week we said that there were 5 basic types of energy levels and covered
the first 3 in some detail. We’ll complete the picture with 2 more.
energy level or posture of a pacifist isn’t hard to spot, but is often
difficult to interpret. Many of them win races every day. They offer
some signs of readiness, but fail to display a level of aggressiveness
that would indicate a forthcoming top effort.
are more animated than either the walking dead or half-dead, but are
a far cry from the “ready” horse. Many carry themselves
well while walking very correctly with heads elevated. Good color and
correct muscling are not uncommon.
pacifists demonstrate very little willingness or unwillingness to participate
in the goings on. You wish they would show either more characteristics
of losers or winners. At least then you could retain them as contenders,
or toss them out.
are just kind of “there”. Though they will canter or lightly gallop
when asked, many go flatfooted at first
opportunity. Some offer very acceptable pre-race warm-ups and would
be instant bets if they were just more animated and seemed
find that older horses dominate this pacifist classification.
Many have participated in
50, or even more career races. They’ve been down the road so often
that while sometimes willing to race and give their all, they won’t
telegraph it the same manner of a younger more aggressive “ready” horse.
These more experienced troopers just go out and do their jobs day in
and day out. Using energy levels alone don’t always tell
the whole story with pacifists. But when you couple their energy levels
with their other physicality traits (good or bad), betting decisions
usually come easily and without hesitation
initial advice to you with pacifists is to wait
until you see them win under the same conditions with their overall
“physically” looking exactly the same. If they’ve done it in the past,
they can do it again. This is doubly true if their respective field
on any afternoon contains nothing but unready horses who
are either dead on their feet or fractious and wasting precious energy.
the pacifists are the only horses walking well and warming
up properly in the pre-race, they’ll have no difficulty beating lesser
problematic types. Never be hesitant to accept a pacifist as a wager
in a field of losers with no “ready” horse clearly apparent. The
pacifist is usually ready enough to beat nothing!
addition to acceptable muscling, color, tails, ears and correct walking,
“ready” horses have high energy levels.
“ready” horse conducts himself like a winner from the time you first
see him until unsaddled in the winner’s circle. His unmistakable domineering
posture is hard to miss or ignore. There is neither timidness nor trepidation
in his demeanor. He’s ready to roll!
horses can’t wait to get saddles on their backs and sometimes
gently lunge forward in a playful manner when encountering
the first attempt to go under tack. They frequently have a hard time
containing themselves. The operative word here is “gently”.
Gently isn’t forcefully charging forward with
the groom and trainer in tow. Gently isn’t rearing up
or wheeling in an estranged state of rage. Gently is
gently. Gently is controlled. Gently is playful and gently is fully
acceptable from a mutuel standpoint.
playfulness is not an annoyance to his groom or his trainer. Both have
put in a lot of effort to get their animal in top condition and wouldn’t
think of compromising his chances of winning by mistreating him in any
manner. They are fully aware that even the slightest abuse can turn
a totally ready horse into a stone loser! If they can keep him happy
right up until loading, he should perform to expectations.
saddled the ready horse might start to get a bit more aggressive. This
is perfectly normal and a very desirable behavioral trait. It reflects
his heightened awareness that “showtime” can’t be too far away. When
led around the walking ring, the ready horse is often up on his toes
with his head tucked in towards his handler. If really on edge, he’ll
be snorting loudly and intimidating those he hasn’t yet convinced of
his imminent victory.
one of his movements is measured and controlled. There are no erratic
gestures of unwillingness. There is no random waste of energy. There
is no fractiousness. The ready horse is all business.
It’s his race and he knows it!
the riders come out of the jockey’s room, try to grasp their mental
attitudes. If a jockey is on a “live one”, he’ll most likely walk crisply
and directly to his horse. He’s not shooting the bull with the other
riders. He has a planned strategy for the upcoming race. See if he
checks the saddle after shaking the hands of the owners and trainer.
This is a very positive sign!
would he check the saddle you ask? Simply because he intends
to ask his horse for everything and doesn’t want a slipped saddle
to cost him the race. This is a great nuance angle
and one that should be added to your repertoire if not there already.
(We’ll go into much greater detail on the “ready
horse” to include the post parade and pre-race warm-up when we discuss
the “ideal” ready horse a little bit later in this series).
now you should have a good grasp of energy levels and attitudes.
if you are playing via the satellite beam 3000 miles away, energy
levels are impossible to hide as I clearly
demonstrated in my 90 minute physicality video “BEAT THE BEAM”!
levels are great “tells” as to a horse’s disposition to
his upcoming event. If he’s walking flatfooted and lifeless, that’s
the kind of performance that usually follows once the starting gate
on the other hand, he’s “alive” and walking with his head
well over his shoulders, at least you know he’ll be competitive if not