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The Kentucky Derby was War Admiral’s third start in 24 days. Since he’d never gone a mile and a quarter, his trainer worked him the Derby distance four days before the Derby. He won the Derby of course. The Preakness was only a week after the Derby in 1937, and War Admiral worked nine furlongs four days before the race. As we all know, War Admiral won the Preakness. The Belmont Stakes was his fifth start in 52 days. That was not considered a particularly grueling campaign at the time, so just to be sure that the Admiral was ready for the 1 and 1/2-mile trip, Conway worked him not once but three times over the Belmont distance during the three weeks between the Preakness and the Belmont. He won the Belmont in a record tying time of 2:28 and 3/5, again leading wire to wire despite slicing a quarter off his right heel breaking from the starting gate.
Clearly our modern trainers could learn something from trainers who trained horses – instead of running them on drugs!