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Saratoga: Highly touted Archwarrior set for debut
Through the first 34 days of the meet, trainer Todd Pletcher has won 20 races for 2-year-olds, 19 maiden events and the Grade 2 Adirondack with Kauai Katie.
Supposedly, the best one hasn’t run yet.
Thursday, Pletcher takes the wraps off Archwarrior, who debuts in a six-furlong race that goes as the third on an 11-race card. Archwarrior, a son of Arch, brought $375,000 at the OBS 2-year-old in training auction in March. He was entered to run Aug. 11, but scratched when the track came up sloppy. He was entered last Saturday, but landed on the also-eligible list and did not get to run.
He was one of nine horses to enter Thursday’s race, but at least two will scratch. Pletcher also entered Tizracer “as an insurance policy” with John Velazquez named on both. Trainer Bruce Levine named Ramon Dominguez on both Buddy’s Tiz and Buddy’s Smart. When the same rider is named on two horses at NYRA tracks, one must scratch.
“We’re happy to get him in,” Pletcher said. “Hopefully, he runs as well as he has trained. As with any first-time starter, they still have to go over there and prove it in the afternoon.”
Archwarrior has been a terror in the morning, working with 2-year-olds and older horses and more than holding his own.
“He’s been very straightforward,” Pletcher said. “For a big horse bred to go a route of ground, he’s got tactical speed. He’s done some things in the morning you don’t normally see 2-year-olds do.”
Here is some information about 2YO racing and soundness: http://www.jockeyclub.com/roundtable_08.asp?section=11 Particularly, when Dr. Bramlage says: "Charge number one: The training and racing of 2-year-old Thoroughbreds is predisposing these horses to accelerated rates of injury and prematurely shortened careers. This charge is leveled by some people in and out of the horse industry, especially people outside of racing. It is a very popular theme with animal welfare organizations that are ill informed on the topic of racing and the horse; it is also parroted frequently in the popular press. To examine these data The Jockey Club Information Systems extracted one-year windows at five-year intervals, using the years 1975 through 2000 as data sets. Horses were divided into the categories "raced as two-year-olds" and "raced, but not as two-year-olds." The data shows a definitive answer to this charge. The first category of data examined was average starts per starter lifetime. The data shows that horses that raced as 2-year-olds raced many more times in their lifetime in each of the years examined when compared to horses that did not race until after their 2-year-old season. Some of these starts were made in the 2-year-old year for the horses that raced at 2, but the difference was more marked than the 2-year-old year alone would account for. Average lifetime earnings per starter for horses that raced as 2-year-olds are almost twice the amount earned by horses that did not race as 2-year-olds. Career average earnings per start for horses that raced as 2-year-olds exceeded average earnings per start for horses that did not race as 2-year-olds in every one of the years from 1975 to 2000 examined. Lastly, the percent stakes winners in horses that raced as 2-year-olds is nearly three times higher than in horses that did not race until their 3-year-old year or later. This data is definitive. It shows that horses that began racing as 2-year-olds are much more successful, have much longer careers, and, by extrapolation, show less predisposition to injury than horses that did not begin racing until their 3-year-old year. It is absolute on all the data sets that the training and racing of 2-year-old Thoroughbreds has no ill effect on the horses' race-career longevity or quality. In fact, the data would indicate that the ability to make at least one start as a 2-year-old has a very strong positive affect on the longevity and success of a racehorse. This strong positive effect on the quality and quantity of performance would make it impossible to argue that these horses that race as 2-year-olds are compromised." I'm more concerned that this colt is by Arch, who I perceive as a stallion who gets fragile horses. Good luck to him.
@ Christina A- Two yr old racing is not the problem. Over the last 20 yrs. Breeding has taken over the sport. No one wants to risk the future millions the breeding shed brings by risking any injury so they retire these colts when they are 3 and anymore rarely do we see any of them race when they are 4. This lack of longevity is passed on to the next generations resulting in a weakening of the breed. The other part is with the technological advances in MRI's and X Rays a lot of ailments that are detected today were never noticed before so there were probably times when horses weren't 100% sound still ran through their minor injuries-even the trainers of IHA and Rags and even Hansen said they could probably still run but obviously don't want to risk the big Breeding money.
2 year-old racing will never stop. These races fill the card and all tracks rely upon them. Most if the great champions raced at 2; Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, Spectacular Bid, Easy Goer, Sunday Silence. I do agree that we no longer breed horses for stamina. But breeders produce what sells at the auction. Why Breed a horse for a 1 1/4 miles when they rarely card races for these horses? 20 years ago Belmont routinely carded races for maidens on the turf at 1 3/8 and 1 1/4 miles. Now we get 5 1/2f on the turf. Horrible.
Two year-olds need to stop being raced. The wear-and-tear on their limbs puts their lives at risk in future racing years. A prime example is this year: first I'll Have Another goes, then Union Rags, then Bodemeister, then Hansen, all because of leg issues. The hardy horses like Curlin and Zenyatta didn't run until they were 3 or 4 years old. Thoroughbreds these days aren't bred to be hardy, they're bred to race maybe 6 times in their entire careers and they're bred for speed, not durability. There's something wrong about that.
Here's a little secret: Arch: sire of Blame: sire of I'll Have Another's mother. I wish I were a breeder. I would have been going to Arch for awhile now.
He'll be retired inside nine months
I generally associate sire Arch with turf progeny, but even more so with distance runners. Still, Todd says the colt has been training out of the box during the mornings, so he must feel confident. Will be interesting to see how he fares, but if he fails, won't be the first highly-touted maiden to not live up to the hype. As the trainer has stated, he has to "prove it in the afternoon". Don't recognize the owners among Pletcher's more familiar clients, but then, he has so many horses in his care these days, who can keep up?