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Saturday, May 24, 2008

No Exceptions at Elitlopp

- Straying over to the harness side for a moment, on Sunday, some of the world's best trotters will compete in the prestigious Elitlopp in Stockholm, Sweden. The lone North American invitee is Enough Talk, a five year old representing his native Canada, but who is stabled at the Meadowlands for trainer Peter Kleinhans, who purchased him privately for $250,000 in March. Subsequently, he set a world record of 1:52.2 for older trotters on a 5/8ths track. That makes him a World Champion in harness racing parlance, which I think is pretty cool.

Kleinhans has been posting on Andrew Cohen's First Over blog on, and I found this entry interesting for a couple of reasons:

The only thing I'm not happy about with him is his hind heels. He's got a bit of irritation there, which is not a problem right now but I'm trying to make sure it doesn't get worse, since I can't really treat it the way I normally would.

Horses sometimes have a tendency to develop cracks in their heels which often ooze or bleed slightly; sometimes this is a result of salts from the track, sometimes it is a result of minor, localized bacterial infections. They are not harmful to the horse in general, but they can become painful if not treated. My favorite treatment is an antibiotic salve called SSD; this combines silver nitrate, a great, soothing dryer-outer and calmer-downer, with an antibiotic.

Unfortunately, I am not allowed to use anything with any kind of antibiotic in it within 96 hours of the race, and I am now inside this window. I am working with my veterinarian, Brian MacNamara, and with local officials here to find a treatment that is both effective and that will not test positive or break any of the Elitlopp rules. I have to make 100% sure that even a seemingly-innocuous remedy is within the specific boundaries of pre-race treatment for this race. This is the kind of tightrope-walking that training often entails, and I want to make sure I handle it properly for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. As soon as the race is over, he'll be getting his SSD back and the problem will be resolved, but in the meantime the challenge is to keep his heels from flaring up and bothering him on Sunday. [First Over]
For one thing, I guess that's good to know if you're planning on wagering on the race, available as it is at outlets in New Jersey and Canada. More significantly, it's another example of the striking contrast between racing here and, it would seem, just about every other place in the world. Seems as if Kleinhans is in a tight spot over there, but the strict no-exceptions rules certainly levels the playing field and eliminates any misunderstandings over fine lines.

And also, I'd love to read more stuff like this from trainers of any breed. I know they're busy and work odd schedules, and most of them aren't lawyers as Kleinhans is. But certainly we can do better than that Rags to Riches blog, or the blabberings of Dutrow in the NY Post.

- The Elitlopp is a two-heat affair, and it's pretty funny to imagine any thoroughbreds running two races within hours of each other. I don't think Formulator carries any stats on that. Enought Talk will be driven by Luc Ouellette, and starts from the four post in his elimination heat. The first four finishers of each will run in the final.


Anonymous said...

Just a small correction -- Enough Talk is representing the US not Canada. He is being driven by a Canadian driver, Luc Ouellette. Peter Kleinhans, his trainer and owner, is from New York.
Enough Talk is a bit of a longshot in the Elitlopp but the heats are at a mile which is what his horse best knows. The European trotters [they do NOT race pacers] mostly compete in races longer than a mile.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it would be terrific and enlightening if a thoroughbred trainer would blog in this manner.

Anonymous said...

Transparency is yet another issue that needs to be addressed by the industry as a whole, whethar it regards, medications, injuries, stewards rulings, or hidden ownership.

This is he only "sport" that does not provide a data base of injuries, suspensions etc.

In the sales ring, they do not provide ownership, breeder, medications or prior medical histories, buyer beware is the rule.

This would never fly in the real world, and unless they want goverment to step in and regulate they better get their act togethar.