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Lead changes while racing...???

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  • Lead changes while racing...???

    I need some education here. What determines the lead changes during a race? When do they change from left to right and vice versa, and why the changes? (This coming from one who does hunters, so forgive my cluelessness) Watching youtube races of my OTTB I noticed them finish on the "outside" lead, which prompted the question. Thanks!
    Little Star Chihuahua Rescue
    The Barkalicious Bakery
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  • #2
    OK let me see if I can find the old thread....


    BTw little educational note:

    Advanced Search on threads, not posts, Racing Forum key word "Lead Changes"

    "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries


    • #3
      In addition to the info in the link Xctrygirl provided: horses are asked to switch leads often during a race because it's tiring to run on one lead continuously. You'll often see a horse switch leads in the stretch and get an extra burst of energy/speed when they switch off their tired leg and onto their fresher one.


      • Original Poster

        Thanks for this info! I have a young OTTB who prefers right lead over left (has a hard time getting left) and just wondered from there what the pattern is during racing.
        Little Star Chihuahua Rescue
        The Barkalicious Bakery
        On Facebook!!!


        • #5
          FL Derby Replay

          Note the awkward-looking gallop of Shackleford while running on the "wrong" (right) lead still very much in the turn before top the stretch:
          (after the race, they show a close-up slo-mo of it)

          I wonder if the race might have turned out differently if he'd been on his left lead in that turn, and switched to his right in the straightaway.


          • #6
            A horse that won't switch when they should (in or out of a turn) is one that should be looked at closely for a physical reason. Some have to be almost knocked over to switch their leads too.


            • #7
              And as Laurie said, and I agree.. if a racehorse on the track doesn't want to switch, I don't make them.

              There could be a current stiffness, sprain or injury zone. Or they could be remembering a previous injury or the like.

              Also do not forget that even though we train these guys, they may not always want to agree with the prescribed "right answer" to our requests.

              Stubborn is not solely relegated to mules and people. Horses get pissy about changes, especially when over schooled or with tense riders.

              "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries


              • #8
                Originally posted by jengersnap View Post
                A horse that won't switch when they should (in or out of a turn) is one that should be looked at closely for a physical reason. Some have to be almost knocked over to switch their leads too.

                Agree completely with this. The little two year old that we bought last fall before the end of the Fort Erie meet would not switch leads coming down the stretch.

                Upon further investigation, it was discovered that his back was so out of whack that it was a wonder he could run at all. Trainer said that after the horse's very first chiro adjustment you could see the difference in his way of going.
                What you allow is what will continue.


                • #9
                  Some horses switch multiple times in the straight-aways when they are sore too. Another thing to watch for in replays.
                  I have some horses that are tough to switch for galloping but are automatic during a race. Then, I have one (that I play with on the flat because he will stay with me when he retires) that is very, very easy to get changes on. He is built very uphill and is very balanced as well. They come very easy for him.
                  RIP Spider Murphy 4/20/02 - 10/31/10


                  • #10
                    IIRC, Alydar wouldn't switch leads. The Triple Crown may have been his if he had.