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Archive for February, 2014

Facebook gave it’s users the option to create a short video of our Facebook activity in the past years. Some people realized how irrelevant their postings were and others embraced their sharing history of accomplishments and milestones. We all share things that only our mother cares about and I am sure guilty of that. Some of us noticed inappropriate photos or language that showed up and maybe that will remind people not everything should be shared. The golden rule of social media postings is, “If you don’t want your grandmother to see it, then don’t post it”. Unfortunately social media can be shameless, but there are still people who keep it clean and PG. I try to keep my postings appropriate for all audiences and especially family friendly. I avoid political bias and only rant on something I am truly passionate about. I am sure I will break a rule now and then, but as long as my mother is on Facebook, I’ll stick to a higher standard.

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Thoroughbred Horse Racing Partnerships and Crocker Racing Stable: Owning a horse is serious business, Don’t gamble him away.

via Thoroughbred Horse Racing Partnerships and Crocker Racing Stable: Owning a horse is serious business, Don’t gamble him away..

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This 4 year old filly has missed four days of training because the ground is simply too hard and dangerous to train on. The recent snow and ice, that has plagued the majority of the United Sates, has interrupted training operations at Crocker Racing. Currently we are training at a farm where we can take advantage of the safer footing and uphill terrain. We train at various speeds and intensities, three to five miles a day. A thoroughbred race horse training on a dirt race track probably wouldn’t hold up to the same training that can be accomplished on natural footing. I have never liked dirt tracks for race horses and believe a dirt track contributes to the majority of breakdowns in North America. Horses training and racing on dirt are limited to the distance and intensity of training they can tolerate without the risking serious injuries. In a perfect world, all horses would be racing and training on grass. Most tracks, unfortunately, are dirt and we must train accordingly. The all weather, synthetic surfaces were designed to simulate the feel and give of turf, reducing racing injuries to horses. Michael Dickinson introduced this synthetic material to thoroughbred racing in hopes to accomplish a safer race track. More on synthetic tracks in another posting. I’ll go into the pros and cons of the Tepta race track.

Crocker Racing Stable Filly 2014

3YO Filly trained by Chris Crocker. Crocker Racing Stable.

This funny filly just can’t contain herself after having 4 days of only turnout. She can gallop and jog in her 1/2 acre paddock, but she feels the need for speed. She loves to train and the day following this video, she was a bear to gallop. She was not fun to ride at all. She was leaping out of her skin. The video was posted on a social media site and while most found it cute, that she was so full of energy and happy, others started creating their own story. One person posted that it was cruel to keep a race horse cooped up in a stall. She obviously didn’t notice the open door to a large paddock and didn’t take a second to read the video description that accompanied the YouTube post. One person even tried to tell us the blanket was bothering her. She has been in this exact same blanket for a month. She was actually reacting to the feed buckets rattling and the blower that we use to clean out the barn. You can post anything online and someone will find something bad to say about it. A basket of kittens can even prompt a negative comment. People who are not involved with horse racing get a lot of misinformation from people who think they know what goes on at race tracks. I have found that these people don’t realize how much these horses are loved and cared for at the track. In any business, there are people who disgrace their industry with unethical acts and practices. Horse racing is not immune to these bad apples. We need to educate the public about the positive sides of racing and I hope to help do that in future postings.

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I am convinced that this thoroughbred and bulldog photograph inspired the new Budweiser Clydesdale Super Bowl commercial for 2014 “Puppy Love”. I can’t help to think that Budweiser was trolling my Facebook pictures or saw a photo that I took back in 2010 of my thoroughbred race horse, Half Mask and my 3 month old bulldog, Winston. The horse is the photo is “Half Mask”, but the video features a thoroughbred race horse named “Jack Saw”.
Winston is an English bulldog and is just learning the ropes. He still doesn’t know that he is not a horse since he grew up around a barn full of excitable race horses. He has since learned that he will lose any fight, but knows which horses will play with him and which will try and kill him. He loved to sit under the yearlings feed tub and eat the feed that hit the ground. At that time, the feed looked much like his own food and obviously the taste wasn’t and issue for him. Winston also likes to graze like the horses and sometimes follows along on training exercises, but only when the horses are taking it easy that day.

