November 18, 2010

Unrequited ‘Mousse



 











"The Pamplemousse had more raw ability than any horse I ever trained. Not only was he fast, but he could carry his speed a long way. I really believed he had classic potential. It was a travesty that he never had a chance to prove it." ~Julio Canani, trainer of The Pamplemousse.



I wondered and doubted if we would ever see this talent on the track again. When one of his owners told me last Winter that he was doing well and the plan was to get him back to the races at some point in 2010, I was cautiously optimistic. I waited, and I waited some more. Finally the good news came in, The Pamplemousse had his first workout on August 1. He worked three furlongs at Del Mar in :36 4/5. It would be the first of a dozen works, with the final one coming at Hollywood Park one week before Halloween. On that morning, The Pamplemousse zipped five furlongs in :59 3/5. I smiled when I saw the work

Today the smile is gone. My Derby pick of 2009 will never race again. The Pamplemousse has been retired. In racing, you become anesthetized to horses retiring early and never having a full chance to reach their potential. The Pamplemousse was different though. He was more than the ordinary, he was special. His magnificent run in the Sham Stakes will be how I remember him. Powerful poetry in motion. Steely gray lightning in a bottle. Goodbye 'Mousse, we hardly knew you.



















Photos Courtesy of Benoit Photos & Cecilia G. Felix

14 comments:

Roseann said...

I had him as my west coast horse and yea watching him run was something special.so effortless was his stride..nice piece..thank you.

ja.raymond said...

I hate that his career is over when it never really got off the ground :( He was/is a talented boy.

Anonymous said...

NOOOoooooo!!! We're in the Same boat here Brian. He was my EARLY Derby pick as well.. Absolutely LOVED him. I've been anxiously awaiting his return and closely watching his workouts. I began to worry when I noticed he dropped off the tab a couple weeks ago. This really bums me out.

J. Taylor

Steve Zorn said...

Always disappointing to see a talented horse not make it back, but very discouraging to see that the owners are trying to make a stallion out of him. Obviously, he's a fragile horse, and we have way too many of them in the breeding shed already.

How about a Jockey Club rule that bars registration of any foal by a sire that didn't run at least a dozen times? That's hardly a high threshold. Lots of luck getting Dinny and the gang to go along with it, though.

Brian Zipse said...

Your idea has some merit, Steve. If I may play devil's advocate though ... What would have become of some of the greatest sires I have ever seen like Danzig, Graustark, or Hoist the Flag, who ran a total of 17 races between all three of them?

Sarah Grice said...

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO this makes me so sad! he's one of the few horses my husband really latched onto.

Steve Zorn said...

True, Brian, there are outliers top evry attempt at defining a reasonable standard. But isn't it true that way too many horse with extremely short careers are being turned into stallions these days? In addition to the Pamplemousse, there are at least four others, identified in a recent story in The Saratogian, that are retiring to stud with an average of 6 starts each, including Eskendereya.

Mr. Prospector, himself a huge source of unsoundness, managed to run 14 times. That would be a long career these days. And Danzig, while siring a lot of very fast horses, also passed on some pretty serious conformation problems.

Anonymous said...

Brian, your point brings merit as well.. I'm going to side with Steve on this one though. You ask where would we be if we hadn't been able to breed to all of those great horses due to their fragility....but I ask where would we be if had been breeding to quality horses of sound lines. My answer to that would be that we would have a much better horse. Perhaps not as brilliantly fast over dash distances but I honestly feel we would have some outstanding Route horses capable of racing for many seasons. Perhaps we would even have had some more Triple Crown winners...and more importantly we would have many more individuals able to compete on the same level as many horses around the world. We wouldn't be on pins and needles waiting to see who is going to survive till the Derby every Spring, or dissappointed because our top horses are only able to race 4 or 5 times then retire. John Nerud has said it best on this topic when commenting about how we are raising these colts like hot house plants and not racehorses.

J. Taylor

Brian Zipse said...

No easy answers for sure. A system of needing to race a certain number of times to breed would not only leave out great potentital sires like the ones I mentioned, (keep in mind those were just 3 off the top of my head, and by no means were they sprint sires Joshua) but also might cause owners to run unsound horses to reach the magic number of 12 ... on the other hand, I am all for seeing our starts stick around longer on the racetrack. No easy answers, but a very important discussion I believe.

darlene said...

Mr Zorn and J.Taylor I am so with you on this To many times this year I have cried not only for a horse with an injury that ends their racing career but crying cause they are headed to the shed They will be passing along the genetics that in reality prob caused the injury in the first place I don't know if set number races is the answer but it is a starting point Other ideas are waiting to put 2 yr olds onto the track later in the year say not before August Although personally I hate 2 yr olds racing at all Then making a requirement for set number of 3 yr old races to complete 6 or 7 before going to the breeding shed

Steve Zorn said...

The there's The Green Monkey. $16 million two-year-old. Three lifetime starts, no wins. Standing for $5,000 in Ocala. And he actually has some foals on the ground (weanlings only so far)

Anonymous said...

The answer lies with Handicappers placing more emphasis on the Handicap Division as well as Route to Marathon Distances. Brian, I understand that the Stallions you mentioned didn't just sire sprinters..that wasn't the point I was making... We have to stop breeding for Instant ROI. I posted a great article yesterday that I pulled off Equidaily (authors name escapes me at present) titled, "Racing to Breed"...this is exactly what's happening. Racing has almost become and after thought. It has become a means to an end. The Breeders need to take responsibility for their actions and admit to themselves and everyone else that their actions to make a quick buck and rush these horses off to stud are ruining the future bloodstock. We are seeing the effects of this now with all the breakdowns, and early retirements...just think how bad it will be 5,10,20 years from now.

J.Taylor

Brian Zipse said...

You are right Joshua, racing to breed has hurt racing, and it has been hurting racing for nearly 40 years.

Just to make my point clear, of course I am completely behind breeding a stronger, more healthy thoroughbred. I only wondered if a minimum number of races is the way to go. Banning medication at U.S. tracks is a better answer to me.

Ernie said...

wish I'd met the Mousse

intimate close-up by Cecilia is sweet substitution, though