ASSAULT’S ACTUAL WORK AND RACE REGIMEN FOR THE TRIPLE CROWN

On June 1, 1946, Assault became the seventh winner of the American Triple Crown.  He was bred and owned by the famous King Ranch of Texas and trained by Fredericksburg, TX native Maximilian Hirsch.  The names of Assault and Max Hirsch are enshrined in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.  Assault’s winning margin of eight lengths in the Kentucky Derby is the largest ever in the Run for the Roses.

Max Hirsch’s grandson, Bill Hirsch (son of Hall of Fame trainer William J. “Buddy” Hirsch), provided Horse Racing Business with the following narrative of his grandfather’s rigorous training and racing schedule for Assault in April and May of 1946.

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Assault basically breezed every three days, though he occasionally was wheeled right back and breezed two days in a row.  Assault breezed 10 to 12 times each month.  He ran an average of two races per month, though he did occasionally race three times in one month.

This arduous training schedule of two or three breezes a week ensured that assault received sufficient race-specific conditioning, so that his body remodeled itself to withstand the pressures of racing.  His morning training routine ensured that Assault would develop race-specific bone, ligament, tendon, heart and lung densities.  Plus his frequent breezes developed his ability to recover from a race in a few days and he was ready to race right back the next week, if necessary.  Assault spent the winter of 1946 in winter quarters at the Columbia Training Center in Columbia, SC.

Assault’s Training And Racing Schedule For the Triple Crown

April 1   Shipped to Belmont Park
April 5   3 furlongs in :37
April 6   6 furlongs in 1:14
April 9   First start of year; won 6-furlong Experimental Free Handicap in 1:12
April 12  4 furlongs in :48 2/5
April 14  3 furlongs in :35 1/5
April 15  1 mile in 1:43 4/5
April 18  1 mile in 1:41 2/5
April 20  Won the 1 1/16 Wood Memorial in 1:46 3/5
April 23  3 furlongs in :39; shipped to Churchill Downs
April 30  Finished 4th in 1-mile Derby Trial 1:40 1/5; muddy track

May 3   4 furlongs in :48
May 4   Won 1 ¼ mile Kentucky Derby in 2:06 3/5; sloppy track
(In 1946, there was only one week between the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.)
May 5    Walked
May 6   Shipped to Pimlico
May 8   3 furlongs in :40
May 9   1 mile in 1:45
May 11  Won 1 3/16 mile Preakness Stakes by a neck in 2:01 2/5; fast track
May 12  Shipped to Belmont
May 16  4 furlongs in :52
May 18  3 furlongs in :40
May 20  4 furlongs in :48
May 22  1 mile in 1:43 3/5
May 24  3 furlongs in :35
May 25  1 ¼ miles in 2:05
May 28  4 furlongs in :50
May 29  1 ½ miles in 2:32

June 1   Won 1 /1/2 mile Belmont Stakes  by 3 lengths in 2:30 4/5; fast track

Summary:

Assault’s total distance for official workouts in April/May = 12.25 miles
Assault’s total distance for races in April/May = 5.25 miles
On the 3rd day after this two-month grueling regimen, Assault completed the Triple Crown.

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Thanks to Bill Hirsch for providing the historical record.  Used with permission.

Copyright © 2015 Horse Racing Business

Comments

  1. And the talking heads keep telling us how much the TC in five weeks takes out of horses. Maybe it has to do with how little today’s trainers know about proper conditioning for distance races. Baffert is the best trainer of today in getting a horse ready and thru the TC races but he would not have been exceptional in the days of Hirsch, Fitzsimmons, Jones, etc.

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