HRP-blogi is a Finnish harness racing enthusiast’s blog where he writes about harness racing and its phenomena in Finland and other countries. He also makes annual statistics from young horses’ preliminaries.
The first preliminary is called opetuslähtö, a “training race” strictly translated. The goal is to encourage horse owners to bring their young horses to professional training already at young age and the trainers to bring the horses to tracks earlier. The time limits are 1.30-1.40 for the two-year old standardbreds, 1.50,0-2.00,0 for the three-year-old finnhorses and 2.00-2.20,0 for the two-year-old finnhorses. The horse receives a prize for trotting between those time boundaries, no other prizes are paid and this does not count neither in the horse’s winnings nor as an official start and is completely voluntary.
Before attending to official races, the horse has to attend another preliminary race, koelähtö in Finnish (strictly translated “test race”), in which the speed is faster. In this preliminary the horse shows that it is fit enough to race and is schooled to behave on the track. One preliminary is valid for eight months and if there are no races in between, the horse has to perform another preliminary to qualify again.
These are the brief statistics from 2012. You can see the full statistics here (tip: mares are highlighted with red and 2-year-olds with *).
Sires Top 20 (overall):
Sires Top 20 (by percentage):
|Sire||Preliminaries||Age class 2009||%|
Maternal lines Top20 (by amount):
Just out of general interest, I counted the three-year-olds in races annually between 1995 and 2012, here’s a graph:
It is not very common to bring the three-year-old horses to races rather than wait until they turn four. Finnhorse is considered as a slow breed to mature. The trend is, however, to favour the younger horses in race schedules to make the horse breeding cycle faster as well (so horses would race younger, show their potential and therefore breed younger than they do now). Naturally the amount of born horses in an age class shows in racing statistics as well.