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Another Graph from the Heretic

We all know how evolution works - selection pressure on a population that has heritable variation. We also know how modern knowledge of training, nutrition, drugs and so on has allowed athletes to run faster. You may also be aware of the vast amounts of money that is at stake on the Derby. Put it all together and here you have an example of intense selection pressure combined with unlimited resources with one aim - to make a horse that runs faster. You only have to look at the Stud Fees associated with the breeding of winners to see how owners believe in heritability of "fitness". So before you go below the fold imagine what the graph of the winning times will look like.

Derby%20winning%20times.jpg

Download Spreadsheet file

Yes flat-lined - no improvement for years. The creationists crow it shows that evolution doesn't work, geneticist mutter about limited gene pool and I'm just perplexed.

Sources: Kentucky Derby 132 | 2006 | Derby History | Derby Statistics | 1896 -- Derby shortened from 1 1/2 to l 1/4 miles so times not included.
The Kentucky Derby Limit (As they had done the grunt work of converting the times into seconds).
Epsom Derby - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Comments

they are probably getting a faster surface to run on too. ain't life grand, bigger bombs and faster horses.

I'm curious if anything could be infered from the jump in Deerby fnish time around 1946. Doe this point to diet and condition.

But yes perplexed as we don't seemt o have regained pre-war figures.

Perhaps it's true that all the good blood lines were killed off in the world wars.

You must be chastised for using "chartsmanship". Why doesn't the y-axis start at 0? Especially for something like time. Oddly in this case it will make your point more decisively.


From an engineering perspective, it would appear we are approaching the ultimate and intrinsic limitations of the mechanism: Horse bone has a finite strength to weight ratio, likewise muscle. You need a certain amount of bone strength to withstand the impacts of running...you go lighter and it breaks. With muscle, you try to pack more on for more speed, and you are carrying more weight, so you need more bone strength, which also adds weight. As long as you can only work with horse muscle with a finite number of cells per pound producing a finite amount of power per contraction, and bone with finite limit on strength to weight (and all the other components have similar limitations,...sinew, cartiledge, skin, blood, etc.) there is a theoretical finite maximum limit, and once you have bred to that optimum, you can't go faster without genetically engineering new materials...titanium bones, for example. So why can't we get back to pre-WWII times in the Derby? Something else may have changed...were horses being doped pre-war and that has been stopped? What's the unknown variable?

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