Abracadabra Farm owner Barry Berkelhammer put forward his opinion to the Thoroughbred Daily News regarding the recent release of a study in Australia of 80,000 repository X-rays which demonstrated that most common bone abnormalities revealed in X-rays of sales yearlings have no effect on subsequent racing performance.
“I definitely try to use the veterinary findings in our favour. I believe the majority of the veterinary findings do not affect their racing performance. If all the findings in yearlings did have an affect, I think the breed as we know it would be tainted. I think with the repositories, having all the X-rays and using them as a tool has given everybody a chance to get more educated. We have more information than we did in the past. Now, everybody has the chance to digest all the findings that are out there.
I try to be fairly lenient when it comes to racing horses and any lesions that we find. I depend heavily on my veterinarian to buy horses as opposed to just finding horses to be failed. I look to him to help me determine which lesions will have an affect and which ones won’t. We try to be very open-minded about buying a horse, overlooking some things and taking a little bit of a price break when we can get it. The most notable horse that we bought was Grade I winner Purge. He had a lot of veterinary findings, but they were all fairly benign in nature.
There were a few different findings in different places, but my veterinarian, Dr. Ruel Cowels, told me to go in there and have confidence and buy because he thought, as a racehorse, it would really hurt him.”