The incidence of angular and flexural limb deformities in Standardbreds in New Zealand and the influence on racing performance.
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There is limited information available examining conformational abnormalities in Standardbreds, and the relationship between conformation of the limbs and racing performance is controversial. However, as training is both expensive and time consuming, it would save time and money to make a selection at an early age of foals that have a greater chance of a successful racing career. Our study showed that 178 of the 1296 foals (14.81%) had some form of angular or flexural limb deformity. There was no difference in incidence of ALD between fillies and colts. Sires did not influence the incidence of ALD in their progeny. Foals that did not have ALD were 1.5 times more likely to qualify before the age of 4 than foals that had ALD. There was no influence of ALD on total amount of prize money won, total amount of starts or total amount of prize money per start. Foals that were exported to Australia had the same incidence of ALD as the standard population, but of the foals that were sold to the U.S.A. none had any form of ALD. This study gives an indication of the importance of ALD in Standardbreds and may give the owners and trainers complementary information to select their horses. It also provides a basis for further studies about the role of conformation in racing performance.