What do the following horses have in common? Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Spectacular Bid, Affirmed, Alydar, Damascus, Buckpasser, Easy Goer, Riva Ridge, Holy Bull, Spend a Buck, and Swale?
All of them, despite having run at a mile or longer as a 2-year-old, made their 3-year-old debut going seven furlongs or shorter.
In recent years, trainers, for whatever reason, are reluctant to drop a horse back in distance for his 3-year-old debut. Now you see races like the Hutcheson Stakes and Bay Shore Stakes dominated by sprinters. You rarely see a top 2-year-old make his first start at 3 in a sprint of any kind, with many trainers rushing them into 1 1/8-mile races, as they do with horses who have never even been two turns.
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