Horse Racing Syndicates Prepare 2 Year-Olds For Race Day
Getting a thoroughbred to the races whether it’s after a sale, or straight in from the farm is never an easy task. Every thoroughbred horse racing syndicate’s trainer has a different approach to getting a horse ready for his or her first race.
At Blinkers On Racing Stable, we purchase race horses for sale from 2 year old in training auctions. These sales take place in the Spring, from March through June. Depending on when the thoroughbred is purchased can determines when the horse will be ready to run. Each horse is an individual and depending on when they come out of the sale helps us determine when they are ready to resume training. But as a rule of thumb we like to give our horses at least 30 days of rest on the farm immediately after the sale. Race horses for sale at 2 year old in training auctions are pushed on to run fast in the under tack shows in order bring more money in the auction ring, this along with the hectic sales environment can leave many horses very stressed and tired both mentally and physically. Most horse racing partnerships like to just go on training their horses after the sales, but at Blinkers On Racing Stable, we like to let our horses recover both physically and mentally from the very taxing sales environment.
After the sale, our horses are shipped to a farm in Southern California where they will rest for 30 days and just be a horse. After the necessary time is given to each individual horse they will begin light training at the farm which starts with a few days of tack walking, then 2 to 3 weeks of jogging and then another 2 to 3 weeks of galloping. At this point the thoroughbred horse racing syndicate’s trainer will evaluate the horse’s fitness and progress at the farm, and if he and the owners agree, the horse will be brought to the trainer’s barn at the race track to continue training.
Once a horse is brought to the race track each trainer has a different set of guidelines of how they prepare 2 year olds for their first race. Typically, a Blinkers On trained horse will continue galloping about 2 miles per day for about 2 weeks after coming into the track. At that point if the trainer is satisfied with the fitness of the horse, he will plan to breeze the horse 2 to 3 furlongs for his or her first breeze. This first breeze is typically used as more of a learning experience as well as finding out how fit the horse actually is. More times than not, the horse will breeze nice and easy finishing with an average time and will be relatively tired. This is normal for a horse’s first 3/8ths breeze as they have not been asked to run since the sale almost 2 ½ months ago.
From this point forward the horse will typically be on a 6 to 7 day breeze schedule while galloping each day in between usually with one day off. During the days of galloping the horse from time to time will be walked through the starting gate in order to get comfortable with that environment. They will be walked through and even held inside the gate just to get them use to what it’s like so they will be more comfortable come race day. After the first 3 furlongs, depending on the fitness of the horse he or she will breeze one or two more times at 3 furlongs and then begin breezing a half mile at least 2 to 3 times in consecutive weeks. At this point in the training process the horse racing partnership and trainer will have a good idea of the horse’s fitness and ability. Furthermore, the learning process will have continued during this time where the horse will breeze in company in order to learn to run with other horses. In doing so, they will be strategically placed behind other horses at times to get them use to getting dirt in their face, as well as on the lead. One of the most beneficial training exercises is learning how to start from behind another horse and pass on both the inside and the outside. At this point the horse should be pretty fit and ready for a gate work.
Before a horse can be entered in a race they must earn what is called a “gate card”. A gate card is given when a horse shows they can safely and successfully break from a starting gate. This is usually done with other horses in the gate to simulate a race environment and can also be part of a regular breeze, which will be recorded as a gate breeze (gate breezes are usually one second slower than a normal breeze). Once the horse has earned their gate card and has breezed at least 5 furlongs and possibly a 6 furlong breeze they will be ready for their first race.
Preparing a two year for old for the races is one of the most exciting times in horse racing. The anticipation of the horse’s potential as well as the process of evaluating the horse’s progress and watching them grow and mature is second to none. When you are part of a horse racing syndicate and you have watched your horse mature from the time of the sale into a race ready thoroughbred and see him or her cross the finish line first, your heart stops and the feeling is like nothing you have ever experienced, and you realize this is why we love the game.
Blinkers On Racing Stable, a leader in thoroughbred horse racing partnerships, brings together the finest in thoroughbred horse racing expertise with the best in business know-how, and above all, a team of people you can trust, to manage your investment. We are committed to helping you experience the joys of thoroughbred horse ownership. For more information on thoroughbred partnerships visit our website or request an information package about our partnership. Keep up with horse racing in California by reading our Blog, finding us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, checking us out on LinkedIn, or visiting our YouTube Channel!