Countdown

Thank you to all those that have responded to the RSVP. We have 300+ RSVP’d for Yodeler’s first race.

Seating in the Trackside Tents will accommodate approximately 250+ and is first come, first serve.  Remember that section 15 in the Grandstand will also accommodate you with your owner license. Again, just non-alcoholic beverages will be provided, but there will be a cash bar and mutuel teller in the Tents. Sunday might be a great time to use your BetEmerald account and bet from your smartphone or tablet to avoid lines at the teller.

If you still have additional guests joining the party, no need to let me know. We needed a rough count to set the tables.

The lucky ten going to the paddock are:

  • Joshua McCleary
  • Kevin Geloff
  • Katherine Powell
  • Peggy Neff
  • Dennis Erwood
  • Charles Miller
  • Becky Hunter
  • Perry Kusakabe
  • Robert Grutko
  • Joe Hawks

Meet at the entrance to the Trackside Tents immediately after the running of the 7th race. One of our customer service staff will escort the ten of you into the paddock for Yodeler’s race.

For the rest of you…you can see Yodeler being saddled from the outside of the paddock. The best view will be on the North side, so you’ll have to cross the horse path up by the track and then walk down on the other side. You can see from the photo, it’s on the far side where there aren’t many people.

paddock high

After he is saddled, cheer him on from your favorite (lucky) spot!

Jockey Felipe Valdez will be wearing our silks and Yodeler will have a green saddle towel for post position # 5.

IMG_2039

The race has come up quite salty and competitive with some very consistent runners coming out to challenge him. It will not be an easy race. Track announcer Robert Geller has Dancing Yodeler picked to run third in his picks on the Emerald Downs website.

IF Dancing Yodeler should win…queue outside the Winner’s Circle and then we’ll bring you all down on the racetrack for the all important win photo.

Alas, there is no sure thing in horse racing and as owners, as long as he returns to the barn safe and healthy, that’s all we ask for.

For those of you unable to attend you can watch the race LIVE on Emeralddowns.com under Racing>Live Streaming OR you can download the Horse Races NOW app on your iPhone or Droid and watch the race live.

Won’t be free to watch him run? You can relive every moment watching the race replays at emeralddowns.com Racing>Race Replays

The following is from our Media Department and went out in our Barn Notes this week:

DANCING YODELER DEBUTS SUNDAY FOR EMERALD RACING CLUB

The Emerald Racing Club springs into action Sunday when Dancing Yodeler makes his long-awaited Emerald Downs debut for trainers Larry and Sharon Ross in the eighth race. Felipe Valdez has the mount on the 6-year-old gelding in the $5,000/$4,000 claiming race at six furlongs.

For his first assignment, Dancing Yodeler lands in a competitive eight-horse field. Hip Hop City already is a double winner at the meet, and Snooper Dauper, Making Fire and Marvin’s Magic also have wins here this season. Buddy Dave, meanwhile, has 13 career wins at Emerald Downs, Hard Slider has won five races at Emerald Downs, and Rezar has finished in-the-money 15 of 27 starts and adds the riding services of Juan Hernandez, currently second to Russell Baze in the Golden Gate jockeys’ standings.

A California-bred by Swiss Yodeler, Dancing Yodeler was a rugged competitor in Northern California, compiling a 10-13-6 record in 54 starts with earnings of $102,816. He was acquired from a $3,200 claiming race April 4, and has served the mandatory 45-day period required when a claimed runner leaves Golden Gate Fields.

 

Dancing Yodeler to run June 1

It’s official! Dancing Yodeler is entered and ready to run his first race at Emerald Downs on Sunday, June 1.

He will be breaking from post position 5 (green saddle towel) in race # 8.

We are fortunate to have the Trackside Tents open on Sunday and we are hosting the Emerald Racing Club there so you can all enjoy Yodeler’s first race together and be the loudest cheering section on track. Non-alcoholic beverages will be provided and we’ll have a bar and mutuel teller in the tent. No food will be provided but you are located just down from the Trackside Deli and regular concession stands. You do not need a ticket to enter the area, please just wear your lanyard (proudly).

