Zealand." found that "Horses that raced as 2-year-olds had significantly (P<0.001) more race starts than those first raced as 3-year-olds or older, this was also true when the 2-year-old year data were omitted."

I would assume, however, that good training could likely take the place of racing at 2. I also haven't been able to go through the methods so I don't know if there are confounding issues. What I do like about these studies though is that they span the midwest, Australia, Hong Kong, and New Zealand - meaning that the results are not due to a single track or region. And if you total the N of these 4 studies I linked, about 125,000 horses were included. That's a decent sample size.
I hope that someday imaging technology will get cheap enough that every horse can get CT/MRI/nuc/PET scans regularly. It would be wonderful to find problems earlier.
Tessablue
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Fri Nov 01, 2019 2:32 am

Falinadin wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 1:32 am
I've been reading from the sidelines, but I figured that I'd throw my hat into the ring.

I agree that studies aren't perfect and that horses are individuals, but I will mention that there are actually quite a few studies that show positive effects of racing at 2, in addition to the ones Tessa linked.

[lots of great studies]

I would assume, however, that good training could likely take the place of racing at 2. I also haven't been able to go through the methods so I don't know if there are confounding issues. What I do like about these studies though is that they span the midwest, Australia, Hong Kong, and New Zealand - meaning that the results are not due to a single track or region. And if you total the N of these 4 studies I linked, about 125,000 horses were included. That's a decent sample size.
I hope that someday imaging technology will get cheap enough that every horse can get CT/MRI/nuc/PET scans regularly. It would be wonderful to find problems earlier.
This is fantastic, thank you for posting these! Amazing how consistently the trend shows up despite all of the variables involved. I wonder if anyone has ever looked at 2yo works as well? It'll be fun to read through them all post-BC to examine the methodology and see if any other factors pop up as frequently. Maybe I'll go back and work on that Derby runner 2yo starts dataset too (they've plummeted since the inception of the points system, and Juvenile runner starts might be dropping as well). A lot to think about during our "offseason."

Also, sorry to pry but I take it from your previous posts that you have a lot of experience in the field of equine medicine and/or research? Please don't hesitate to jump in if I'm getting something wrong, or if you see a misconception that really bothers you! Would love to hear your perspective on these issues.
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Falinadin
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Fri Nov 01, 2019 3:19 am

Tessablue wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 2:32 am
Also, sorry to pry but I take it from your previous posts that you have a lot of experience in the field of equine medicine and/or research? Please don't hesitate to jump in if I'm getting something wrong, or if you see a misconception that really bothers you! Would love to hear your perspective on these issues.
I'm a veterinarian, and when I was in school I worked with many racehorses. Now I mostly play with puppies and kittens (the hours are much better!)

Some of the thoughts about this research showing advantages to racing at 2 go into the physiology of bone growth and remodeling. Basically, as a skeleton is growing and maturing there are lots of cells that are present and active whose job is to remodel, break down, and create bone. Once a skeleton is done maturing, those cells reduce in number because they're not needed any more. So, it may actually be better to start stressing a skeleton while it is still maturing, because it can respond, heal, and remodel faster than a mature skeleton can. As an example, the front side of cannon bone increases in thickness with the start of training as a response to increased stress on that part of of the bone. There is a thought that a young, immature bone may be able to make this change faster and more completely than an older horse can. It is still possible to go overboard, of course (resulting in 'bucked shins'). There are some similar thoughts in regards to growth plates and the like. Essentially, it might be better to have a skeleton mature under the environment the horse is going to have to live and work in, rather than have it mature in a pasture and then expect it to handle race pressure.
Again, these are theories. There may be other factors at play that we don't know about. And I will very readily say that I'm not a big fan of the way breezes at 2yr old sales are done - I think that work often too high intensity for that early in the year.
One interesting point that has popped up in a study or two is the link that longer distance races also seems to have benefit. I would be very interested in seeing more research into that topic.
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Kurenai
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Fri Nov 01, 2019 9:09 am

Thanks Falladin for your input, you explained that with much better terms than I did with "microfractures" and "it's not like scar tissue but makes the bones stronger". :lol:

