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View Full Version : Time off between starts - DISCUSSION



JstMyLuck3
Nov. 25, 2009, 02:15 PM
Over the past couple years, as I have been on the backside of certain tracks more and more... I've noticed how little time some of these horses are getting in between starts. Two of the horses I picked up from Suffolk last year only had 6 days sometimes between starts, and this went on ALL season (from May until October). Why? All I can think is, these poor horses. Same goes for Finger Lakes when I went to look at horses last week. I saw 15 horses jog that day and I kid you not, 1 was sound. According to the various trainers, all of these horses were "sound". I was thinking to myself, how can you not see that this horse is off? I didn't say anything because I A) didn't want to offend anyone and B) didn't want to burn bridges because I plan to return next year for more hunter/jumper prospects. Basically, wouldn't these horses perform better (and make more $$ for the trainers) if they had more than one week off to recover between starts? :confused: I saw way too many bowed tendons, and a pair of ankles the size of a small football (I KID YOU NOT) that day. So sad.

DickHertz
Nov. 25, 2009, 02:29 PM
This happens mostly for two reasons:

1.) Stupid owners who put pressure on their trainer to run them often.

2.) Trainers who mistakenly see a horse fresh after a race and think they'll automatically fire if they run em right back.

Barnfairy
Nov. 25, 2009, 03:07 PM
It seemed to me like there was something of a vicious cycle going on at Suffolk more so this year than season's past:

There need to be enough horses in races for people to bet on -- there is a lack of entries (meaning fewer horses based and running at Suffolk) -- folks are going elsewhere for larger slot-enhanced purses -- races are written to fill -- the quality of trainers is declining as the purses here are less attractive --so you end up seeing the same guys going every 5 to 10 days over and over.

Can you follow what I'm saying?

Seeing a fit horse go on shortish rest for a few months out of the year really doesn't bother me -- but seeing horses in poor condition finishing regularly at the back of the pack once a week, yeah, I don't like that either.

SleepyFox
Nov. 25, 2009, 03:20 PM
There need to be enough horses in races for people to bet on -- there is a lack of entries (meaning fewer horses based and running at Suffolk) -- folks are going elsewhere for larger slot-enhanced purses -- races are written to fill -- the quality of trainers is declining as the purses here are less attractive --so you end up seeing the same guys going every 5 to 10 days over and over.

Can you follow what I'm saying?

Seeing a fit horse go on shortish rest for a few months out of the year really doesn't bother me -- but seeing horses in poor condition finishing regularly at the back of the pack once a week, yeah, I don't like that either.

The upside to horses that finish at the back of the pack is that they generally run slow enough they aren't going to hurt themselves and they come out of the race well. It's not as hard on them to wheel back as a horse that just put out a massive effort.

Some horses really do run better on a tight turn around. But you generally don't do that over and over and over again. However, some folks run for a paycheck - not a win. In other words, their plan is to simply get a small check (anything else of course is welcome) so they run often to make up for that. The upside to that is that they aren't making enough money to justify big vet bills, so the horses are pretty sound (they aren't piecing those horses together to run them b/c they can't afford to). And,yeah, a horse can be racing sound on set osselets or set bows.

Barnfairy, how far back does Suffolk pay?

Barnfairy
Nov. 25, 2009, 10:06 PM
The upside to horses that finish at the back of the pack is that they generally run slow enough they aren't going to hurt themselves...That is often true, however, as for coming out of the race well it really depends on the horse. The gelding I brought home this year was regularly finishing out of the money (paychecks run through fifth at Suffolk, though generally at the lowest levels anything less than second place is not enough) and consequently didn't earn enough to eat. Every racing effort left him more and more depleted. It finally got to the point where he couldn't run anymore and when I bailed him out he looked like an Auschwitz prisoner.

It's not right. Anyone who knows me can attest that I am very fond of Suffolk...but if harboring that caliber of trainer is what it takes for the track to survive, then the end must be near. It simply must, for the sake of the horses.

