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I absolutely love it when trainers use track and field stuff on their horses

I saw a picture on my Twitter feed just now of Team Contessa stretching out Rydullic's legs while giving him a tour of Keeneland's paddock a day before the Blue Grass Stakes (I):

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Seeing this stuff inspires me on a wordy, athlete-speak rampage. No I’m not an expert, but I have opinions and personal experience when it comes to racehorse trainers using methods that originate from human track and field.

As soon as I hear about it happening, I’m all over that horse like bees on honey. To me, it just makes logical sense and while a horse’s anatomy is much more complex than a human’s, the same principles ought to apply. I can see so many methods doing a horse a world of good in training for a big race, and many of them HAVE already been used on prior champions:

  • Intervals - Short spurts at a given pace… similar to how many horses currently work/breeze
  • Fartleks - (Dumb word I know, but it’s actually Swedish for “speed play”) These are “fun runs” where you run at whatever pace you feel like, then go faster briefly, then back to running at will for longer distances.
  • Hills - This would be PERFECT for sprinters who need more power [read: powerful hindquarters] to get away quickly. Short fast spurts running up a hill builds muscle fast. I recommend this to virtually every runner I meet that needs to get race-ready or get faster in a short period of time.
  • Varied surface training - Phar Lap did this… don’t run in the same places. Change it up! Though I can see why a lot of people don’t want to risk letting their horses gallop around in the woods or on a bumpy trail

Trainers already use a lot of methods they learned from track and field athletes years ago like soaking in ice water baths and stretching out their legs between activities. Runners in turn copied racehorses in bandaging their legs to guard from injury.

Somebody please try this shit.

This happened today.

This happened today.

The gate crew at the Bowie Training Center in Bowie, Maryland take you behind the scenes of what it’s like to train racehorses to break from a starting gate. Wearing Kevlar (bulletproof) vests, it’s one of the most dangerous jobs that requires a lot of skill and knowledge. Records of gate training are kept meticulously for each horse, and if there is an issue noted with a particular horse during training or loading up for a race, that horse must receive further, improved gate training before they are allowed to enter another race.

Godolphin’s Mendip takes a swing around the training track in preparation for the 2012 Dubai World Cup

Godolphin’s Mendip takes a swing around the training track in preparation for the 2012 Dubai World Cup

Union Rags, Dialed In, and El Padrino all work beautifully at Palm Meadows

Uncle Mo beefing up at Saratoga

Uncle Mo beefing up at Saratoga

Black Caviar will face seven others in her return to the races on Saturday with a go in the Schillaci (II) over five furlongs. If she wins, she’ll equal Phar Lap's record of 14 consecutive wins while staying undefeated.

Black Caviar will face seven others in her return to the races on Saturday with a go in the Schillaci (II) over five furlongs. If she wins, she’ll equal Phar Lap's record of 14 consecutive wins while staying undefeated.

Euroears

Euroears

He’s a very strong horse; you better be strong because he will pull you. He’s focused all the time and always wants to do his best. If you can compare him to a human athlete that is in training, if he is supposed to be at the gym at six in the morning he will get there at 5:30. If he is supposed to stay there until 10, he leaves at 11.

Trainer H. James Bond of Tizway, whom has won the Met Mile (I) and Whitney Handicap (I) this year in easy fashion, preparing the horse for his next start in the October 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup (I).

Going to the Thoroughbred races, keeping "track" of the memories. Obsessively providing a comprehensive and personal glance at the sport of kings through original photography, handicapping analysis, editorials, and much more.

Tracks visited: Calder, Saratoga, Belmont, Suffolk, Aqueduct.


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