Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Closer and Closer, Step by Step

When you start getting close to racing, the excitement starts to get palpable. I'm not just talking about race day, but right now. As of right now, three of our four connected runners are possibly within two weeks of starting their new years. This is when you want to skip the next day so you can find out if that next work is the one that's going to put the horse on that sharp edge, ready to fire.

I admittedly get inpatient at this time. Speaking with Bernell the other day, he mentioned that Fiz was almost there but could probably use one more work. Some folks start their horses once to get that edge. Kind of a 'public workout' if you will. I'm not a big proponent of that for several reasons: it's not really fair to the public; it's not particularly fair to the partners; and it's not fair to the horse itself.

How is the betting public to know that your horse isn't quite ready? These folks are really the lifeblood of our industry. It's the wagering that fuels this engine. Taking dead money from them is no way to run a railroad in my opinion. I respect them and I'd like to think when they see the 'Halo G' on the jock's back, they know they're backing a horse who is out there to fire.

As far as my partners go, they trust that each time out our horses are going to have a shot at winning the purse. Now, we may sometimes get ambitious when we're moving a horse up the ladder, but we're in each race to win it. I don't want to waste a valuable start - and waste their money - to get a horse ready. We've hired an expert horseman to do that in the morning. I trust him to get that job done.

Finally, the horse itself. I'm of the opinion that a horse can get used to losing. If you run him for a sharpener with no real intention of winning, by definition he loses, right? Maybe that's comforting for him. Maybe he gets used to 'exercising' in the afternoon. I think that a horse that gets beat too often loses the will to win. Why set him up for a loss that may be the one that finally makes him hang his head and think "I can't do this."?

In any event, we're almost there. Even Missy seems to be doing better and hopefully is only about 10-days away from going back to the track. Closer and closer we get.

This time of year, two weeks feels like an eternity.


Frank said...

Keep on keepin' on, Ted. We'll keep our fingers crossed!

Steve Zorn said...

Good luck with the new horses, Ted. We've got a couple of our own who are only weeks away from a start. It's certainly an exciting feeling!