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Forego by the Numbers

This weekend sees the running of the Forego Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course, a race named in honor of the great racehorse Forego, a three-time Horse of the Year. We thought about writing a pedigree post about his family, but in sifting through the library here at The Blood-Horse offices, we came across something a little more interesting that we thought we would share.

Forego winning the 1974 Vosburgh Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct.

Below is a copy of a handwritten conformation note written by famed New York veternarian Dr. Manuel Gilman. Doc Gilman, who died just two years ago, served as chief examining veterinarian for the New York Racing Association, as general manager of Louis and Patrice Wolfson’s Harbor View Farm, as director of the U.S. Jockey Club, and finally as Jockey Club steward at the NYRA racetracks. Doc Gilman was mostly recognised for his work in racehorse identification. In an era where "ringers" were used, he realized that the horny growths on the inside of a horse's legs—called chestnuts or "night eyes" by native Americans—served as the homologue of the human fingerprint, and he helped develop the Universal Horse Identification System now used throughout Thoroughbred racing to assure that the horses on which the public is betting are in fact the horses running in the race.

In addition to his work on the identification system, and as possibly part of it, Doc Gilman was also obviously interested in the phenotypic measurements of the horse, evidenced by a folder of horse measurements that has found its way to The Blood-Horse. The measurements include many of the elite horses that raced during Doc Gilman's 32-year tenure as the chief examining veterinarian for NYRA. The great Forego was measured as a mature 6-year-old in 1976, the year he captured his third consecutive Horse of the Year title.

Gilman's measurements of Forego dated Sept. 28, 1976.

Among other horses that Dr. Gilman measured that we have records on are Affectionately, Affirmed, Alydar, Bold Forbes, Buckpasser, Cox's Ridge, Easy Goer, Exceller, Genuine Risk, Hail to Reason, John Henry, Kelso, Majestic Light, Never Bend, Northern Dancer, Round Table, Ruffian, Seattle Slew, Secretariat, Sir Gaylord, Spectacular Bid, Sword Dancer, and Wajima—a veritable trove of information which we plan to get together and share with our readers at a later date.

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