I think we can fix him but he is going to need cooler weather, so if he was my horse I'd put him away now, give him an easier time and aim for the Breeders Crown.
So says trainer Kelvin Harrison of the New Zealand superstar Auckland Reactor N according to the New Zealand Herald in response to a question regarding what is wrong with the Kiwi superstar. So heat is apparently the enemy of Auckland Reactor. According to Harrison, Auckland Reactor can't acclimate to the hot weather and when you race in North America this time of year, especially in the Northeast; this is a disaster for the team which purchased Auckland Reactor to be a dual hemisphere stallion. If you can't race the big boys during stakes season when the money is on the line, many breeders will not be looking at your stallion seriously.
Is this a case of a trainer looking to cover himself? I think not. Like people, some horses just don't respond well to the heat. Owners and trainers of these types of horses know summer is the time to put their horses in the field and bring them back in the fall for a late fall to early spring campaign, piling up the wins and raking in the money. Of course, these horses tend not to become in demand stallions; nor do their owners pay $3.5 million for their horse
This presents a dilemma for Auckland Reactor's connections. They have several options to consider; listen to the trainer and go for bust aiming for the Breeders Crown (and perhaps a time trial at Lexington to show his speed?); dismiss the trainer's advice and tell the trainer to keep going with him realizing every loss further cheapens the horses; fire the trainer and see if you have better luck with another trainer; head back home to New Zealand where the weather apparently doesn't get this hot and resurrect a successful racing and future breeding career down under.
Perhaps there is another option? I, for one, do believe this horse has the potential to ultimately live up to the hype. Maybe let his biological clock get back in sync and have a short fall campaign and then bring him back next year thus allowing him to go through the seasons in logical progression; permitting full acclimation This is what worked for Lyell Creek N, who won the Canadian Trotting Derby the year after he came to North America after suffering through a very non-descript first year in the Northern Hemisphere. Of course, this would add a year to the owners' plans and it too doesn't guarantee success.
It will be interesting to see what the Auckland Reactor team decides to do. While it would be unrealistic for financial concerns not to be a factor, hopefully “what is best for the horse” are not hollow words.