The reasons to scope yearlings and significant findings in radiographs were among the major topics covered at the Consignors and Commercial Breeders Association educational seminar at Keeneland Feb. 4.
The seminar was the first of its kind to be hosted by the CBA, an organization founded in 2005 as a constructive forum and voice for the people who develop and bring sale horses to market.
CBA president Craig Bandoroff was pleased with the attendance at the seminar. He estimated at least 300 people showed up from the 377 that had registered.
"I don't think we could have asked for a better turnout," said Bandoroff, who also owns Denali Stud near Paris, Ky. "We were thrilled. Being the first time, we didn't really know what to expect."
Bandoroff was also impressed by the level of quality in the seminar presentations. "One focus of the CBA is education, and I think we did a great job of educating today," he said. "It's a very worthwhile organization and I'm proud to play a leadership role."
Bandoroff isn't sure whether the seminar will be an annual or bi-annual event. He will discuss its future with other CBA board members after compiling the results of feedback surveys that were filled out by attendees.
CBA members represent about 75% of North American Thoroughbred auction dollars.
"The key to every organization is to have some validity for their membership," Bandoroff said. "Hopefully our members feel it's worthwhile to be members, and that there's some benefit to it."
In the seminar's session on scoping yearlings, Dr. Scott Pierce discussed why the practice is important for horsemen prior to bidding. Pierce explained that while severe health problems are disclosed under the conditions of sales for a horse, other extremely undesirable issues, such as problematic airways, are not.
Pierce categorized horses' airways by numbers, with grade I being the best and grade III being the worst, and showed how they affect racing ability.
After doing extensive research on a large sampling horses, Pierce found that those with grade I airways earned a career average of $68,231 and $11,982 per start, while those with grade III airways earned a career average of $24,603 and $5,330 per start.
Pierce also researched the effect of horses racing with problematic epiglottis structures. Average career earnings of horses with good epiglottis structures were about $66,000 and $12,000 per start, while horses with severe epiglottis issues earned about half of that.
"It does hurt them down the road," he said. "(Problematic epiglottis structures) may meet sale conditions, but they are undesirable, especially for re-sale purposes, and can cause exercise intolerance."
Pierce said more than 43% of horses with a problematic epiglottis never race.
During the same session, Dr. Debbie Spike-Pierce discussed the findings and significance behind radiographs. She pointed out various lesions, fractures, cysts, and sesamoiditis problems on radiographs that could affect a horse's sale price, but may not affect its racing abilities down the road.
As a general rule, the lower the injury is on a horse's knee, the worse the prognosis for recovery.
One of the attendees asked about increased standardization for relaying scoping and radiograph information to horsemen. Both Spike-Pierce and Pierce said standardization was difficult because of the varying of opinion among veterinarians.
"(Standardization) is very important, but there are certain things like sesamoiditis that you can't standardize because there's such a variation in opinion; it's very subjective," Spike-Pierce said. "I think we're better than we have been, but we still have a long way to go."