Conformation of the Race Horse: Points Deemed Essential by Good Judges and Exceptions to Al Rules, Daily Racing Form, 1907-12-04


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CONFORMATION OF THE RACE HORSE. Points Deemed Essential by Good Judges and Exceptions to All Rules. New Orleans, La., December 2. How should a race horse be built to carry weight and run fast and far? Probably not one man in a thousand who follows the races could give you any reasonably correct answer to the question, while hardly one trainer In ten could describe the points in a horse that go to make up running quality. "They run,, in all shapes and sizes" is a turf axiom as ancient as the hills. True; but they run in some shapes and sizes much better than they do in others. Early books on the thoroughbred devote luucb space to scientific descriptions of the perfect horse. They tell exactly what his cannon bones, fetlocks, hocks, stifles, jowl, brisket, etc., should be. But when you get through with It all you know less than you did when you began. During an experience of twenty-five years In writing about racing and breeding, the writer has been thrown In contact with pretty nearly all the best breeders and trainers in the country. When he began in the. business it was with an interrogation point. He wanted to know. A summary of the attributes of a good horse, compiled from these various sources of practical knowledge, may therefore not he uninteresting. The writer recalls that several years ago while in Lexington looking over the Blue Grass breeding farms, lie asked an experienced breeder what he considered the most essential thing about a good horse. "Well," said he, "that is a puzzling question, but if you put it that way, I should say that as with a man, the most important thing is the head. Given a good, intelligent, game head, then you can build the body behind it." Some truth there may be in that. Briefly, a race horse should have a good head. Ho should be widu between the eyes, indicating intelligence. He should have a strong jaw, indicating gamnness. The wide head and the stroug jaw give him a wide throttle and ample breathing power. He should lie deep through the shoulder, showing great lung capacity and staying ability. He should lie thin in the flanks so that the stifles may have free play. He should he well muscled up over the loins giving him both driving power and weight carrying ability. He may be either round muscled or long muscled, the best judges, however, preferring long muscled horses. He should be narrow in the fork, that is narrow in the breast, to insure good action. He should stand not too straight on his ankles, as a straight ankled horse can be depended upon to break down quickly. He should have good clean, open feet. Take a horse put up so, then he may be knock-kneed, cow-hocked, or have other deformities, but be will run. Harking back to the theory ttiat "they run in all shapes and sizes," the most notable example the writer recalls of a badly built horse being a really good horse was Rel del Caredes, which was bred and raced in the east by "Lucky" Baldwin some years ago and then sold to Richard Croker and taken to England, where he won mauy races. Rey del Caredes was a chunky, heavily built heavily muscled horse. He was abnormally wide in the fork and, as a consequence of this, he was a "climber." Most of his action was thus wasted. After winning a valuable handicap at Morris Park, a gentleman observed: "Ah, theres a race horse for you." "Yes," said Eugene Leigh, who was one of the party, "hes a race horse, but he wins by main strength and awkwardness." When reporting races in New York, the writer on one occasion, as was Ills custom, called at the office of Mr. Vosburgh, the official handicapper for the Jockey Club, in quest of news. The walls of Mr. Vosburghs office were adorned with the portraits of a number of famous race horses. Among these a painting of Stockwell impressed him. The painting showed Stockwell to be a big, massive horse, put up on the lines of a hackney. He remarked on the size aud power of the horse, when .Mr. Vosburgh, than whom there are few better judges of the thoroughbred in the country, turning in his chair, said: "Thats the way with you newspaper people. You think that because a horse looks big and powerful, he must be a good race horse. It is not what a horse has on the outside of him that makes him run. It is what he has inside of him, the nervous energy." "A lean dog for a long hunt." Owners, trainers, breeders aud well informed turfmen generally have their own particular ideas as to preferences in types of horses. For the writer, he would like to have a horse of medium size and medium length, a bit thin and lean he might even be scrawny, so that you could haug your hat ou his corners, as you could do with old Raceland. Then, if he had the points as described, the writer would feel that he had a good campaigner and possibly a first class race horse. S. B. Weenis.

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