November 2014 - January 2015 - issue 34
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The horseracing industry is battling for its life, and the key point of contention is medication—not just a push for uniform medication rules, but a movement to eliminate all race-day drugs. Two years after the Breeders' Cup banned anti-bleeding medication for its juvenile races, Gulfstream Park in Florida has announced its intention to offer Lasix-free races for 2015, and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is considering doing the same for its tracks. North America is the only region of the world that allows race-day medication.
Craig Anthony Lewis is a racetrack lifer. And at 67, if genealogy and longevity mean anything, he still has a long way to go as a trainer. His father, Seymour, is 92. His mother, Norma, is 90. They still live together in Seal Beach, California.
Timing is everything. Nowhere is this more relevant than when preparing an elite equine athlete for a race. Thoroughbred trainers are critically aware of the importance of fine-tuning the feeding and exercise regimes of their charges in the months, weeks and days before a big event. Timing is also critical for the smooth functioning of a horse’s musculoskeletal system for optimal performance.
Sean McCarthy is a rarity among trainers. He speaks in complete sentences. Here’s what he said in a post-race interview after the biggest win of his career, Majestic Harbor’s 6 1/4-length upset at 14-1 in the Grade I Gold Cup at Santa Anita on June 28...
If backstretch workers encounter conditions they can’t tolerate, they have an option of walking away. Horses don’t have that luxury. Whether a racetrack’s backstretch is horse-friendly or grossly indifferent, the horse remains. He relies on his trainer and his trainer’s staff to act in his best interest.
Plot: An ambitious two-pronged plan is hatched by some guys in Hong Kong, to take a local horse from Sha Tin Racecourse to the United States with the aim of winning the Breeders’ Cup Sprint on dirt in early November. First, though, they'll prep in a Grade 1 race on dirt at Santa Anita in California in early October as a practice run for the main event.
Tongue-ties (strips of material passed through the horse's mouth over the tongue and tied under the jaw) have been used for generations on racehorses worldwide as a method for the rider to retain control if his horse is prone to manoeuvering it's tongue over the bit. The use and efficacy of tongue-ties has spawned much debate and the Equine Veterinary Journal published reports in 2009 and 2013 evaluating use on racing performance and airway stability in thoroughbred racehorses.
When a horse runs badly, after lameness and respiratory disease have been ruled out, the heart is usually the next suspect. A new study, published in the Equine Veterinary Journal, provides significant insights into cardiac rhythm abnormalities that can develop during and after racing in standardbreds.