“color” in a horse is an overall barometer of his health.
coat is a very strong indicator of current condition and his chances
of winning this afternoon. Fortunately for both on- track handicappers
and those at satellite outlets, this physicality handicapping factor
can’t escape a trained eye.
you’re at a satellite outlet and forced to use a TV monitor, peruse
the premises until you find the clearest screen.
Make it the only one that you look at for the rest of
the day unless, of course, you can find more than one sharp and crisp
viewer. Looking at horses over a bad or a fuzzy receiver will make
all horses’ coats appear dull and lifeless).
a thoroughbred’s color is rich and deep while reflecting sunlight,
he’s plenty healthy. If his color is dull and actually
absorbs sunlight, he’s either not feeling his best or
he’s somehow lacking in nutritional make up.
is not to say that dull-coated horses are literally sick, but when you
spy one, be rest assured that he’s far from top condition
and most likely even further from the winner’s circle and your trip
to the mutuel windows to cash a winning ticket.
horses have often have brilliant coats. The sun bouncing
off their heavily muscled bodies nearly blinds you. They are usually
happy and well-adjusted animals who get the best of everything from
their well-planned diets and megavitamins to the TLC (tender loving
care) offered by their attentive grooms.
most major race tracks, winning grooms will pocket 100 bucks or more
if their horse wins. You had better believe that if the stable is “going”
this afternoon and this good looking horse is being “sent”, the groom
will have a tight hold on him and keep him away from other horses whenever
possible. There will be no “shanking” (pulling down hard on the lead
chain by the groom in an effort to control him if too playful) or mistreatment
of any kind. A hundred bucks still goes a long way on the backside
and the groom will do everything in his power to keep his horse calm
and totally interested
the “ready” horse also receives measured amounts of exercise between
races that includes well-spaced morning workouts as well as
long slow gallops to increase stamina. These drills help him to stave
off both boredom and staleness. If he is both mentally and physically
sharp, his coat is most likely radiant! You simply won’t see
too many unmuscled lethargic horses with resplendent coats!
“ready” horses with brilliant coats are also dappled.
As horses come closer to top condition, the color of their coats gets
deeper and deeper. At peak in some horses, small dark oblong circles
or “dapples” are evident. They appear to be under the skin itself.
They travel from the base of the neck (withers) to the hindquarters
(rump). It is a sign of perfect health.
all brilliant coats are dappled nor must they be for you
to accept them for wagering purposes. As long as a horse has good color
and reflects sunlight, he’s acceptable.
where do you learn to separate good coats from bad ones?
best place to start is in bright sunlight in the paddock of your choice.
Even if you normally play at a satellite facility, seeing good color
in person while on track will further help you identify it when quick
5 second glimpses of runners are “beamed” in.
mentioned above, a good coat will reflect sunlight. It is quite easy
to see in any paddock when up to 12 horses are parading in front of
you. Some will have poor color, some will have so-so color and some
will appear to be like fine pieces of furniture with deep and rich color.
you have paint on your car, whenever you get done waxing it, it reflects
sunlight and looks like it just rolled out of the showroom (a horse
with good color). As time goes on and the wax thins due to frequent
washings or sitting out in the direct sunlight for too long every day,
the brilliant color soon begins to fade in degrees. The blinding reflection
of the sun is now muted (a so-so horse). This slow mutating continues
until direct sunlight has no effect on the car’s color and almost swallows
the light (a dull horse with poor color).
you’ve established this basic understanding of good and bad color, transferring
it to satellite monitors will be a snap! Even on cloudy days, horses
with good color will still stand out much like your newly
waxed car would under the same conditions. Good color is
good color and very hard to hide in any degree of light.
you’ve ever played a racing meet at night such as the Meadowlands, Garden
State Park or even special Friday night racing at Hollywood Park, the
flood lamps substitute nicely for the sun. If a horse has great color,
the white beam from the flood light is quickly reflected back to its
source. If a horse has bad color, the light almost gets absorbed in
their coats like the sun would on a dirty automobile.
you see a few horses with bad color and/or ragged coats and notice how
poorly they perform, you’ll begin to appreciate the importance
of good color.
a horse’s color is not up to snuff, he’ll probably have other readily
recognizable negative characteristics such as a flat tail, zero energy,
poor muscling, flopped over ears, leg problems etc. Colorless coats
often encase the totally negative package that suggests a need for extended
color on the other hand, always implies good health and you don’t have
to be Einstein to know that healthy horses win more races than unhealthy
week we’ll take a look at energy levels in the thoroughbred
and how they can translate into more winners and fewer losers at the