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Gate crew - tell me about them & the job.

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  • Gate crew - tell me about them & the job.

    Gate crew - tell me about them & the job, please

    For starters, it seems like they are all male. Do I have that right? I guess they get paid by the race track? Do they get benefits? Do they get paid well? What are the requirements and resume they want to see for the position? I guess you apply through the race track? Do they advertise the position? I'm sure they get hurt sometimes but have there been deaths?

    Oh, at some tracks the gate crew have helmets & safety vests. At other tracks, not they don't. I guess that is dictated by the track but could they still do it or they have to conform to the track requirements.

    No, I'm not looking into doing it, just wondering.

    Bless these hard working folks and wishing them all safe loads.

    Tx.

  • #2
    I have never met a female member, however, that doesnt mean that they don't exist. Yes, they get paid by the track, and most of them are part of a union. They get health care, not sure about retirement but I believe so. I'm sure the pay varies from place to place, here in Md they were making about $100 per day a few years ago.

    The gate can be a dangerous place...I've known guys that have had the tips of their fingers bitten off, fractures and broken bones. But they will risk their lives to keep riders safe. Usually they employ people by word of mouth. If their is an opening usually a groom or excersise rider is in line to train in the morning and learn how things operate. The ability to know how to handle a horse is imperative!

    They also school horses in the morning on gate days, and then work afternoons...makes for a long day.

    As far as vests and helmets go, it depends on the track.

    Comment


    • #3
      NYRA had a female crew member this past year, but I don't know if she's still active. As far as deaths, Leon Reed was killed a few years ago at Finger Lakes. I think he was double-barrelled during the loading process.

      Comment


      • #4
        A guy at Penn fell off the gate as they were moving it after the horses broke and it ran him over and killed him. They make them walk now.
        McDowell Racing Stables

        Home Away From Home

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks all. WOW - not an easy job.

          Keep it coming, though. More responses welcome/appreciated, of course.

          Comment


          • #6
            You may enjoy this
            Gate Crew Video

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Really neat, Jengersnap. Thanks.

              OK, so this little ledge they stand on is about how many inches wide? :0

              Comment


              • #8
                Maybe six... I do remember the guy at Penn, that was horrible. Once there was a short in the gate at Laurel, someone got zapped and lived, if I remember correctly the horse did not make it.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Six inches . . . Eeek, they'd better be real careful when it's wet/muddy out and their shoes are slippery. Do those ledges have any traction/grippy surfaces on them? Do the loaders ever slip off, into the gate stall and the horse squishes them against the wall? (Probably, I guess.)

                  How do the loaders in the gate handle it when the horse rears and gets psycho & all? Of course, I've seen it on television but they don't show you close up enough so you can see how they handle it.

                  And when you see the jockey jumping out the back of the gate after the horse has been rearing, how is it they do that? Dismount, get on ledge and hop out the back?

                  Tx again.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Acertainsmile View Post
                    Maybe six... I do remember the guy at Penn, that was horrible. Once there was a short in the gate at Laurel, someone got zapped and lived, if I remember correctly the horse did not make it.
                    That was Clayton Beck that got zapped. I think part of the settlement was that he always have a job with MD racing.

                    I know he was writing the book at CNL a few years ago, don't know what he is up to now
                    Originally posted by The Saddle
                    Perhaps I need my flocking adjusted.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Good memory Rust...that had to be about 17 years ago? I guess my memory has failed...I could have sworn that was at Laurel, but just googled and it said it happened at Pimlico.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I really had to redeem myself after the 'rule of thumb' thing!!
                        Originally posted by The Saddle
                        Perhaps I need my flocking adjusted.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sonomacounty View Post
                          Six inches . . . Eeek, they'd better be real careful when it's wet/muddy out and their shoes are slippery. Do those ledges have any traction/grippy surfaces on them? Do the loaders ever slip off, into the gate stall and the horse squishes them against the wall? (Probably, I guess.)
                          Hubby has told the story a few times of a very delicate male anatomy part that got smashed when he was working the gate with a rough horse. The other handler (there were two on this ruffian) complained about getting his fingers smashed. Hubby retorted that it was nothing compared to what the ____ did to him lol

                          As for what you stand on in the gate heres a picture, but once the horse is in the gate the assistant usually straddles the partition while holding the horse.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            My son works on the gate at Finger Lakes and, while he likes the job and is good at it, he, like all the others, has been beat up pretty routinely over the years. When a horse acts up in the gate, the assistant starter is going to take some blows. The worst he's had so far is a broken finger which required surgery. I've never inquired about his pay but he does get health insurance for his family. He is emloyed by Delaware North, the company that owns the racetrack and casino,.

                            He was with the late Leon Reed when Leon was double barrelled in the chest by
                            a filly who didn't want to load. It was a sad, sad day for the entire track "family". It was also a humbling reminder of the dangers inherant in the job.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by sonomacounty View Post
                              Six inches . . . Eeek, they'd better be real careful when it's wet/muddy out and their shoes are slippery. Do those ledges have any traction/grippy surfaces on them? Do the loaders ever slip off, into the gate stall and the horse squishes them against the wall? (Probably, I guess.)

                              How do the loaders in the gate handle it when the horse rears and gets psycho & all? Of course, I've seen it on television but they don't show you close up enough so you can see how they handle it.

                              And when you see the jockey jumping out the back of the gate after the horse has been rearing, how is it they do that? Dismount, get on ledge and hop out the back?


                              Tx again.
                              '

                              The riders will often step off the horses onto the ledge, and then climb out the back if one starts to really act up. There are also times when things happen so fast that the gate crew will actually have to grab the jock of the horse.

                              One of the worst things that can happen in the gate is when a horse flips, if the handler is in the gate they can easily end up underneath the horse.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Wow, I've learned so much from this thread. Thanks guys !

                                I wonder if they have changed how they make gates any to further prevent zapping.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Don't forget, for some rank horses a lot of guys will grab and twist an ear, some use tongs, some will bite them. And some horses require a guy to take a hold on each side. The good ones will also make sure your horse is standing in the middle with his legs squared up underneath him and looking straight.

                                  Sometimes the jock has time to step off, but usually in that case they get right back on. When a horse tries to flip and rears up suddenly it will sometimes just launch the rider out the back of the gates. Usually a member of the gate crew will try to catch said flying jockey, lol. Their main priority is keeping the jockeys safe.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by sonomacounty View Post
                                    Wow, I've learned so much from this thread. Thanks guys !

                                    I wonder if they have changed how they make gates any to further prevent zapping.
                                    That was a complete fluke, I have never heard of it happening anywhere else, thank goodness.
                                    Originally posted by The Saddle
                                    Perhaps I need my flocking adjusted.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      That was a complete fluke, I have never heard of it happening anywhere else,

                                      I'm sure it was. Still, if I were the gate maker, I'd get my QC team on it and/or outside sources ASAP and try to find out why and etc. & even further ways to prevent.

                                      Realize I'm not. not, not hinting at fault, just that I'd examine it every which way and try to put in even more safeguards. Which, I'm sure the company did.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        not to hijack but would anybody who knows about standardbred racing have any insight why my mare is very panicky about going through narrow spaces? She did race. Is it just her personality, or some remnant from the track?

                                        Comment

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