You are welcome to bring your friends and family. For additional tickets at Will Call, call Alex Segura, Horsemen’s Liaison (253-288-7753) if you require tickets beyond your existing passes.

RSVP with your name and number in your party by end of day Friday, May 30. The link will take you to a form, please click all the way through it (past the message about where the tents are located…keep clicking)! I’ll let you know by end of day Saturday if you are selected to go in the paddock. 

Sharon has asked that there are no barn visits after noon on Saturday through race day on Sunday. Yodeler will be off-limits. Respect this rule and refrain from going to the barn during that time, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to see him in the paddock, on the track for post parade, and in his race.

The Entry Process

So now that we know he’s running…just how did it happen?

As the racing office takes entries throughout the morning, they post to the TV’s how many horses are entered in each race so that the trainers can tell if the race is a “go.” If you refer back to the blog post on the condition book, you can reference how many horses were entered in each type of race. Yodeler is one of the eight horses entered in condition book race 7. The blue highlight indicates the races that will be used. This board is updated throughout the morning. The photo below was taken after entries closed, showing the final counts. If it says “off-1” that means the race was not used and only had 1 horse entered.

There are ten races highlighted in blue, which means we will run ten races on Sunday, one of which will be a Quarter horse race.

entry

After entries close for the day, then the entries are double checked for jockey, equipment and claiming price. They are organized and then the “draw” takes place to determine post position for each horse. The “draw” is typically attended in person by the jockey’s agents because they want to make sure their jockey is riding the correct horse. If there’s a question, or a jockey is named to ride on two horses at entry time, they sort it out immediately.

The racing office sets the order of the race. That is why his race is race 8, even though it was “7” in the condition book.  The next step is the shaking of a pea with a number on it, this is the post position. Then the horse’s entry is drawn and they are assigned that post position number – a completely random draw. Watch the video below to see the post position draw for Yodeler’s race. Jockey agent Keith Drebin is drawing the pea, and jockey agent Denise Mitchell is drawing the entry of each horse. Racing Secretary Bret Anderson then records the position and confirms it.

After the draw, an “overnight” is produced. The overnight sheet is the precursor to the race day program that you’ll have in your hand Sunday. The overnight sheet then goes to the morning line odds maker and to Equibase and Daily Racing Form so they can build out all the past performances and information for the races. It is all ready to go and in your hands by end of day Saturday for your handicapping pleasure!

Ana Training Update

Ana appears to enjoy Emerald Downs and trained with gusto. She’s a real professional and it appears exercise rider Brian is enjoying her too! Track photographer Erin Palmer made it out this week to get some photos of our new addition.

_MG_9897 _MG_9907 _MG_9909 _MG_9919

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anelina Arrives and Yodeler Works

Farm Visit Recap

The farm visits at El Dorado, Blue Ribbon Farm, and Griffin Place were a huge hit for those able to attend. We have some photos of Club members with the great 35-year-old Thoroughbred Stallion, Peterhof, at El Dorado. I’ll post the link to our Flickr Photo Album and additional pictures as soon as they are uploaded. I think our new jockey has potential, just needs a few more years…

Cherokee gives a ride to a young fan at El Dorado Farms Sunday, May 18.

Cherokee gives a ride to a young fan at El Dorado Farms Sunday, May 18.

Ana Arrives

Ana arrived this morning from California and appears to have shipped in fine form. She’s a beautiful mare and seems to like attention and carrots. Despite having just walked off the horse van this morning, she was bright eyed and happy to receive visitors this morning. She’s a bit more interactive than Yodeler and is stabled next to him.

ana

Club members greet Ana after her arrival.

Ana welcomes her admirers.

Ana welcomes her admirers.

