NURTURE OVER NATURE: TRAINING A WINNER
A major point that may be gleaned from the above discussion is that all of the races composing the 2015 Triple Crown were essentially “clone wars,” races contested by very closely related horses. Genetics, therefore, cannot lie at the heart of American Pharoah’s victory. It is not “nature” but “nurture”---skill development, appropriate training and conditioning, and the more subtle factor of the horse being “OK with life” that, it seems to me, are the elements that made all the difference.
Having looked at his pedigree, we can also analyze American Pharoah on a number of other levels, beginning with conformation. Body build is more heavily determined by genetics than by upbringing, particularly in the case of expensive livestock such as this horse, who received the best veterinary attention, feeding regimen and management practices that modern science can devise.
Unfortunately, I cannot present a full conformation analysis of American Pharoah because, like every other 3-year-old horse on planet Earth, he is still three years from physical maturity. The latest available conformation photo shows him as a long yearling, which is the gawkiest and least “harmoniouslooking” phase of any horse’s life. What can be said is that at that stage American Pharoah shows big, muscular hindquarters, a well-coupled and fairly strong back, a deep chest and a somewhat short neck. The knees and hocks are well-formed and broad, though not let down as well as in Secretariat (but better, it must be noted, than in most other Triple Crown winners; see pages 72 to 74).
The same points may be observed in weanling photos of the two horses: Secretariat has much the prettier neck, an even stronger back, longer forearms, and cannon bones that articulate better at the knees. As a baby, however,