Horse racing, especially thoroughbred horse racing, is a wonderful sport and a glorious pastime. An exciting experience where one can witness the incredible feats of athletic achievement at the track each and every day.
But many casual fans are totally unaware of how the average race horse works. Oh, they know that they eat a lot and poop a lot but other than that, they know very little else about them. Well, let me tell you, thoroughbreds are fascinating creatures! Situs Poker
For Instance, Did You Know?
For one thing, a well-bred race horse weighs about half a ton and the great majority of those body weight compressions are pure muscle. A diminutive Panamanian riding on top of a very small chance of controlling the animal when it first pops out of the gate. The Consider, the Horse (which is a very skittish creature in the best of circumstances) is the first confined to the cramped starting gate. Horses do not touch their flanks (this is their only vulnerable spot – one that predators key on) so a starting gate is not exactly their favorite place to be. Then a loud bell goes off and the front gate pops open. Out they charge, just as fast as they can. The jockeys will actually grab a hunk of horse’s mane rather than risk any sudden sideways movement.
Suddenly, the horse realizes that he is now part of a herd, and instinct takes over. Every horse has its own comfortable position to enjoy. Some need lead herd. They will always go straight to the front. Others hang just off the lead. Like most horses in the middle of the run, this is the safest place to be. And the slow ones bring up the rear. They are slow but they are the cards that have their genes.
So for the first quarter mile of any sprint race (or the first half mile at any race) the jockeys are just letting the horses relax in a position where they are comfortable. They are biding their time, just cruising along, the pedal not being pressed to the metal just yet. But as they approach the far end of the stretch, the horses are beginning to tire and the jockeys now have more control. Where they can now mount their wire to the final run for the best advantage.
Now, handicappers use this knowledge to bet on these races. They assign a running style to each horse in the race (E – Early, P – Presser, S – Sustained, C – Closer). Horses are the lead to the right. A special subcategory of these early horses is the need-to-lead horse. They don’t just want to lead the herd, they cost MUST lead the herd at all costs. If they fail, then as soon as another animal sticks its whiskers in the front, he backs off (akin to a Japanese samurai losing face) and usually finishes dead. It’s the weirdest thing to witness live, but you’ll find it at least once a day.
The leader’s shoulders or heels just hang out. Sustained horses are happy running along the pace, keeping an eye on the leader, but in the middle somewhere. And the Closers are slow early but don’t tire as quickly as they do their best running late when everyone else is exhausted and just looking for a shady place to lie down.
Now some horses can be trained to run another style (but not many). And some horses are tactical runners who can go to the lead if it’s a bit of a speedster wants them or hang back. These tactical ponies usually make great bets because they are always around the lead, keeping out of trouble, yet not needing the lead and so on. But the need-to-lead types are all or nothing. Either they have the speed to make the lead and enough gas to maintain their advantage all the way to the wire, or they die a miserable death.
So my little niece was learning to be the ponies that weren’t really running as fast as they could all the way around (they couldn’t physically). And after the race was over and I explained to her about need-to-lead types, she now understood why her horse ended up. Sure, she was bummed out for about 5 minutes, but then I bought her an ice cream and it was soon forgotten and on to the next race.
Rosemary has been writing articles for 4 years. Check out her latest website.