Yodeler Training Recap

Track photographer Erin Palmer was out the other morning and snapped some great shots of our boy training. As we’ve discovered, he’s an enthusiastic galloper so we’ve kept him jogging.

As a side note – if you’d like to purchase any of the track photographer’s photos, call Erin Palmer on her cell – 503-380-0430. Quite frankly, I can never get any quite as good as hers!

Dancing Yodeler

Dancing Yodeler

Dancing Yodeler

Dancing Yodeler

Yodeler had an easy workout Thursday morning, going a half-mile in :51 seconds flat, 17th of 17 horses for the distance. This was really a maintenance work since he is plenty fit and ready to run. This will be his last workout before June 1. Fingers crossed the race goes and we will know Thursday if he will run.

The Paddock

The paddock at Emerald Downs

The paddock at Emerald Downs

The Paddock is where the horses go before every race and receive their saddle towel with post position number, saddle and their jockey. It is also where the owners stand to watch their horse get ready to run and where the trainer will give final instructions and a leg up to the jockey. This is a restricted area.

Many of you have asked about the paddock on race day and who will be permitted to be in the paddock. We will be limited on the amount of people that we can take into the paddock. Participants will be selected via random draw each time one of the horses runs until everyone has had an opportunity to go. The paddock will be for Club members only, I’m afraid we simply won’t have room to accommodate additional family members or friends. They will have to wait outside the paddock and get great photos of you!

How the process will work…once Yodeler is confirmed entered and the race is a “go”, we will make a determination on how many people can safely enter the paddock. This determination will be based on field size (the more horses, the less room we have). Then we will ask for RSVP from those planning to attend that race day. Once we have that list we’ll randomly draw those that will be able to go into the paddock. It’s a bit cumbersome, but seems to be the fairest way to make sure everyone gets a turn.

 

The Condition Book and Yodeler’s First Race

You may have heard the term “condition book” before. The mysterious book referenced that holds the secrets to racehorse training. Not quite.

It is called a condition book because it contains the “conditions” of the races available to enter. For example, conditions would refer to the distance, claiming price, and other specifics such as age and sex that limit a race to a certain group of horses.

The condition book is produced by the racing office and in simple terms is a list of the upcoming races available for horses to enter. You can see the condition book here. The racing office writes the races based on the horse population currently on the grounds.

The condition book is crucial to a trainer because it gives them a race for the horse to point towards. For Emerald Downs, we typically have seven condition books printed throughout the season and they cover about nine days (three weekends) of racing at a time. The most recent edition linked to above is for May 24 – June 6.

According to Sharon, there is a race for Yodeler on Sunday, June 1. If we scroll through to Sunday, June 1 we’ll see that entries will close on Thursday, May 29. That means that as owners, we’ll know if Yodeler was entered and if he made it into the race.

Three things will keep a horse from running in a race that you’ve entered him for other than health and soundness:

-The horse is ineligible – i.e. Race for maidens, and your horse has a win. Mistakes at entry time like this are rarely made, but it can happen.

-There aren’t enough entries to make your race “go”. If a race only has three or four horses in it at close of entries, then there aren’t enough horses to make a betting race. The racing office has to take the races that fill with enough horses and then create the best betting card for the public.

-There are too many entries, this doesn’t happen very often, but if there are too many entries, your horse might be excluded.

Let’s look at the races and see where Yodeler fits in:

Race 1 – Maiden Claiming – Yodeler isn’t a “maiden” (a horse that has never won a race), not eligible

Race 2 – WA Maiden Claiming – This is restricted to WA Bred maidens. Yodeler is not a WA Bred nor a maiden.

Race 3 – Maiden Special Weight for two-year-olds – Yodeler isn’t a two-year-old maiden, not eligible.

Race 4 – Maiden Special Weight for three-year olds and up – Yodeler isn’t a maiden, not eligible.

Race 5 – Quarterhorse maiden – Yodeler is a Thoroughbred, not eligible.

