Monday, December 21, 2009

Interview: Jess Jackson

First and foremost I would genuinely like to thank you for taking the time to allow me to interview you for Odds On Favorite.  

OOF: During a time when an individual would work one job essentially their entire lives you had a number of career changes. While a police officer during the depression you worked your way through law school then founded a firm that went on to argue cases’ before the Supreme Court. You founded Kendall Jackson filling a hole in the market of producing a quality wine at an affordable price. And now you’ve moved into the realm of being a Thoroughbred owner and breeder. Of all these quite amazing accomplishments which avenue was the most challenging to undertake?

JJ:  Every undertaking that one takes seriously is challenging and every challenge is unique. Because of that it would be very hard to compare one career challenge with another: they test you in different ways and reward you in different ways.
OOF: You caused quite a stir (to say the least) when you entered into the Thoroughbred industry. As you know there was a long standing ‘insiders” tradition that secret commissions and dual agency were just the way the industry works. As it has been described to me “every one gets cheated when they first enter the owners market” (including me). I know I’m not going to make any friends here but I respect what you did regarding your particular dealings and believe the changes you brought about will ultimately help Thoroughbred racing. Describe if you will what led you to undertake the legal action and not just accept what had happened?

JJ:  Dual representation is unethical and illegal. Bloodstock agents deceive newcomers by conspiring with sellers to drive up prices. Then they split the overpayment. I sued and won. I didn't need the money. I just wanted to do what was right. Some people said I should have worked within the system: well, people tried that and it never worked. I took it up a notch and that seems to have worked.

OOF: You created more controversy by testifying before congress regarding the use of steroids within the industry. I personally believe in an outright ban on them and know you testified for that as well. Do you feel there will be a time within the near future where steroids will be permanently banned?   

JJ:  There first needs to be a single, unified body that governs the entire sport. Right now it’s a hodgepodge of different rules, different authorities, different penalties depending on where you race. I don’t think we’ll see meaningful changes until we have a single, authoritative organization.

OOF: You have made your disdain for Poly or “Plastic” tracks well known. What are your feelings regarding the future of plastic tracks and should the “powers that be” create three divisions of racing, dirt, turf and poly?

JJ:  We should get rid of plastic surfaces altogether

OOF: You obviously had personal interaction with Curlin during his career; I remember for example watching you visit him just before the Breeders Cup in California where in an apparent attempt to find mints he was attacking your jacket pockets. How much interaction were you able to actually have with him during his race career and now in his new career?

JJ:  I am very close to Curlin and continue to spend a good deal of time with him.  I have a deep affection for him.

OOF:  His new foals will be hitting the ground “running” soon how do you foresee his stallion career developing and unfolding?

JJ:  The point of breeding Curlin is to create racehorses that not only have speed and strength, but durability. I want to see the breed step up to another level—for the good of the horses themselves and the sport. When Curlin’s offspring become champions, it will underscore the importance of this direction of breeding.

OOF: How is Rachel progressing towards her reappearance next year?

JJ:  Rachel will be in top form. She can’t wait to get going.

OOF: Although I thought Zenyatta’s performance in the Breeders Cup was outstanding looking at the overall body of work she and Rachel achieved over the course of the entire year I believe Rachel wins hands down. What kind of emotions do you think you would feel standing up on that stage to receive the Horse of the Year award three years in a row?

JJ:  I would feel gratitude and respect for the voters. I would feel that they had truly  recognized the horse that had the best year. I could not be more proud of Rachel and our team no matter what the HOY outcome.

OOF: Who would win in a race between Curlin and Rachel?

JJ:  Who can say? That’s why we watch horse races.

OOF:  What would you like your biggest legacy in Thoroughbred racing to be?

JJ:  I would like to feel that I helped bring a higher level of integrity to the business—such as the elimination of dual agency and the establishment of a single, authoritative organization to oversee the sport. I’d like to think I contributed to the betterment of the race horse species and to the better enjoyment of the sport by the fans.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Want a Safe Natural way to a Stronger, Faster, more Durable Race Horse then you need Protein

Probably the most misunderstood aspect of a horse’s diet protein is made up of long chain branch amino acids the building blocks of bones, muscles, and virtually all of the body's soft tissues, for growth and repair.

Essential Part of a Horse’s Diet

This makes protein an essential part of the diet as the horse continually uses protein either to build new tissues, as in growth, or to repair worn out tissues. Protein is the main constituent of the organs (such as liver, heart, kidneys, etc) and tissues (such as muscle, tendons, ligaments, cartilage) and most of the bone matrix which comprises 20% of bone is composed of protein. Protein is required to develop muscling, and most body functions require protein in many different forms.

The Power of Protein in Recovery in Race Horses

An Endocrinology and Metabolism study conducted at Copenhagen Muscle Research Centre, Copenhagen N, Denmark found the following results:

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) or a placebo was given to seven subjects during 1 h of ergometer cycle exercise and a 2-h recovery period. Intake of BCAA did not influence the rate of exchange of the aromatic amino acids, tyrosine and phenylalanine, in the legs during exercise or the increase in their concentration in muscle.

The increase was ~30% in both conditions. On the other hand, in the recovery period after exercise, a faster decrease in the muscle concentration of aromatic amino acids was found in the BCAA experiment (46% compared with 25% in the placebo condition).

There was also a tendency to a smaller release (an average of 32%) of these amino acids from the legs during the 2-h recovery. The results suggest that BCAA have a protein-sparing effect during the recovery after exercise, either that protein synthesis has been stimulated and/or protein degradation has decreased, but the data during exercise are too variable to make any conclusions about the effects during exercise. The effect in the recovery period does not seem to be mediated by insulin (Blomstrand, Saltin).

Faster Recovery = Faster, Stronger Horse

Steroids do not directly build muscle what they do however is decrease recovery time and thereby increase the ability to train and eat. The end result being increased muscle mass, increased strength and conversely increased speed.

Not all Protein is Good / Useful Protein

Normally a feed's protein level is determined by looking at the percentage value on the feed tag under "crude protein." But the crude protein numbers do not really reflect either a protein's overall quality (which can be determined only by the amino acid profile), or the amount of protein from that feed a horse can digest and use.

Nitrogen Content

The crude protein value is based on the overall nitrogen content of a feed, and not all of the nitrogen in a feed sample is necessarily protein-bound. Nitrogen also might be found in purines, creatinine, ammonium salts, and nucleic acids, all of which might be in a feed sample. As such you are unsure as to the usefulness of the information when determining the proper amount of protein to supplement your race horse.

Need Supplementation or Essential Amino Acids

The dietary requirements of race horses are not only a matter of providing a sufficient quantity of protein, the quality of protein is very important. Proteins are made of approximately 20 amino acids in varying combinations.

Horses can only make about half of these amino acids and must therefore be supplied with the ones they cannot make. These are called "essential" amino acids.

Quality Supplementation is the Key

Protein quality is determined by the proportions of essential amino acids making up the protein. Thereby all supplements administered to the horse should be produced in an FDA approved lab and graded as for human consumption. Otherwise the product may have little or no standards of quality and may actually cause more harm than good.