Budweiser Super Bowl Commercial Puppy Love

The real life “Puppy Love”!

(Budweiser Clydesdale Super Bowl commercial, “Puppy Love”)
Half Mask was claimed by Crocker Racing Stable. Unfortunately he won the non winner’s of three race in which we claimed him out of. Losing that key condition cost us a potential win and money. The horse stood out in the form as he had been running better going long, further back, in his form and at tougher tracks. When watching his sprint races, with his current trainer, he was breaking slow and had to be rushed early to get in the race. While training him, I observed his laid back nature. He was not a horse that liked to be rushed and actually would settle in company with other horses. We spent the next 60 days putting some mileage on him with longer and more frequent workouts. He won his very next start wire to wire, going a flat mile and looked comfortable the whole way. He was coming from the outside post and circled the field around the first turn and took the lead by the first call. Ryan Fogelsonger was aboard that day. He was never pressured in the early going, which I believe gave him the confidence to draw off in the final stretch with only one possible challenger. Half Mask went onto run a huge second at Woodbine Racetrack in his next outing for more than double the original claiming tag. We decided to keep this race horse on the synthetic and turf surfaces since he showed the most promise there. After some rough trips at Woodbine following one of his best performances, we put him up for six months for next year’s racing season. He ran an impressive 3 starts in a 24 day span, when he came back. He ran a second, bounced back in six days to win a sprint, coming from behind with Mario Pino aboard. He was starting to act more like a sprinter by bolting to the lead in some of his longer races. His confidence was defiantly up and he was changing his running patterns. Eighteen days after the win, he ran another strong second. I have a pattern of running horses back sooner than most, but it is very calculated and not just haphazard. I have had much success with horses winning or improving on a 6 day, or less, turn around. More trainers are following my patterns, but I do not believe they fully understand how to do this safely and effectively. Not all horses are capable of running twice a week. I don’t like to keep horses in my barn that can’t run more often and I train them accordingly. For obvious reasons, I am not going into what it takes to train such a horse. I want to warn all the horse owners out there who may be reading this and wondering why their horses are not getting at least 3 starts a month. If you start pushing your trainer to run your thoroughbred race horse more often, it will no doubt end your horse or your relationship with that trainer. The trainer must be knowledgeable and fully understand how to apply the training and feeding techniques which allow horses to bounce back quickly. One of the downsides of racing horses too close, too often is the Lasix can be detrimental to the health of the animal. Rapid weight loss will also pose a problem and the horse’s performance will decline as well, if not controlled. A decline in performance can also lead to fatigue related injuries or even death. The problem with large racing operations is that the trainer doesn’t have time for individual attention and largely rely on assistants and grooms. Large stables can be very successful, but the trainers do not like to enter multiple horses in conflict of interest for their clients. A high percentage trainer entering two horses in one race, guarantees at least one loss if not two.
(Budweiser Clydesdale Super Bowl commercial, “Puppy Love”)
This blog just went on a wild tangent, but when I get going, I can’t help myself. Keep up with this blog for more answers to questions that you may have as an owner or a trainer new to the business. There are many successful trainers out there and they all have a specialty or system that works best for them. There is no one way to do things, but always keep in mind what is best for the race horse. Never do something just because someone else is successful at doing it because they may have a specific reason of why it works for them. I have said this before, but the horse training community consist largely of the “monkey see, monkey do” mentality. People are not taking the time to understand the why and how, but just copy what the other person is doing. This is never a good thing. I compare it to watching a pilot fly a plane. Just because you may be sitting next to him while he takes off and lands a plane, doesn’t mean you can copy his movements and accomplish the same results.

The original video that inspired the Budweiser Super Bowl commercial, “Puppy Love”. Well, in my opinion, a least.
Check out the video with a playlist: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwN0Vv1d7eU&list=PLCA6ADB8EDF448579&feature=share&index=24

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