Friday, June 19, 2009

Amazing speed

Did anyone else notice this rather interesting statement by trainer Aidan O'Brien from the June 19 issue of Thoroughbred Daily News in their story on the Yeats's fourth consecutive victory in the Ascot Gold Cup?
“He's very clever and has gone wise, but the boss [John Magnier] pointed out the other morning that, in his last work, he put in four 11 1/2-second furlongs one after another. When a stayer can do those times, all the class has to be there.” (, but you have to be a subscriber to read)
Four 11 ½-second furlongs. That equates to breezing a half in :46....without much doubt uphill (have you been to Ballydoyle?). And without any doubt whatsoever, not as fast as he could have gone that half mile if he had been asked for all his speed.
We're talking about an 8-year-old horse probably a week out from winning the world's greatest race for stayers, a race run over 2 ½ miles, for the fourth consecutive year. Breezing a half in :46 at Ballydoyle has got to be something like the equivalent of breezing a half in :45 over an American dirt or synthetic track. Again, we're talking about an 8-year-old horse that I guarantee you every American (and virtually all European) commercial breeders would dismiss as a plodder, simply because he won over 2 ½ miles.
Please explain to me why that attitude makes any sense at all in terms of genetics.


  1. That is an interesting anecdote, John, though I don't share your conclusion.

    It is unlikely that many European breeders would consider Yeats to be a plodder, given that he broke his maiden in impressive style over a mile, won good 10 furlong preps for The Derby (for which he was favored before being withdrawn due to a pulled muscle), and won the Gr. I Coronation Cup over 12f. as well.

    So while he will undoubtedly be remembered principally as one of the greatest stayers ever, he had shown plenty of speed over much shorter trips.

    I expect that more than a few breeders will support him in hopes that he might be capable of producing Classic types.

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