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Profile: Daddy Long Legs

Based on his performances in Europe and Dubai, Daddy Long Legs looks like a very strong horse, but there’s a drastic difference in this horse’s psychology and performance on the different surfaces.

In the UAE Derby on the Tapeta, he was managing the horse in front of him, and he showed a lot of control. He looked very relaxed. The other horses looked desperate around him, while he looked calm but aware. That’s a great sign.

But when I go back and watch the Breeders’ Cup, I see a horse whose morale was taken from him right at the beginning of the race when he broke slowly and took dirt in his face. I bet he had never felt that before that moment — dirt hitting him in the face — and it traumatized the horse psychologically. He completely fell apart.

He’s going back to Churchill and the simple fact is he didn’t like his experience there, so I have concerns that he can remain at the top of his game psychologically in this scenario.

I would get him used to things hitting his face and not having it be a bad experience. It’s not the actual dirt. It’s the shock of the stimulus. If they haven’t gotten him over the shock of that stimulus, he will be a very limited horse in the Derby.

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1 Comment

Why do you think his highly respected trainer does not bring his Derby horses for a longer time before the race to get them used to the track? In Europe they don’t think that is important? Just askin’ cause I have no idea.

Posted by Lois on May 1, 2012 @ 9:29 am

Author PhotoKerry Thomas is a groundbreaking researcher of behavioral genetics in horses. He created emotional conformation profiling, which measure’s the mental and emotional capacities of the equine. Horse owners around the world use him to profile and unlock the minds of their horses both in training and pre-purchase evaluations. Thomas’ work in the field of equine behavioral genetics has pioneering applications in all the sport horse industries, including Thoroughbred racing and breeding. Please visit his website for more information. (Author photo: Mary Buckley) More by  ›