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  1. #1
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    Secretariat, Sea Biscuit, Man O'War: "speed gene" traced to 17th c. British mare

    Nearctic, Northern Dancer, and Seattle Slew, too.

    The grand-daddy of them all: How all the greatest thoroughbreds can be traced back to ONE horse 300 years ago (Daily Mail)
    They are some of the world's greatest ever horse racing names, but new research has suggested that the likes of Seabiscuit, Man O'War, Secretariat and Seattle Slew may all have a distant genetic connection.
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    Experts at University College Dublin analysed DNA from nearly 600 horses and 22 modern breeds, and were able to predict what the horses had in common genetically.
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    And these great horses have a common ancestor, you say?
    Their results showed how the 'speed gene' which saw racing greats like Man O'War and Seabiscuit power to victory was passed to the famous horses from a single founder, a British mare around 300 years ago.

    The British ancestor was racing in the mid-17th century at a time when local British breeds were pre-eminent in racing horses and before the foundation of the thoroughbred racehorse.
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    more, with pictures of the greats - Secretariat being my favorite - at link above

  2. #2
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    Being from Kentucky, I watch the Derby and other horse races every year. Seabiscuit, Man O'War, Secretariat and Seattle Slew were some of the greatest and most inspirational athletes of all time. Yes, I called them athletes. Prefer them over their human counterparts.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjw View Post
    Being from Kentucky, I watch the Derby and other horse races every year. Seabiscuit, Man O'War, Secretariat and Seattle Slew were some of the greatest and most inspirational athletes of all time. Yes, I called them athletes. Prefer them over their human counterparts.
    I agree. Secretariat was the greatest athlete in my lifetime, at least so far. He actually won this by 31 lengths, running so hard the announcer lost track. At about the 2:14 mark, he surges - no horse around him, running for the sheer and utter pleasure of being great. Incredible.
    Last edited by KateB; 06-14-2015 at 03:26 PM. Reason: repair url tag.

  4. #4
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    Breathtaking powerful beauties - I love them all but Seattle Slew is my fav.

    What an amazing article - what will people pay for that gene in cloning? I hope it doesn't come to that.
    __________________
    Disclaimer: I have a JD, but I am not licensed to practice. Therefore, do not interpret anything contained in my posts as legal advice - they are my personal opinion only.

  5. #5
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    As someone who owns a Northern Dancer decendent (mixed with some amazing Irish blood), I will say that a well bred thoroughbred horse is an amazing, incredible creature. My boy Tango is not blazing fast under saddle, but when he decides to run free in the big arena, with no one on him, just running for the sake of running...he is incredibly quick.

    I think the gene is real, but I also think that training and superior racing homes are vital, as well. And there has to be the desire in the horse...has to be there, or nothing else will work.

    WFG, thanks for that clip. It's been years since I watched that, but what I recall happening did happen...Secretariat's jock never even "went low", and only loosed Sec's head at the far turn. In the backstretch, there's a great moment when Sec starts to pull away, and you can see how high up the reins the jock has his hands...a tight rein, not yet letting Sec have his head. Sec starts pulling at the reins as he moves forward, and it's only at the top of the far turn that the jock gives Sec his head...usually, at this point, it's all out for the line, and the jock will lower his body to reduce weight imbalance and increase slipstream effects. Sec's jock never goes low, only gives Sec all the reins he needs. If you look at the other jocks, they're all low and loose...but Sec's jock is not.

    And you all thought that all a jock did was hop on, and stay on. LOL. A good jock is an amazing athlete, and paired with the right horse, that is a team that cannot be beat.

    I love horses. And I like racing. And even more, I love being on Tango's back, wind whistling, as he and I ride through the day, fast or slow, simply reveling in being together and being a team.

    Best-
    Herding Cats

  6. #6
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    I have had the privilege of owning and riding 2 TB ex race horses. Wonderful creatures who move like poetry but agree with HC, you have to ride them, not just sit and let them do the work.
    Desert Orchid was my favourite and I know someone who had ridden him
    England's dancing days are done...