Race 6 – Quarterhorse allowance – Yodeler is a Thoroughbred, not eligible.

Race 7 – Claiming Race for $5,000 going six furlongs – These are Yodeler’s conditions! He is eligible to enter in this race.

Race 8 – Claiming Race for $32,000 – This is above his competition level.

Race 9 – Seattle Handicap – This is our Stakes race and best class of horses. Yodeler is “outclassed” by these horses.

Race 10 – Claiming Race for $12,500 going a mile, fillies and mares – Again, too rich for Yodeler, he’s a boy, and we want to sprint him primarily. Not eligible.

Race 11 – Claiming Race for $10,000, fillies and mares – too rich for Yodeler and he is ineligible because he’s a boy.

Race 12 – Claiming for $10,000 restricted to three-year-olds – Yodeler is too old at age six. Ineligible.

Race 13 – Claiming for $2,500, fillies and mares – Too cheap and a race for girls, and Yodeler is ineligible.

Race 14 – Claiming for $12,500, for three-year-olds and up that have never won two races – Too rich, and Yodeler has won more than two races, so not eligible.

Race 15 – Claiming for $3,500, for three-year-olds and up that haven’t won a race since Oct. 1, 2013 – Yodeler won a race on March 15, making him ineligible.

Race 16 – Claiming for $2,500, for three-year-olds and up which have never won three races – Too cheap, and Yodeler has won more than three races.

 

Let’s look closer at Race 7:

conditionbook

The purse is the amount he will be racing for – $7,200. In the back of the physical condition book (not on the PDF download) there is a chart called 2014 Division of Purses. According to the chart, the winner takes home 55% with the remainder distributed 2nd – 5th and a $125 “unplaced” fee for any horses that don’t finish in the top five.

He is older than three so he starts out carrying 124 lbs. However, he has not won a race since April 1 (his last win was March 15, Dancing Yodeler – Past Performance) so per the conditions, we can subtract 2 lbs.

The race is a Claiming Race – Claiming Price is $5,000, we could enter him for $4,000 in which case we’d be “allowed” three more lbs but we aren’t going to do that so he’ll be entered for the race and will carry 122 lbs.

Sharon will continue to monitor his health, soundness and mental state but is pointing him towards this race as of now.

 

Updated Farm Tour Information for Sunday

Quite the crowds have made it out to the farms today!

Two updates – one from El Dorado Farms and one from Griffin Place.

El Dorado Farms will schedule tours tomorrow starting at 10, 12 and 2 pm. Plan to arrive around that time if you’d like to see everything on the tour. They’ve had such a great response today that they’ve asked to set times to make it flow easier. The kids have been able to ride and today’s group was treated to seeing a live breeding when one of the mares on hand had to be bred today.

Griffin Place has provided a tour booklet for you that they will have when you arrive. It’s a how-to and guide to the farm with photos and explanations of what you’ll see. This is a great reference if you are unable to attend the farm tours this weekend.

Griffin Place Farm Brochure

And on another note – Dancing Yodeler is famous! The Emerald Racing Club made the front page of the Seattle Times today with photos of Club members and Dancing Yodeler. Online article is here.

For those of you that did manage a farm visit today and have some photos you’d like to share, please email emeraldracingclub@gmail.com and identify those in the photos. I’m sure the people that couldn’t make the tours would appreciate the photos!

Farm Visits for Saturday and Sunday

An update below on the Farm Tour information for Saturday and Sunday. Kids are welcome. No need for lanyards for your visits.

The Farm Tours have been scheduled for Saturday, May 17 & Sunday, May 18 (10 am – 3 pm).

Three of the top farms in Washington State are generously opening their doors to the Emerald Racing Club both days from 10 am – 3 pm. You are welcome to bring friends and family along. The farms are located within 30 – 45 minutes of Emerald Downs and you may visit at your leisure during the hours listed. They are close enough in proximity that you may have time to visit all three.