Critical observation here:
One interesting point that has popped up in a study or two is the link that longer distance races also seems to have benefit. I would be very interested in seeing more research into that topic.
Which is exactly why I meant with "new training methods that show results faster but don't come without risk" and said don't look to Europe, because I figured break down rates aren't much better in the UK/France now than in the US. Because I've seen changes in how horses are trained and drugs administered during training. How often do you see a horse being worked over the same distance it has to race? I think that that trend to shorter works started with the success of QH trainers that switched to TBs. You get good results, it's economical better (less time spent on each horse every day) etc but it comes with a few risks. And who cares about longevity, when you get horses to the shed faster.

Would be interesting to see how horses are trained for steeplechases and hurdles. And it has a reason those usually race far longer than 3 years old and hit their prime later. If you split up the injuries sustained during a fall and only galloping my gut tells me (very scientific I know :lol: ) that the breakdown rates there are very, very low.

Another thing that would be interesting is to monitor how much time without training those 2 year olds get to fully healed up.

And if fatigue of the muscles leads to more breakdowns, cause they are only "racing on their bones" those last few furlongs, if they aren't trained over long distances.
stark
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Fri Nov 01, 2019 1:13 pm

I've long thought that forums like this are a modern day Cheers neighborhood bar where folks meet after a days work or playing the ponies to solve the worlds problems as well as the more personal stuff.

So, with that in mind, think about that bar just a couple of blocks from the track, every neighborhood has at least one. For Santa Anita lets say it's Matt Dennys. It's fun to eavesdrop on the conversations.... there's a group over there sharing champagne obviously celebrating a victory. Then there's another group over there bemoaning a couple of bad beats, poor jockey rides and crooked stewards.

While I've blended in with both of those groups in the past, I keep looking around the room and stumble upon a scholarly group discussing bioscience, bone density and who knows what else. Geesh, what a hoot you folks are! Can't imagine why the rest of the bar clears out rather than joining in?
I've found it easier to tear up tickets at 8/1 instead of 8/5.
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pointgivenfan
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Fri Nov 01, 2019 1:28 pm

stark wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 1:13 pm
I've long thought that forums like this are a modern day Cheers neighborhood bar where folks meet after a days work or playing the ponies to solve the worlds problems as well as the more personal stuff.

So, with that in mind, think about that bar just a couple of blocks from the track, every neighborhood has at least one. For Santa Anita lets say it's Matt Dennys. It's fun to eavesdrop on the conversations.... there's a group over there sharing champagne obviously celebrating a victory. Then there's another group over there bemoaning a couple of bad beats, poor jockey rides and crooked stewards.

While I've blended in with both of those groups in the past, I keep looking around the room and stumble upon a scholarly group discussing bioscience, bone density and who knows what else. Geesh, what a hoot you folks are! Can't imagine why the rest of the bar clears out rather than joining in?
Thanks for sharing.
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Kurenai
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Fri Nov 01, 2019 1:41 pm

Well stark, sorry to disappoint, but even at our canteen at the racetrack (for people that worked there) we sometimes discussed things like this, when a bunch of trainers and vets shared the table. :D

Guess what? You don't have to sit on our table if you don't want to talk about it, feel free to choose another one, there's loads around (table = topics in that case). ;)
stark
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Fri Nov 01, 2019 1:47 pm

Kurenai wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 1:41 pm
Well stark, sorry to disappoint, but even at our canteen at the racetrack (for people that worked there) we sometimes discussed things like this, when a bunch of trainers and vets shared the table. :D

Guess what? You don't have to sit on our table if you don't want to talk about it, feel free to choose another one, there's loads around (table = topics in that case). ;)
Change the title of the thread to better describe the discussion and I can easily ignore it, thanks in advance.
I've found it easier to tear up tickets at 8/1 instead of 8/5.
lurkey mclurker
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Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:49 am

I kinda shudder to bring this thread back up, but... some interesting news about bisphosphonates in the horse show world. Tangentially relevant as one does find OTTBs in the HJ arena, though typically older than four.

