The Bottom Line
- Easy to understand lesson on Thoroughbred racehorse conformation analysis
- Extensive use of photographs (over 400) to demonstrate the techniques learned
- Drawn on over 30 years of experience in this field
- Well-written work by an internationally respected expert who usually teaches the high end market
- May not be useful to "numbers" handicappers who do not use physicality in their selection process
- The Underlying Bone Structure
- Racing Differences
- The Pillar of Support
- Conformation and Function
- The Racehorse in Motion
- Quarterhorses, Steeplechasers, and Endurance Horses
- NOTE: Judy will be available to a limited number of enthusiasts at the start of the Keeneland Mixed Sale (starting Nov. 8)
- Contact her directly for fees and available dates.
Guide Review - Learning by Example by Judy Wardrope
The reader learns what to look for to determine which horses are more likely to blow turns, which racing surface (turf, dirt, or synthetic) he or she would run best on, have longer or shorter stride lengths, and what distances they'd compete over, even before seeing the horse actually run either in a workout or a race. For a bettor, this skill might be useful when handicapping first time starters, horses of questionable pedigrees, or horses doing something they had never done before, such as changing surface or stretching out in distance. Without the benefit of pedigrees or past performances, functional conformation may be the advantage the horseplayer can use to get an edge over purely "numbers" players.
After the instructional section, the second part of the book includes photos of several horses, demonstrating the techniques learned earlier, listing in most cases the horse's name, earnings, winning distances, and whether he or she was a stakes winner. Just sampling some of these horses, it is clear just how powerful conformation is as a determining factor in racing success, and often in breeding success if the stallion or broodmare can pass along these attributes to their offspring, exactly why conformation photographs are commonly used in stallion advertising. A separate section covers yearlings and 2-year-olds; as these horses are still growing, some modifications must be made in what to look for, compared to fully grown horses. After these examples, Wardrope includes a "self-test" quiz, with a photo of a horse and then blanks where you can fill in the findings and then predict the horse's on-track performance (stakes winner, optimal distance, etc).
The game is all about picking the right horse, and this is an important piece of the puzzle to make that winning decision. Those wanting to learn more may want to attend one of Wardrope's seminars to witness this expert first-hand.