We always talk about the value of having a fresh horse when racing. The theory is great; horses predominantly train one side of their body, the left. Jogging to the right or galloping on the right lead down the stretch is nothing close to what we can do on the farm. At the farm, a horse can gallop either direction and alternates daily. The hills of the All-weather gallop work muscle groups that haven’t been touched in months and the jogging builds a foundation that can’t be denied.
At some point, we need to ‘put our money where our mouth is’, so we did. We received a number of horses in November and December of last year with the idea that they would come in, enjoy some turnout time, and start back into foundation and race training on our gallops. The endgame was to run competitively at the Keeneland Spring meet, something many owners shoot for but a select few succeed at.
We gave the horses about 30 days to let down in the fields and paddocks before we started them back into training. We started back with a ‘mandatory’ 30 days of jogging, this would tell us which horses were ready to move forward and which needed a bit more time jogging before moving forward. Jogging is one of the most important exercises for a horse because it is more work for the musculature of the horse than galloping. A horse needs a solid foundation to finish a race and jogging plays a big role in developing the hind end and strengthening the horse, especially jogging up and down hills.
Once the horses were ready to move up to a gallop we started them at an easy gallop then moved up incrementally until we reached over 2 ½ miles daily on the all-weather gallop. Keep in mind that the horses were being turned out every evening in a paddock or pasture where they can walk close to 25 miles in a night just grazing. The horses were sent to their respective trainers mid March and most ran throughout the Keeneland meet with many slated to run in the next few weeks at Churchill or Woodbine.
Overall we had 7 runners at Keeneland. Two of those won high level Allowance races and two ran 2nd in MSW company. Those four horses ran the best speed figures of their careers at the Keeneland meet and we expect to see more of the same in the coming weeks from the rest of the crop. Just for reference, we were 28.5% winning and 57% in the money for the meet.