discussion of the physicality of the racehorse could be any more
important than the pre-race warm-up and the post-race warm-down.
Horses should canter or slowly gallop at least 4 furlongs (half mile)
before strenuous exercise of any kind to include a race.
getting too technical, pre-race exercise stimulates the cardiovascular
system of the horse, slowly stretches his muscles and mentally sharpens
his attitude. Should he be sore in anyway, these 8 to 10 minutes offer
the jockey a “failsafe” for early detection that saves
injury to himself, his mount and to all others in the race. If his
mount isn’t racing “sound”, he’ll be scratched (or should be) a couple
of minutes before loading.
a 4 to 6 furlong pre-race canter greatly reduces the possibility
of injury during the race itself, while at the same time offering
the horse every chance to win. It should be “standard fare” for every
runner before a race, but it isn’t! Horses only walked
and/or slow trotted before a race are either being silently
“stiffed” for any number of reasons, or they’re infirm and attempting
to get past the track vet before the actual start of the race in hopes
of being claimed away. But whatever the reason for the lack of pre-race
exercise, the outcome is usually the same.
who fail to lightly extend themselves in the pre-race exercise period
with a solid warm-up, rarely extend themselves to their fullest during
the actual running of the race!
pre-race cantering for 4 furlongs will take a horse no more than 3 minutes.
Since the allotted warm-up periods are normally 10 minutes (weather
permitting), not only is there more than enough time to go 4 furlongs,
a jockey can go 6 furlongs or more and still get back to the starting
gate with plenty of time to spare.
matters little where the actual minimum of 4 furlongs
of pre-race cantering begins and ends. Some horses like to slow trot
for a furlong or two before cantering. Others will break into a light
gallop right in front of the grandstand immediately following the post
parade. Just as long as they get a minimum of
4 furlongs, they are acceptable at the mutuel windows if
all else about them is very correct.
less than the minimum of 4 furlongs of pre-race cantering
is a “pass” from a betting standpoint. Sure, you’ll miss out on a few
winners every now and then, but in the long run, the overall health
of your betting bankroll will be intact and your longevity in the game
watching pre-race warm-ups for over 40 years, I can assure you
that horses who properly warm-up before a race win countless
more races than those who are UNDEREXERCISED
before the gates fly open-----------------------------it’s really
the other side of the pre-race warm-up, there is a crucial 3 or
4 minutes immediately after a race known as the
post-race inspection that can enrich you in the immediate
first thing to look for is an “out well”. There are horses
who continue to be ridden for a furlong or more past the finish line
even though the race is over. This extra conditioning is actually
a “workout” within the race itself. These out wells are
being “set up” for a race in the immediate future if not
the very next one.
you might only see 1 or 2 a week, mark them down. You won’t see
a more meaningful nor more positive example of purposeful trainer intent.
normal post-race warm-down at the conclusion of a race
is a slow canter to the backstretch with a turnaround at the 5/8 or
9/16 pole (mile track). The runner is then slowly cantered back for
unsaddling. If there are no major post-race negative observations,
the horse is said to come out of his race in “good order”.
less than this proper gallop-out would be considered a
bad pull-up of some kind, with the most extreme being
eased before the wire.
2nd worst pull-up is the quick pull-up! This
is where instead of slowly cantering to the backside, being turned and
then slowly cantered back for untacking, the quick pull-up
is at a dead stop within 100 yards past
the finish line. The poor pull-up is the 3rd
worst only because he gallops out a tad further to 150 yards.
A bad pull-up is the 4th worst and where
the horse is galloped out far enough to the backstretch before being
turned, but instead of cantering back, they walk or trot very
slowly to the unsaddling area.
you are on track, try to get a look at any questionable pull-up taking
note of puffed ankles, pronounced limping, severe cuts etc. It will
save you many a bad bet in the immediate
future. And a saved bet is the same as cashing on an even money winner!
are also positive gems for use in next-out starts in addition
to out wells.
horses come out of their last race in good order for a couple of reasons.
Perhaps they weren’t allowed to run their “normal” race and were blocked,
steadied, pocketed, checked or somehow otherwise hampered from running
to their fullest potential. Most trainers will run “trouble” horses
right back and usually within 14 days while they are still good and
reason a runner comes out of a race in “good order” is that he might
have only been one race away from peak condition and today’s race served
as the final tightener for next out. A perfect
example of this would be a prior Graded winner returning off an extended
layoff in a classified allowance race. The trainer is merely using
the allowance race to bring the horse to top readiness for an upcoming
or very easy “trips” also produce many horses who return in “good order”.
This is true regardless of where the favorable trip horse finishes.
If he ran with the bias on favorable paths, the effort most likely took
nothing out of him and he should come out
of the race in “good order”.
you can see, watching post-race activities can pay huge dividends by
saving you bad bets next out while offering you positive future investments.
is, if you are willing to do the gruntwork! Good hunting!
WEEK-----Profiting From Physicality Knowledge.