Bob Fierro

Body & Soul: Empire State Perspectives

Been paying attention to what's going on in the Empire State lately (er, you might know it as New York)? We speak not of the mess in the Governor's Mansion or resulting headlines and cable news rumblings. Rather, we refer to the status of registered New York-breds, exploits of which are tickling the fancy of the state's breeders--many of whom went home dancing with dollars following the conclusion of the Fasig-Tipton sale for a brace of indigenous yearlings. The sale continued a recent demand from owners, trainers, and pinhookers because...

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Letters to the Editor: May the Horse be With Him

Like tens of thousands of racing fans in the Northeast, I became addicted to Harvey Pack when he began broadcasting his "Pack at the Track" radio program during the 1970s. Anyone who could get away with the kind of the totally 'Noo Yawk' attitude he put forth in a sport that always prided itself on being serious about its "Sport of Kings" sobriquet had to be someone who could probably get away with anything--and for the most part, that's what Harvey Pack did. When I first met him in the...

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Body & Soul: Another Freshmen Future Book

Following the completion of the last major 2-year-old sale of the season in each of the past three years, we looked at the potential success of the freshmen sires by creating a handicapping event, noting that the freshmen sires of each year were very competitive bunches, i.e., many of them were capable of rising to the top five or so of their contemporaries after a few crops had raced. With the aberration in sales dates last year caused by the COVID-19 situation behind us, this season's major sales proceeded as...

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Body & Soul: Please Do Talk About Me When I'm Gone

It's not exactly an axiom but it seems almost as soon as a stallion is exported from this country, the racehorses he left behind start making a lot of noise. Without getting too deep into the bushes by matching these stallions with their offspring--while acknowledging Empire Maker, Hard Spun and Daredevil among the previous and recent returnees--we present such examples as New Year's Day (Maximum Security), Declaration of War (Decorated Invader) and Eskendereya (Mitole). To this list we have added Super Saver, one of the more surprising exports of the...

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Body & Soul: Home Is Where The Heart Is

by Bob Fierro With apologies to Pliny the Elder, who more than two centuries ago penned those words in the headline, and also to Elvis, who expanded their meaning in a modest ballad of the same name in 1962, we are about to examine what has evolved after at least 40 years as a science-based axiom of racing efficiency and success: How much of a factor does the cardio system of a Thoroughbred influence its ability? Let us state up front that the answer to that question may depend on...

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Who's Your Favorite Horse? Bob Fierro

BOB FIERRO, DATA TRACK Favorite: I was a 12-year-old from Queens who was a horrible athletic prospect, but who loved racehorses. When a t.v. station broadcast the Bluegrass S. at Keeneland won by a diminutive colt named Round Table who scorched his way to a track record, he pierced his way into my heart. I checked his pedigree and decided he was the best-named horse ever (*Princequillo--*Knight's Daughter, c'mon!) because he came along when I was in school wallowing with joy through the Arthurian legend. However, I was devastated when...

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Body and Soul: Brothers and Neighbors

The disruptions prompted by the coronavirus pandemic have messed with the Thoroughbred industry's decades-long racing, sales, and breeding schedules. However, some of us who subsist on data and are under social distancing now have some time to explore the less obvious trends that might be going on by plumbing various databases--in our case, the breeding sector. Each year around this time we would be delving into the results of the first 2-year-old sale of the season to begin to sort out the performances of juveniles by freshman sire that might...

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Body & Soul: Extended Rhythm

The most frequently asked question your correspondent and his associates answer about biomechanical efficiency is (paraphrased) "What component, or combination of components, of a horse's mechanics other than speed is most likely to tickle your fancy?" After almost 40 years of evaluating thousands of horses from four continents this is how we answer the question with some facts-those facts being actual race records. What better way to go about this than to assemble a test group of peers and apply those suspicions to that group? Thus, for this study we...

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Body & Soul: Freshman Stars vs. Graduation Rates

Tingling with a bit of pride at the final rankings of the 2019 Freshman Sires, we're crossing our fingers that things will remain steady in the future. That's because six of the Top 10 were listed as the ones we liked best based on various biomechanical programs which DataTrack uses to project such possibilities. Our task is to lay the odds on how the sires of these youngsters are likely to compete over the long term. We began to assemble statistics to see if there were any discernible trends in...

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Body & Soul: The Plus Ca Change or Déjà Vu or “Groundhog Day” Decade

Yes, the French have a word--or a couple of expressions--for it and Hollywood has gotten into the act. And while these days there are fewer of us who know the precise definition of plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose ("the more things change, the more they remain the same") or even of deja vu ("a feeling of having experienced the present situation"), it seems everyone knows that when Groundhog Day is brought up, more people think of Bill Murray's 1993 "same stuff, different day" movie. That realization smacked...

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Body and Soul: Culture Clashes

It seems that whenever your correspondent comes up with a writer's block or a dearth of exciting news to dwell upon, his hand reaches out to the trusty bookshelf and invariably falls upon the spine of either one of Dr. Franco Varola's game-changing tomes, "Typology of the Racehorse," or the sequel, "The Functional Development of the Thoroughbred." While most readers of these books might (somewhat rightfully) claim that they laid the foundation for the massive rush to accept the concept of Dosage in the study of pedigrees, we have always...

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Gotta Have More Than Heart

There are several companies or individuals who provide services that, in the end, use the data gleaned from an ultrasound to project in one way or another potential racing success. We provide data obtained when a Thoroughbred's heart is scanned with an ultrasound computer and measurements are taken of its body mass to determine an "ejection fraction." The definition of "success" often depends upon the criteria applied to that data. One definition of success is to project the potential for that horse to race successfully up to or beyond a...

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