Archive for January, 2014

There is a lot controversy about this accident that happened at Freehold Raceway. The main issues are who is responsible, if anyone, and whether this accident could have been prevented. In recent years insurance companies and traffic authorities have done away with the word accident and use the term “collision”. The word accident shouldn’t be an excuse for when something goes wrong. “Accident” is a word that a toddler uses when he spills milk or breaks something by mishandling it. Adults continue to use this word to divert the attention from their mistake in judgment or action. The word “accident” implies there no responsibly or blame taken. It’s not nice to go around fingers pointing and blaming others, but people can’t shed responsibility by simply claiming things are accident. Unless a toddler was driving this gate car, it was not accident.
We all know this did not happen on purpose and no one wanted the drivers and horses hurt. The driver certainly didn’t plan for this to happen, but it did because someone was careless. We will never know the truth behind the Freehold Raceway gate car crash, but someone screwed up and made the decision to race under poor track conditions. It can’t be argued that the track was not safe. We know it wasn’t because the proof is right on the video.
The race track has a responsibility to the horseman and the horses to keep them as safe as possible. Horse racing gets a bad name as it is and when this stuff happens, it makes things even worse. This was human error whether the track management was to blame or the driver was not careful enough. If the car malfunctioned, then why wasn’t it being properly serviced and maintained. One report said the mud stuck in the gate mechanism prevented the gate from closing all the way which threw the, already unstable, car off balance and into a skid. Why wasn’t this caught before the crash? The gates used in thoroughbred racing are tested and maintained constantly to ensure they open every time. Not to say a gate doesn’t get stuck rom time to time as I was in a gate that didn’t open. I was lucky that the horse didn’t react to the bell and didn’t lung forward. This happened in morning training so the only ones affected was me and the horse.
It all comes down to this collision being human error and steps should be taken at tracks across the world to prevent this from ever happening again. Yes, it’s easy to criticize Freehold Raceway for having old equipment, bad judgment or just plain negligence, but this makes me so angry that horses were put through this while trusting their drivers are going to get them around the track safe. The vehicles should be four wheel drive and designed specifically to handle the weight swinging gate arms. I can’t be the only genius who thinks a full-sized Humvee with tires designed specifically for the track would be a great replacement for the outdated gate cars. The tracks just don’t want to spend money unless they are forced to. I hope this track makes some changes to benefit the horses as I have not heard one good thing about it. I have never been to Freehold and don’t plan on ever going, but I have been to a lot of tracks and worked many sides of racing so I know something on this subject.
This article will probably spark controversy and many will defend the “Freehold Raceway Gate Car Accident” as being “freak”. It blows my mine that people write these horses off like that. A guy in my town recently hit and killed a woman jogging, with his car. The turn is hard and she was at the wrong place at the wrong time and he was at the wrong place at the wrong time, but it happened. A freak accident? or a guy not keeping control of his vehicle. The woman may have been in the middle of the road, I wasn’t there, but people take that turn too fast all the time and he should have been able to stop. The one in the car is always responsible unless someone is trying to commit suicide and deliberately jumps in front of the car of course. Before anyone thinks I am too quick to blame the drive, let me tell you, he was drunk at 8 in the morning and headed to work at his medical practice. The community says that he was a good doctor, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t responsible for a collision that should have never happened.
I know driver, Cat Manzi and two others were sent to the hospital and it has been reported that all the horses walked off the track, but that doesn’t mean they were not hurt. The entries for this race are listed on the video’s YouTube page. If these horses are not re-entered in the coming weeks, they most likely received injuries serious enough to keep them from racing. If you have updates on the conditions of the drivers and horses please post. If you have comments or complaints about the “Freehold Raceway Gate Car Accident”, post as well.


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Working uphill with GoPro Hero 3 action camera and a Polar Equine Heart Rate Monitor. I have recorded HR data from 4 horses at different ages and levels of talent, to compare. This uphill galloping really showed who was the best horse. I’ll try and get screenshots of that HR chart to post.

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This thoroughbred race horse went a little too fast, but the track was tight and the rider was in control even though he was a little winded when pulling him up.

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Bill Pressey does great work educating people on horse physiology and collects facts and statistics to back his findings. Hey Bill, stop giving our secrets away… lol

This guy is on his second work of the week! http://youtu.be/45hdjzNgLfc

ThoroEdge Equine Performance

US thoroughbreds suffer from what can be termed Weekend Warrior Syndrome; and the respective careers of trainers Woody Stephens and D. Wayne Lukas in the Belmont Stakes gives us valuable clues to its origins and the damage it is causing our dirt runners.

Firstly, I define the syndrome as the current propensity to undertake speedwork of 12/13sec/f once weekly, at most. Overall, the frequency is even smaller when you consider 90% of our runners refrain from any speedwork 10-14 days post-race. Our country’s ultimate test of TB stamina, the 12F Belmont, is the most illustrative of this phenomenon.

At first glance, both genius conditioners seem to have similar Belmont success; as Stephens won 5 runnings in a row from 1982-1986 and Lukas triumphed 3 times consecutively from 1994-1996, and added his 4th win with Commendable in 2000. However, when we dig deeper we notice some striking differences in approach.


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This workout was recorded, using the GoPro Hero 3 Helmet Camera, at Colonial Downs on the opening day of training 2013. Trainer Christopher Crocker aboard. This particular horse is a dud on the dirt. This was a very sluggish workout for him. He is much sharper on the turf or tight fast track.

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This 4 mile plus, training session through the woods is great mind therapy for the race horse as sometime they become sour to the same track training day after day. We like to bring them off layoff this way. It’s natural footing with uphill terrain and they love it.

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