Study: Most X Ray Abnormalities Don’t Delay Racing Careers

Only enlarged proximal sesamoid bones were identified as being a risk for delaying a 2-year-old’s first start.
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Study: Most X Ray Abnormalities Don
The only abnormality the team identified as being a risk for delaying the start of a horse’s racing career was enlarged proximal sesamoid bones in the fore- and hind limbs. | Photo: Alexandra Beckstett
There’s no crystal ball when it comes to purchasing 2-year-old racing prospects at auction and determining whether they will make sound, successful racehorses. But, generally, you do have access to a repository—a collection of radiographs taken from the sales horses that can reveal what’s going on with their bones and joints.

Finding radiographic abnormalities isn’t uncommon in repository X rays, and some buyers believe such anomalies will derail horses’ racing debuts and result in poor performance. But is this really the case?

In the recent study, Japanese researchers reviewed 850 X rays taken of 2-year-old Thoroughbreds in training from 2007 to 2010. They determined that “the majority of radiographic abnormalities are not related to lower performance of horses,” said study author Daisuke Miyakoshi, DVM, of the Hidaka Horse Breeders Association, in Hokkaido, Japan.

The only abnormality the team identified as being a risk for delaying the start of a horse’s racing career was enlarged proximal sesamoid bones in the fore- and hind limbs. But, even enlarged sesamoid bones don’t mean a horse’s racing career is doomed, they noted

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Written by:

Katie Navarra has worked as a freelance writer since 2001. A lifelong horse lover, she owns and enjoys competing a dun Quarter Horse mare.

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