NancyM
Nov. 26, 2009, 09:19 AM
It is no use to pull the trigger if the gun is not reloaded. It takes various amounts of time for each and every horse to reload itself and become ready to fire again. Older horses tend to be able to rebound faster than young ones do. I saw an older horse run in races three days in a row one long weekend, finished first, first, and second. But it was the final weekend of the meet. The horse had the winter off after that.

One sees many horses over raced, especially as young horses. This is often due to human greed and ignorance, and yes it does damage those horses often. Sometimes they can recover fully, sometimes they can't. Greed and ignorance in humans is not limited to racing pursuits, it is present in humans involved in all equine disciplines.

When one sees a two or three year old with a lot of starts and a lot of earnings and championship status, the automatic thought is of "racing success". But if the horse does not run on past this age, it is unknown if the horse had not been pushed SO hard to earn as much as possible as quickly as possible, then perhaps the horse may have been able to earn MORE over time, taking things a bit easier each year. On the other hand, "striking when the iron is hot" (entering when the horse appears ABLE, is fit, acceptably sound, and the race is offered) can also be a good plan. So I think the "happy medium" between these two is often the best plan, keeping the horse's long term best interests at heart while in training and competition. Horses well looked after, raced when they can and rested when they need it tends to work the best for both humans and horses involved, without the human contingent succumbing to greed. But it is hard to resist greed sometimes, people get excited when they think they have a good one, finally. However, a "good one" must be cherished, prolonged, taken care of, to prolong the enjoyment of such a horse, not used up fast. Rich people think they can just go buy another one to replace one that is used up, however it often is not as easy as it sounds to do this. Once people realize that it is difficult to replace a good one, even if you have money to spend, perhaps more care is taken when a good one comes along. Perhaps not, if a person does not learn these things well.

lily04
Nov. 26, 2009, 09:50 AM
There is also alot of pressure from racing secretaries to run often. If you don't have a certain number of starts per stall you will have your stalls revoked.

SleepyFox
Nov. 26, 2009, 11:02 AM
The gelding I brought home this year was regularly finishing out of the money (paychecks run through fifth at Suffolk, though generally at the lowest levels anything less than second place is not enough) and consequently didn't earn enough to eat. Every racing effort left him more and more depleted. It finally got to the point where he couldn't run anymore and when I bailed him out he looked like an Auschwitz prisoner.

Good point, Barnfairy. How's your boy doing?

Jessi P
Nov. 26, 2009, 01:17 PM
My ex runs his horses very often - one of the advantages of doing that (running every 7 days) is that you don't have to pay to train the horse in between races ($10/gallop here unless you get your jockey to spin one 'round the track for you - but jockeys aren't great gallop people on the whole). You can pretty much walk one into a race if they are running once a week. IMO you can get away with doing it here and there - but it's not a good "general training" tactic.

Barnfairy
Nov. 28, 2009, 06:03 PM
Good point, Barnfairy. How's your boy doing?Thanks for asking. He's gaining weight, his horrid thrush is clearing up, and he's a heck of a lot happier than he was a month ago. We've been working on learning some new skills as his condition allows.

I also own his 3/4 sister, and the two of them have inherited the same "escape" gene...both of them will deftly slip out under a stall guard or strand of electric fence if given the chance...and then happily stand on the other side looking completely innocent. :lol:

WinterTriangle
Nov. 29, 2009, 05:59 AM
Over the past couple years, as I have been on the backside of certain tracks more and more...

Running *often* isn't a problem, if a horse has no unhealed injuries. What you're talking about is not just sad. It's unethical.

If you want honest answers, consult with equine veterinarians or equine clinics NOT associated with the racing industry as to what horses *should be doing* with tendonitis, swelling, bowed tendons, and other tendon, bone, and muscle injuries.

Any truly ethical person understands that sports medicine is meant to keep your horse sound and conditioned in order to AVOID injury.....

..........not the bastardized form intended to keep horses racing WITH injuries.


Injuries require a certain type of rest and sytematic controlled exercise until healed. Recovery does not include competitive athletics. :no:

When you sweep away all the excuses you'll hear, it's all just common sense...... and an ethical conscience.