Assault’s Assault

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Nothing piques my interest more than an email titled, “The Old Training Methods.” Bill Hirsch, grandson of Hall of Fame trainer Max Hirsch who trained Assault, read our quote from Allen Jerkens about the 1946 Triple Crown winner and emailed us the horse’s training regimen. In a word – wow.

 

Take it away, Bill…

Assault basically breezed every three days, though he occasionally was wheeled right back and breezed two days in a row. Assault breezed 10 to 12 times each month. He ran an average of two races per month, though he did occasionally race three times in one month.
 
This arduous training schedule of two or three breezes each week ensured that Assault received sufficient race-specific conditioning, so that his body remodeled itself to withstand the pressures of racing. His morning training routine ensured that Assault would develop race-specific bone, ligament, tendon, heart, and lung densities. In addition, his frequent breezes developed his ability to recover from a race in a few days and he was ready to race right back the next week, if necessary.
 
ASSAULT’S PARTIAL TRAINING SCHEDULE BEFORE WINNING TRIPLE COWN in 1946
April 1            Shipped to Belmont Park.
April 5            3 furlongs in 37.
April 6            6 furlongs in 1:14.
April 9            First start of year; won 6-furlong Experimental Free Handicap
in 1:12.
April 12          4 furlongs in 48 2/5.
April 14          3 furlongs in 35 1/5.
April 15          1 mile in 1:43 4/5.
April 18          1 mile in 1:41 2/5.
April 20          Second start; won 1 1/16-mile Wood Memorial
in 1:46 3/5.
April 23          3 furlongs in 39; shipped to Churchill Downs.
April 30          Finished 4th in 1-mile Derby Trial
1:40 1/5; muddy track.
 
May 3              4 furlongs in 48.
May 4              Won 1 ¼-mile Kentucky Derby
by 8 lengths in 2:06 3/5; sloppy track.
May 5              Walked.
May 6              Shipped to Pimlico.
May 8              3 furlongs in 40.
May 9              1 mile in 1:45.
May 11            Won 1 3/16-mile Preakness
by a neck in 2:01 2/5; fast track.
May 12            Shipped to Belmont
May 16            4 furlongs in 52.
May 18            3 furlongs in 40.
May 20            4 furlongs in 48.
May 22            1 mile in 1:43 3/5.
May 24            3 furlongs in 35.
May 25            1 ¼-mile in 2:05.
May 28            4 furlongs in 50.
May 29            1 ½-mile in 2:32
 
June 1              Won 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes
 by 3 lengths in 2:30 4/5; fast track.


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AWESOME TOTAL (NOT A MISREAD!):
Assault’s distance traveled in official workouts (4 3/8-miles) and races
(2 13/16-miles). Total for April: 7 3/16-miles.
 
Assault’s distance traveled in official workouts  (7 7/8-miles) and
races (2 7/16-miles). Total for May: 10 5/16-miles.
 
And on the third day after this two-month grueling morning regime, Assault wins the Triple Crown.