The USHJA is proposing a rule change that specifically targets bisphosphonate usage:
GR 414.0 127-19 : Bisphosphonates
4. It is a prohibited practice to administer bisphosphonates to any horse under four years of age. Horses four years of age or older may be administered bisphosphonates that are FDA approved for use in the horse and are administered according to label requirements and only for diagnosed cases of navicular disease. GR411 must be followed.

Bisphosphonates, a bone modification drug known as Osphos or Tildren, is intended for use treating Navicular symptoms, and has become more prevalent on the circuit in the last several years. Gaining popularity used as preventative treatment, many veterinarians believe the drug causes problems for horses when not administered for its intended purpose.

It works to help Navicular changes by hindering cells that remove bone in its natural, continuous cycle of formation and removal. Which is great for Navicular horses, because the drug slows bone loss. However, it can be problematic if given to a young horse that is still developing bone as it grows.

[snip]

If this rule change were to pass, no horse under four would be allowed to show if given any kind of bisphosphonates. Additionally, the wording ropes in regulation on using these drugs for their intended use versus general maintenance and care. Could this be the beginning of more regulations surrounding this drug?
via The Plaid Horse https://www.theplaidhorse.com/2019/11/0 ... now-about/

with the full text of the proposed rule change here: https://prc.usef.org/documents/ruleChan ... 127-19.pdf
BaroqueAgain1
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Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:31 am

Thank you for that bit of encouraging news. Hopefully, the rule changes don't "die in committee."
Tessablue
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Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:21 pm

Good news, thank you for sharing it!

Some good news out of Lone Star today as well: https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing ... -star-park
Among the approved enhancements are:
• A cooling down area for horses, located about 100 yards beyond the finish line, with fans, cool water, etc. where horses can be bathed and cooled down just moments after unsaddling;
• Video surveillance cameras in all barns;
• A new state of the art Duralock moveable turf rail;
• Construction of round pens (as space permits) for horses to spend time outdoors;
• Replacement of damaged stalls (to be done in phases);
• Landscaping, dorm renovations, beautification (to be done in stages).
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Sparrow Castle
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Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:02 pm

Interesting article with details I haven't seen reported elsewhere. Later in the article are the reasons he was on the vet's list twice, and his vet's take on the type of injury he suffered.

Vet, Trainer Say Mongolian Groom Sound Before Classic
Veterinarian Vince Baker and trainer Enebish Ganbat both insisted that contrary to swirling conspiracy theories, Mongolian Groom (Hightail), who suffered a catastrophic injury in Saturday’s GI Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic, was given a clean bill of health to run in the race.

Mongolian Groom’s last workout was Sunday, Oct. 27, when he worked five furlongs on 1:02. His trainer, Enebish Ganbat, said on Tuesday that he was unhappy because he expected a faster breeze. “But he was not lame,” said Ganbat, about the reason for the slow work—rather, the time was a result of the saddle slipping back, he said. A video of that workout can be seen here.

Baker–Mongolian Groom’s veterinarian since the horse arrived in California over two years ago, he said–told the TDN via telephone Wednesday that the horse “tied-up” after the workout, and afterwards, was muscle-sore along his back, catching the attention of regulatory veterinarians from the Breeders’ Cup, Santa Anita and the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB).

“The regulatory group, including the Breeders’ Cup, watched him train on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and on Thursday they said, ‘now, he’s completely normal,'” said Baker, who added that the horse was given the green light to race by the “best pre-race veterinarians” in the country.
More: http://www.thoroughbreddailynews.com/ve ... re-classic
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Sparrow Castle
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Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:05 pm

TDN Podcast: Pletcher on Mongolian Groom Tragedy: We Have To Do Better
In this week’s TDN Writers’ Room Podcast, future Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher didn’t mince words when talking about the breakdown of Mongolian Groom (Hightail) in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the rash of breakdowns that have emboldened politicians and animal rights activists. Calling the current situation a “crisis,” Pletcher implored the racing industry to do whatever it takes to cut down on the number of equine fatalities.
More: http://www.thoroughbreddailynews.com/pl ... do-better/
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