Joe Takach

Article Library





If the jockey fails to offer at least a 4 furlong pre-race warm-up to get all the oxygen-delivering red blood cells out of a runner’s spleen, a horse will very rarely run back to his best number in which he did get a proper pre-race warm-up.

And yes, a handful horses do win races every day while “walked” or only “slow-trotted” in the pre-race period all across America, but the overwhelming vast majority of winners at major racetracks receive at least 4 furlongs of cantering and hopefully more.

As you get further and further down the class hierarchy on any racing circuit, more and more horses get less and less of a pre-race warm-up for many reasons. 

For instance, in the lower claiming ranks a cagey trainer has his “problematic claiming horse” literally “walked” in the 10 minute pre-race so that the track vet can’t see the problem and scratch him----this slick trainer is trying to dump his “damaged goods” on some other unknowing conditioner who might jump into the claim box and purchase his nightmare.

Another reason might be that a “betting” stable doesn’t want to take 4-5 at the mutuel windows and tells their stable jockey NOT to warm up the horse. 

There is nothing illegal about this type of a stiff.   If there were, half the trainers and jockeys in America would be on suspension at any given time. 

I could go on and on with other excuses as to why a horse wasn’t properly warmed up before a race, but that isn’t within the scope of this writing.

What is within the scope is that a non-warm-up DOES NOTHING to help any horses’ chances in any race------period!

If you for one minute doubt this, ask any veterinarian about red blood cells and oxygen delivery.  And if you can find a single vet who tells you that proper oxygen delivery isn’t necessary for exacting performances, I’ll show you a bonifide and blatant liar and someone who should have his license lifted!

So should your selection fail to run to his best number even though passing your most stringent paddock inspection, if he didn’t warm-up properly in the pre-race, he couldn’t accomplish what he accomplished in the past.

It’s really a no-brainer!


Horses who are fractious in the paddock are wasting precious energy that will be needed for the upcoming race. 

By fractious, I mean acting like a “nut” for any number of reasons while requiring his groom and/or trainer to take a very strong hold off the lead chain or perhaps employ 2 lead chains and 2 grooms   

Obviously this horse would rather be someplace else, like the solace of his stall.

He simply doesn’t want to get involved in this “racing” thing this afternoon-------period!  His constant wheeling and/or rearing up and never-ending battle with his groom attests to his unwillingness to run, let alone actually compete.

Under these circumstances, how could you expect your “number” horse to perform to his maximum? 

If he’s fractious, he most likely left half of his race in the paddock!

His excellent “backpaper” in the Racing Form suddenly becomes totally meaningless!

He’ll finish his race somewhere down the backstretch and you can count on it!


I hate this one!

Sometimes you don’t really know of a horse’s unwillingness to participate until it is too late and you can’t cancel your ticket in time no matter how fast you run back to the windows or ATMs.

My knees buckle and my heart sinks every single time I see my selection forcibly loaded into the starting gate by 4 or more assistant starters UNLESS the horse in question has a past history of same and wins nonetheless. 

In Southern California, I can count those aberrations on 1 hand.

If he’s forcibly loaded, he won’t replicate the past and you can make book on that!

PART 3-----next week!


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