Dress appropriately – you will be at a farm so wear appropriate footwear and clothing.

El Dorado Farms

http://www.eldoradofarms.net

41818 228th Ave. SE

Enumclaw, WA 98022

(360) 825-7526

El Dorado Farms is owned by Ron and Nina Hagen. El Dorado Farms has also earned WA Breeder of the Year award, most recently in 2009. They are a full service facility, standing five stallions, Abraaj, Car Talk, Coast Guard, Private Gold and Raise the Bluff. They breed, raise and sell Thoroughbreds. They also provide rehab and layup facilities and have a nurse mare program. See below for the planned activities for the weekend.

Sophia McKee at El Dorado Farms with a miniature horse foal.

Sophia McKee at El Dorado Farms with a miniature horse foal.

The following is from Nina and what you can expect at El Dorado Farms this weekend:

  • Mr. Mongo Man – teaser stallion
  • Mr. Mongo Man’s son that was born April 29th that is as friendly as can be and loves to be petted…(He will help Mr. Mongo Man with his job in the future)
  • Mares and babies everywhere that are very curious and friendly and will come right up to people!
  • Miniature mares that are also very friendly and can be petted!
  • A miniature stallion
  • 2 mules….Sassy and Peter that talk quite a bit!!! Very cute!
  • Chickens: Hens, Roosters and babies wandering where they please
  • Dr. Bob Campbell will have Ultra Sounds from start to finish:
  1. Breeding Follicles
  2. Ovulations(when breeding is over)
  3. 14 to 16 day pregnancies
  4. 27 to 30 day heart beats
  5. And finally the Embryo!! YAY, baby on the way!
  • Then Ron will have Fuzzy (Quarter Horse mare) saddled up to lead any children that show up around in the round pen by hand!
  • Plus more Miniature mares are hauling in on Saturday to be Ultra sounded in foal.
  • We will have handouts with information if they would like to know more about nutrition and the process from time of conception to Racetrack

Blue Ribbon Farm

www.blueribbonfarm.com

26719 120th St. E.

Buckley, WA 98321

(360) 829-6573

Blue Ribbon Farm has earned the Top Breeder Award for the last three years in a row and stands the stallions Atta Boy Roy and Nationhood. They also breed and race their own horses and provide foaling services. Blue Ribbon Farm is owned by Rick and Debbie Pabst.

Debbie will not have a stallion person on call on Saturday — just Sunday, so if you want to see Atta Boy Roy and Nationhood, then plan your visit for Sunday. Also, Debbie will be watching the Preakness in her home so if you happen to be there then, she has graciously offered visitors the opportunity a chance to watch with her.

To enter the farm, turn right up their driveway – you’ll see a roundpen (horse pen) out front and the house. The number is on the mailbox.

Griffin Place

www.griffinplace.com

26925 120th St. E.

Buckley, WA 98321

(360) 829-9911

Griffin Place is located on the same street as Blue Ribbon Farm. Griffin Place has a strong history of breeding, raising and selling top class horses. They were WA’s Leading Breeder by money won in 2000. That year, two of their homebreds, Rings a Chime and Best Judgement became WA Champions. Rings A Chime was their first G1 Stakes winner, and WA Horse of the Year. Her dam, Outofthebluebell was voted Broodmare of the Year. Expect to see lots of broodmares with their babies at this farm. Griffin Place does not stand any stallions.

Griffin Place shares a driveway with Blue Ribbon Farm.  So once you go through the metal automatic gate, just go all the way straight back for Griffin Place.  There are two lanes going off from the driveway, one on each side.  Do not take either one. Just go straight back and you dead end at their house. Parking will be set up in the field in front of the house and they will try to have people out there to guide visitors.

OTHER ACTIVITIES

Saturday, May 17 is Preakness Day – the second jewel of the Triple Crown. You can watch the race from Emerald Downs – approximate post time is 3:20 pm.

