Yes! NBC showed a shot of his barn manager leading him through the barn. He is fairly tall anyway, but that shot always makes Smarty looks teeny weeny. Someone on this board said that Smarty is 15.3, though, which I don't consider to be really small. Size is all about perspective, I suppose. I think of 15.3 to 16.2 to be average for a performance/show horse, but my in-laws who have QHs for trail riding think my 16h mare is a giant! Now 17.3 on the other hand... http://chronicleforums.com/groupee_c.../icon_wink.gif
No kidding right, I was rootin for Rock because he was so big, but I think all of that starting gate jitters lost the race for him. If it would have been any longer, I think he would have caught up, his one stride was like four of Smarty's, though it'll be nice to see a triple crown winner in three weeks, Smarty wiped their pants off!
Aww, he's just a baby - definitely lacking in experience, such is life. I guess it's coming from a sporthorse background - I always got yelled at for sweet talking my two year olds & immature three year olds. 'But they're just babies!'
I agree with you, Pol. He would make big jumps look small. When he was running next to Imperialism, it looked like his head was as big as Imp's body. I knew then I had bet on the wrong horse to show . . . .
Oh yes he was ear twitched with one of the ones you clip and leave on. They also had the chain over his gums at one point. he was being very naughty....but I can't help but hink of him as a baby. My husband was horrified.
He was one amazinglooking animal flying down track! It looked like David and Goliath at tha races.
I know the gate crew guys really well, they're always letting me crawl up in the gate to take photos.
They have recieved numerous compliments from the jockeys as being one of the best gate crews around. They are the same people who work the gate at Colonial Downs, which is one of the WORST meets to work the gate. The horses are very green (rearing, kicking, flipping, dropping riders) due to lack of training, and the crew always manages to get them in. These guys know what they are doing.
A three year old is hardly a "baby" anymore on the backside. Most of them are already running and experienced in the gate.
Rock Hard Ten was being common. It's one thing to be nervous about going in, but to pin your ears and fire out? An ear twitch isn't going to kill or even remotely injure the horse, but a kick from the horse could very well seriously hurt one of the guys.
And yes, they did put it over his gum. 99% of horses are brought over to the paddock with it over their gum. It helps to calm them down and works very well.
I see nothing wrong with the way that horse was handled. And, with the common behavior and COMPLETE lack of class that he showed, found nothing endearing or likable about him.
I highly doubt Rock Hard Ten was phased by anything they did.
Twitching his ear and the lip chain were not the first efforts, but the last ditch attempt once the horse started acting downright dangerous. What would you rather? The horse kick someone (double barreled at that), flip over on the rider, or be restrained in a manner that I agree did not phase that beast one bit? He was not showing fear but being defiant. Green nothing, that horse has a gate card which shows that he does know how to load in the gate and knows what it's all about. Big difference.
But I'll disagree that his behavior makes him "common". It just means he was being a turd that day. That twitch probably hurt LESS than the sting of a whip used to make a horse move forward.
You come kicking at me or showing other aggressive behavior when I'm trying to get something necessary accomplished and you can bet I'll resort to physical restraints as well before the horse #1 seriously injures himself, or #2 seriously injures me.
The horse is far from common unlike the gate people......let me put a chain on their gums and twitch their ear and tell me it doesn't hurt. The easiest way to load a horse is use a lunge line around the butt, but you see gate people do not have that kind of forthought, they would rather link arms and push...........
Spirit horse, you ought to read a very good article in the February Mid-Atlantic TB about the gate guys. It is one tough job. It is well-known that the most dangerous place on the the racetrack is in that gate.
Keep in mind, too, that they are under enormous pressure to load horses quickly and efficiently to maintain the simulcast schedule (this is for every day, not just the Preakness). The time to school a horse in the gate is in the morning, not post time. It's the trainer's responsibility to send the horse up for gate work in the morning to make sure he's comfortable under a multitude of situations--not just to get his gate card.
That said, the morning is a whole lot quieter than the afternoon. And in the mornings the gate is in the chute on the backstretch, not on the homestretch with a horde of screaming, drunken fans. Any horse could get undone by that, but it's unfair to ask all the other horses to stand and wait (and potentially act up) while one horse takes his time deciding whether or not he's going to participate that day.
Don't fault the gatemen. They really do a fabulous job.
If anyone wants a copy of the article, PT me and I'll be happy to mail it to you.
Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.
I agree 99.9% with your judgement - common mother that one. Big and tough. Yep, young. Yep, inexperienced. But a baby? No way. The folks that say those sorts of things don't have backside experience, which is fine, but DO NOT JUDGE a sport that you don't know inside and out.
My only .1% disagreement is that '99% of horses come to the paddock with the chain over the gum.' Uh-uh. 99% come to teh paddock with the chain over the NOSE. Not the gum. Very few come in with it over the gum. they don't like to move with it there (that's why it works so well for the farrier etc. to put the chain over the gum.) I've seen (and saddled) plenty with the chain over the gum, but not a large percentage.
But you're sooo right. The horse was being bad. They quickly caught it, put the sucker in the gate and off they went. Hated to see the others 'punished' by having to stand around waiting for him.
But, gawd, he is a lovely sucker. Wow.