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Breeding for Soundness

There can no longer be much doubt that today's Thoroughbred is not nearly as sound or durable as its ancestors of past decades--when racehorses often raced over a hundred times in their careers, while working two or three times a week. The media dramatized the fatal breakdowns of Barbaro and Eight Belles on national TV, but the greater problem is the rank-and-file racehorses who can no longer race long enough to pay their bills. Although today's racehorses surely don't get the foundation of long, slow works they once did, I'm afraid they have grown too fragile as a breed to withstand the grueling training schedules of their fore-bearers. While many of today's Kentucky Derby starters are not sound enough even to finish their three-year-old campaigns, this was hardly the case after Exterminator won the Kentucky Derby of 1918, then went on to race 100 times, winning fifty races, 33 of…

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