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Old 07-09-2013, 03:51 AM   #1
Stillriledup
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Ask a Trainer.

I don't want to volunteer Cannon Shell or Chad or any other actual trainer/former trainer who posts here to answer questions, but if they want to, i think we would all appreciate it if they could chime in. Just questions you would love to ask a trainer to help your handicapping, i've always believed that if you can think like a horseman, it will be an immense help to your handicapping and horsebetting.

The one thing i would like to ask and discuss is the idea that horses are much more fragile than they were back in the day. Since many or almost all of my wagers are from video replay analysis, i've found the tightrope i'm walking has to do with horses who run TOO big, look TOO good on tape and they just can't duplicate that performance when i bet them back and i end up losing money on a horse who looked fantastic on tape and yet, that horse didnt look fantastic in his or her next start with little or no warning.

Its certainly up to the trainer to make sure that the horse has adequate rest to come back for a top effort the next time, but that just isnt very practical to wait around forever, so a lot of connections will run back too soon. Its my job to sniff out the ones who had a 'hard' effort and stay away from them if they're back too soon even if their tape looks sensational. Certainly a fine line. I've missed winners who i thought were 'over the top' but they had one more big race in them.


One of the questions would be how the modern thoroughbred reacts after a race, does the horse in 2013 seem more 'drained' in the hours after his race than the tbred of 20 years ago and what is the recovery process like for the modern runner (in the hours and days directly after a race) and does it differ in any way from what happened a couple decades ago ?
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:44 AM   #2
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great question. Generally I don't see any difference with how horses are after a race now than they were twenty years ago. It also appears horses are ran less frequently now days than just twenty years ago. It was very common to see cheaper claimers running every ten to twelve days when I trained in the eighties and nineties. not so much now days from what I see. One thing from being on this board that I see that is in sharp contrast to twenty to thirty years ago is the number of positives for illegal meds. much higher now days. I'm not sure why that is but it must be one of two things. more/better drugs available now, or horsemen aren't as good with the horses now and the drugs are a tool for success. I don't want to believe the latter but today in this country we have become the kings of shortcuts. everybody wants it done faster, easier and with less thinking. So I guess it's a definite possibility. One thing I do see is that there is so much more available in the form of therapies, drugs, etc. just as in the human medical field. When I trained adequan had just came out. originally it had to be injected into the joint. then a couple years later they discovered it worked just as well injected IM. Now it's being used as a regular therapy on a daily basis. When I trained I did research and development for 3M corporation. Two guys at 3M and myself did all the R&D on the equisport bandage. The first bandage they brought me to try was so strong you could have pull started your truck with it. too strong for horse applications. This succeeded the vet wrap they had on the market at the time. We also did a ton of research on cold water wraps. Probably tested ten different ones but I think only one ever made the market. They had some pretty cool stuff they never marketed. I'd love to answer any questions the best I can.
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Old 07-09-2013, 10:05 AM   #3
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i am in the middle of trying to bring back a horse that was a complete mess. i had 2 different vets look at the horse and they told me that there is a torn muscle in between the horse's left front shoulder and chest. they both said there was nothing i could do about it. we went to work on the horse and found that the right rear end was out of line. we worked on the horse for 3 weeks and got her to release her tension. before we worked on her, the horse was so tangled up that she couldn't change leads. she is changing her lead right now, but her left front shoulder is still sore. we are going to try working on her muscle, if that doesn't work we are going to come up with the conclusion that she might have a hairline fracture and will need time off to heal. in today's world, that shoulder would either get tapped of get shock wave therapy. i never take that route.
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Old 07-09-2013, 10:25 AM   #4
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A lot of times if a horse is showing shoulder, it's coming from the foot.....sometimes from opposite side rear end, but mostly feet.
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Old 07-09-2013, 11:26 AM   #5
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Whatever your opinion of steroids, it was a whole lot easier to bring a cheap one back over and over and do so quickly if you could pop it with a little Equipoise or Winstrol after a race. I never was much for it, but if you were claiming horses off of certain people and planned on actually running them after the claim, you almost had to be somewhat willing to meet the horse half way and not force him into competitive detox.

Of course, it's only been, what, five years since most places snuffed out overuse? So, as far as the 20 years ago question... I think that's probably a little different question and not sure that I think that horses were necessarily more consistent then when running more often. Maybe, but not sure. I tend to think the desire to not be inconsistent (aka keep that % up) is part of what drives the fewer starts for cheap horses since that era.
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Old 07-09-2013, 03:06 PM   #6
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trainer question:

How often does it happen that a trainer is not trying to win (I don't mean those situations where the trainer instructs the jock not to push but if the horse wants to run, let him go. I mean specific instructions to the jock not to win this time.) Perhaps he is pointing for another race or some other circumstance that necessitates just a workout today. Is there a way for a handicapper to spot this trainer's intention? Obviously horses win first time at a particular distance, first time at a certain class, first time off a particular length layoff etc. You can't just look to those factors and say the trainer is not entered to win today simply because the horse has never won with those factors. Are there any tell-tale signs to look for?
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Old 07-09-2013, 03:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpren37
trainer question:

How often does it happen that a trainer is not trying to win (I don't mean those situations where the trainer instructs the jock not to push but if the horse wants to run, let him go. I mean specific instructions to the jock not to win this time.) Perhaps he is pointing for another race or some other circumstance that necessitates just a workout today. Is there a way for a handicapper to spot this trainer's intention? Obviously horses win first time at a particular distance, first time at a certain class, first time off a particular length layoff etc. You can't just look to those factors and say the trainer is not entered to win today simply because the horse has never won with those factors. Are there any tell-tale signs to look for?
why would a trainer want his horse not to try? that would only give the horse a bad habit that will be very tough to break.