If you’d like to make a weekend of horse racing, we have Preakness Pancakes from 9  am – 11 am on Saturday at the track. It is a FREE pancake breakfast hosted by track announcer Robert Geller. He’ll have special guests including 2008 Longacres Mile winner, Wasserman, who will come to the paddock for a demonstration on saddling.

Yodeler will likely train during that time frame at approximately 9:30 am so you’ll have a chance to see him on the track for his morning exercise.

UPDATE ON ANELINA

Anelina aka “Ana” came out of her race well and is expected to ship up from California at the beginning of next week. She ate all her oats the morning after the race and appears in good health. She was wormed, vaccinated and had her teeth done this week.

Anelina on the walker Tuesday morning at Golden Gate.

Anelina on the walker Tuesday morning at Golden Gate.

The Breakdown

It’s a part of horse ownership – the absolute worst part. It’s the part we don’t like to talk about publicly. Rather, we’d rather mourn in private away from prying eyes.

But those of you here this morning witnessed the very worst. A three-year-old working down the lane took a bad step and fell. The jockey was thrown to the track and the horse lay still under the rail.

Within minutes the track EMT was on site to assist the rider, jockey David Lopez. And Dr. Elliot Simkins was on hand to attend to the fallen horse. Trainers out to watch their own horses quickly jumped in to offer assistance.

In such cases where the horse is still down, we do our best to keep the horse immobile until we could remove him from under the safety rail. Dr. Simkins administered a tranquilizer and then trainers, owners and track men all worked together to drag him away from the rail. From there, Dr. Simkins was able to better to evaluate his injury, diagnosed as a broken shoulder and he was quickly and humanely euthanized.

The track ambulance then carried him away. The horse will be sent to have an autopsy so we can learn all that we can on what may have triggered the injury and how we can improve in the future for the safety of horse and rider.

The horse took a bad step. The complexity of it all boils down to an improper step. It happens. It doesn’t mean that as horsemen and owners that we like it. In fact we hate it. The trainer walked away, shoulders slumped. The loss of a horse means something. It’s not taken lightly and there are tears being cried over that horse right now by the people that cared for him each day, by those that removed the shavings from his tail and worked so diligently to bring his coat to a bright shine.

I cried.

And I wanted to address the emotions that you may have felt watching it. I saw the concern on your faces, the desire to learn more about what happened. And the struggle within of feeling happiness and anticipation of watching Yodeler, while still feeling sadness over another horse you don’t know. And thinking – that could have been my horse.

Horses, people, pets get hurt. We do all we can to prevent it, but accidents happen. It’s how we deal with it moving forward, and how we do all we can to prevent it in the future that’s important to the health and well being of our sport and our personal self.

Then we go to the barn. Give Yodeler a pat and be thankful for the blessings we have and the strong, chestnut horse in front of us that brings us so much joy – just from his love of running.

 

 

 

 

It’s a Girl!

its_a_girl_

It’s a girl! Emerald Racing Club successfully claimed Anelina for $6,250 out of the 9th race at Golden Gate on Saturday, May 10. Just in time for Mother’s Day!

Anelina in the winner's circle January 4, 2014 at Golden Gate.

Anelina in the winner’s circle January 4, 2014 at Golden Gate.

She is a five year old mare by Lion Heart out of Miss Ghostzapper by Grand Slam.

She finished fourth in the race we claimed her out of in her second lifetime start over the turf. She raced in second the entire way around until the quarter pole where she ran into traffic and was shuffled back. While we weren’t shopping for a turf horse, that is where we found our dirt horse that should be able to sprint or route at Emerald Downs.

Anelina PP’s

This is what we liked about her:

1) Consistent form in 2014 – five starts, 1 win, 3 seconds, 1 third. Ran third to Halo La December 6. You’ll recall we attempted to claim Halo La and lost out on the shake two months ago. This horse has performed well in the same company.

