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Study: Most X Ray Abnormalities Don't Delay Racing Careers

There’s no crystal ball when it comes to purchasing 2-year-old racing prospects at auction and determining whether they will make sound, successful racehorses. But, generally, you do have access to a repository—a collection of radiographs taken from the sales horses that can reveal what’s going on with their bones and joints.
Finding radiographic abnormalities isn’t uncommon in repository X rays, and some buyers believe such anomalies will derail horses’ racing debuts and result in poor performance. But is this really the case?

In the recent study, Japanese researchers reviewed 850 X rays taken of 2-year-old Thoroughbreds in training from 2007 to 2010. They determined that “the majority of radiographic abnormalities are not related to lower performance of horses,” said study author Daisuke Miyakoshi, DVM, of the Hidaka Horse Breeders Association, in Hokkaido, Japan.

The only abnormality the team identified as being a risk for delaying the start of a horse’s racing career was enlarged proximal sesamoid bones in the fore- and hind limbs. But, even enlarged sesamoid bones don’t mean a horse’s racing career is doomed, they noted.

The enlargement could simply be due to bone spurs and mineralization at the point where the sesamoid bone and the suspensory ligament come together. These injuries often heal and cease being an issue as the horses mature, Miyakoshi added.

While the team said they’re weren’t surprised by their findings, Miyakoshi said he hopes the study results will increase buyers’ interest in horses with radiographic abnormalities, along with the price buyers will pay for such horses.

“A lot of buyers in Japan believe that radiographic information can predict the future performance of horses, but that’s not necessarily the case,” Miyakoshi said.

He did caution that the study has several potential limitations.

Source: TheHorse

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