if a trainer would try to get a favorite beat to try to win a bet, the stewards will call him in and he will have some major problems.
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Old 07-09-2013, 03:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpren37
trainer question:

How often does it happen that a trainer is not trying to win (I don't mean those situations where the trainer instructs the jock not to push but if the horse wants to run, let him go. I mean specific instructions to the jock not to win this time.) Perhaps he is pointing for another race or some other circumstance that necessitates just a workout today. Is there a way for a handicapper to spot this trainer's intention? Obviously horses win first time at a particular distance, first time at a certain class, first time off a particular length layoff etc. You can't just look to those factors and say the trainer is not entered to win today simply because the horse has never won with those factors. Are there any tell-tale signs to look for?
The only accurate tell-tale sign I've ever discovered that a horse might not be in the race to win but might instead be pointed to some future race...is when the horse is leading by open lengths turning for home, but its rider looks as if he has been afflicted by rigor mortis...while all the other jockeys are giving their mounts at least a vigorous hand-ride.
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Old 07-09-2013, 05:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpren37
trainer question:

How often does it happen that a trainer is not trying to win (I don't mean those situations where the trainer instructs the jock not to push but if the horse wants to run, let him go. I mean specific instructions to the jock not to win this time.) Perhaps he is pointing for another race or some other circumstance that necessitates just a workout today. Is there a way for a handicapper to spot this trainer's intention? Obviously horses win first time at a particular distance, first time at a certain class, first time off a particular length layoff etc. You can't just look to those factors and say the trainer is not entered to win today simply because the horse has never won with those factors. Are there any tell-tale signs to look for?
Very rarely will a trainer instruct a jockey not to win. That doesn't mean that every starter is well meant. In the past more than now trainers used to race their horses into shape often giving them a race or two. Charlie Whittingham rarely won with 1st timers for instance. With win % meaning so much more now than in the past a lot of guys wont give them one off of a layoff or 1st time.

I actually had a horse in an allowance race at Turfway once off of a long layoff that I thought was a little short and I was getting a race under his belt for Keeneland. He was not a KY bred so I did NOT want to win the TP race being that 1/2 of the purse was KY bred money. So I instructed the jock to take the horse back, stay on the rail and don't really let him run until the 1/8th pole and gallop out strong after the race. Of course the three favorites duel on the front end, the entire field gets out on the final turn and the jock who is trying to get the horse in trouble, can't and wins the race under a double hold. First time I apologized to an owner after winning a race.
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Old 07-09-2013, 05:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lamboguy
why would a trainer want his horse not to try?
Planning an upset in his next race?
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Old 07-09-2013, 05:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cannon shell
I actually had a horse in an allowance race at Turfway once off of a long layoff that I thought was a little short and I was getting a race under his belt for Keeneland. He was not a KY bred so I did NOT want to win the TP race being that 1/2 of the purse was KY bred money. So I instructed the jock to take the horse back, stay on the rail and don't really let him run until the 1/8th pole and gallop out strong after the race. Of course the three favorites duel on the front end, the entire field gets out on the final turn and the jock who is trying to get the horse in trouble, can't and wins the race under a double hold. First time I apologized to an owner after winning a race.
Great story.

This thread has serious potential for good information or at least good stories. More please!
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Old 07-09-2013, 05:42 PM   #12
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there was a horse today in the 3rd race at Parx, the #1 TANGO ON, Angel Aroyo rode the horse the very last race. he usually rides first call for trainer Steve Klesaris. he had worked 3 different horses in the race and wound up on another horse. one might think that he chose the other horse. but what i found out was the owner of TANGO ON was not pleased with the ride he got from the rider and wanted a different guy on the horse.
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thaskalos
The only accurate tell-tale sign I've ever discovered that a horse might not be in the race to win but might instead be pointed to some future race...is when the horse is leading by open lengths turning for home, but its rider looks as if he has been afflicted by rigor mortis...while all the other jockeys are giving their mounts at least a vigorous hand-ride.
This is way funny.......
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:24 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lamboguy
why would a trainer want his horse not to try?.
It's not an issue of trying. Do you run horses knowing it just so green that's it's not going to do well? It just doesn't have enough experience handling all the noise and the obstacles, such as shadows and rails. And you know it doesn't have a chance? But the crowd bets it down anyway for whatever reason? And you think-- the crowds is crazy?
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Old 07-09-2013, 09:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lamboguy
i am in the middle of trying to bring back a horse that was a complete mess. i had 2 different vets look at the horse and they told me that there is a torn muscle in between the horse's left front shoulder and chest. they both said there was nothing i could do about it. we went to work on the horse and found that the right rear end was out of line. we worked on the horse for 3 weeks and got her to release her tension. before we worked on her, the horse was so tangled up that she couldn't change leads. she is changing her lead right now, but her left front shoulder is still sore. we are going to try working on her muscle, if that doesn't work we are going to come up with the conclusion that she might have a hairline fracture and will need time off to heal. in today's world, that shoulder would either get tapped of get shock wave therapy. i never take that route.
the best thing I ever used for soft tissue issues such as yours is therapeutic ultrasound. I rented machines from a medical supply/rental shop. it was staggering how fast and how well they healed up using it.
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