2) Lifetime record 33-5-9-3 and earnings of $62,955

3) Appears to do well as a closing sprinter but also looks to have potential at a route distance with a recent second place finish going a mile on April 25. And a good effort going the route on the turf.

4) Is on the upswing in class – $4,000 to $5,000 to $6,250 claiming.

Plans have not yet been finalized regarding her shipping to Emerald Downs. We will evaluate how she comes out of this race and proceed from there.

The jail rule at Golden Gate is 45 days OR the end of the meet.  June 15 is the last day of the meet for Golden Gate so Anelina will be eligible to run at Emerald Downs after June 15.

Welcome to the Club “Ana”!

Blinkers and Training Plans for Sunday

If a horse like California Chrome can’t get you excited about horse racing, what will!?

Our own “California Chrome” – Yodeler was out for a gallop this morning and looked great doing it. Footage from today’s gallop here:

Yodeler is scheduled to work 5/8ths in blinkers on Sunday, May 11. He’ll be going 2nd after the break at approximately 9:15 am. If you come out, plan on meeting on the track apron above the paddock. After he works, we’ll take groups back to the barn for a visit.

BLINKERS – WHAT ARE THEY AND HOW THEY WORK

We had a question posed about blinkers and whether Yodeler will wear them in his first race or not. As of now, Sharon and Larry plan to run him in the blinkers since he raced last time with them. He has won with them on, and without them….but just what are blinkers?

Yodeler (#3) wears blinkers in his victory on Nov. 15 2013.

Yodeler (#3) wears blinkers in his victory on Nov. 15 2013.

Blinkers are commonplace at the racetrack and are a hood with eye cups that limits the horse’s field of vision.

Horses have two types of vision; monocular and binocular. With their monocular vision, they are able to see almost completely around their body and behind them thanks to their eyes being set on the side of their head. This has been developed because they are prey animals and have to be alert to threats from predators, even with their heads down grazing. There are two blind spots – directly between their eyes, and directly behind them.

horse_vision

Their binocular vision allows them to focus on what is directly ahead of them. The use of blinkers in horse racing limits the horse’s monocular vision and effectively reduces what is available for them to see.

For some horses, this will cause different responses.

The added focus might help a horse break from the starting gate faster because it’s not distracted by the handlers in the gate and other horses.

It might also keep a horse that is very spooky from seeing something that it might want to shy away from.

And some horses may be reactive to seeing a rider on their back, and this then removes the rider from their field of vision.

The drawbacks of blinkers are the same as their benefits sometimes. If you restrict a horse’s field of vision, they might not see their competitor coming up next to them to challenge. Or, they might be so focused on the racetrack ahead of them, that the rider is unable to slow them or “rate” them in a race.

There are multiple types of blinkers to affect a horse’s behavior but they all work off the concept of controlling the horse’s field of vision.

Full/Half cup – most restrictive, limits the horse’s field of vision to directly ahead.

fullcup

Full cup

French/Quarter cup – More open so the horse can see more to the sides.

halfcup

Quarter cup

Cheaters – barely limits the horse’s field of vision.

cheater blinkers

Cheaters

Run-out blinkers – restricts vision on one eye to if the horse has a tendency to duck in towards the rail, or move out wide.

bettertalknow_dominguez_05_298_SD

Run out

Screens or goggles – Cover the eye entirely but are see through. Used to protect the eye from dirt clods. You typically will see these at tracks where the kickback dirt is a problem. It is rare to see these at Emerald Downs.

The next time you go to the paddock, take a look at the different types of blinkers and see if you can successfully identify the different types. Then take a look at the horse’s running style and see if you can deduce why a trainer has them on the horse. Is it to help a speed horse break from the gate? Could the horse gawk too much at the crowds? It also is a great handicapping question when you see the notation “blinkers on” or “blinkers off” in the racing program. There is a reason for the change, what is it?

See you all Sunday!