  7. #7
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    You guys are making me really sad ... reminding me of the many nights between the ages of 10 ~ 15 that I slept on a wet pillow because I had cried myself to sleep from just wanting a horse so much. Ah, well, guess my parents (who let me think that I might get a horse one day) knew best ... They were thinking about the work connected with ownership of a horse, and, right, I didn't think about it. And probably would have hated that part of it!

    Still, it was a wonderful dream.

  8. #8
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    I lived in louisville from birth to age 31.

    I remember many derby's because until age of about 24 or 25 I lived so close to Churchill downs you could stand in the front yard and hear them call the races.

    ...and they're off!

    I remember Secretariat fondly and Seattle slew (and BBQ's and derby parties and people parked on my front lawn for a fee haha)

  9. #9
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    The quintessential article about the great Secretariat, by William Nack in Sports Illustrated, 1990: Pure Heart.

  10. #10
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    Ahhhhhhhhh thank you for this thread. True true athletes all of them. I have one TB at the moment and have had quite a few, they are not for the faint of heart!


  11. #11
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    I don't believe there has ever been a horse who would have "touched" Secretariat that day. Not even the greatest of them. It was his day, physically he was the best he ever would be and you can certainly argue that a tiny field and no traffic helped, but it was a magical moment in time. I was literally on my knees sobbing as he made the last surge. Someday that performance MIGHT get topped, but I don't think it will happen in my lifetime.

  12. #12
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    There's an idiot on an equine message board claiming that because none of Secretariat's foals achieved his greatness and his sperm count was falling that he was murdered because he was worth more dead (insurance) then alive and the whole laminitis/founder claim was a cover.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malapoo View Post
    There's an idiot on an equine message board claiming that because none of Secretariat's foals achieved his greatness and his sperm count was falling that he was murdered because he was worth more dead (insurance) then alive and the whole laminitis/founder claim was a cover.
    Personally I doubt that very much because of his greatness. To many people were involved in the care of him.

    Ane yes I am sure I will never see such a thing in my lifetime again too.

  14. #14
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    I have no doubt his/her claims are completely unfounded. I do know this sort of thing DOES happen, but aside from this person's lack of credibility in my opinion and absolutely NO connection to horse racing, there were just too many "Outsiders" who kept very close contact with the horse (the author of the SI article to name just one) for a conspiracy to be successful. And there WAS a thorough necropsy performed - he was taken directly to the facility upon his passing.

    Have a friend from decades ago who I've not seen in forever, but we've maintained contact through the years who was working at tracks and got elevated to a barn that had a Derby contender many years ago - sorry can't remember barn/trainer name, and while she was not in the Secretariat circle, after his passing we talked and his laminitis issues were not unknown outside his "inner circle" and when I posed the conspiracy theory to her recently, she said while it has happened to some fairly good horses on the sly, anyone who isn't just speculating and spreading rumors would not for a moment believe Secretariat's death was "planned/orchestrated" in any way. He had a horrible disease process that caused extreme pain (think Barbaro in the end) and took a serious downward turn after a month's "illness".

  15. #15
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    NO, TBs are not for the faint of heart, nor the stout of constitution. Tango, having been horribly abused when I got him, was not only aggressive, but would throw a buck or rear just to see if he could get you off. And I came off, a lot. But I always got back on. And he learned to respect, and then trust, and now he's safe enough for the 10 year old in the lesson barn to both ride and show him.

    But the mind of a TB is unlike any other horse I've ever worked with/dealt with. They are very smart, very quick to respond, and I've often said Tango can outthink me sometimes. LOL. They plot, they plan, and they hold grudges. And if you can manage to get on the good side of one, you will have a horse who would do just about anything for you...

    I've worked with some Arabs, another brilliant breed, but I prefer TBs for many, many reasons. And I prefer Tango to all horses, hands down.

    Best-
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