Krantz Stable Updates
Labor Day Starts the Year
- Published: September 3, 2002
- Written by Bryan Krantz
The summer has been hot and slow for our stable but this is the time of year when we start serious training preparation for fall racing. Most of the horses have been galloping since the Fourth of July holiday weekend. This is sort of an equine boot camp. Horses gallop (a slow run) between one and two miles six days a week. After 60-90 days of training like this, some speed work is phased in (depending on the fitness level of the horse). This change in routine is called a "work." Works don't have to be timed but the closer to race fitness, the more important time becomes. At first, works are little more than a faster or "open gallop." These just give the horse a message of what is expected. Most horses catch on pretty quick and are anxious to show their stuff within a work or two. Some horses can be pretty slow learners and some just tell you it's not for them. The main caution is not to let a horse work too fast and risk an injury from overexertion before their fitness level can accept the stress. Works usually come at five to six day intervals and then the horse is monitored for the following days to make sure appetite and hydration remain at high levels. Loss of appetite or depletion of fluids indicates a horse has overdone its training regime (or is sick). Works progress in distance, and time becomes a focal issue. Even if a horse works fast against the watch, a work in company may tell if there is heart and desire necessary for a quality race prospect.
The personalities of horses are much like people. True competitors are a rare and special group and progress through the ordinary steps of maiden races (for horses who have never won) and conditioned allowance races (non-winners of two races, three races, etc.) to elite competition quickly. These races are called stakes races. Stakes races are races requiring entry and starting fees and are restricted to the best horses set by the criteria or condition of the race. Sometimes money earned is the requirement to run or in a handicap, weight assignment by the racing secretary at the track where the race is run. Just like other sports, rivalries develop over the term of horses' careers as the horses are matched against each other over time in competition.
Coach Rags is a fun example of the best racing has to offer. He would be the equivalent of an offensive lineman if he was a football player. He's big, strong and can run through a brick wall but is not the sharpest tool in the shed. Yet, Rags has his moments of brilliance. He has raced 25 times, won eight, been second four times and third five times. He has won three stakes races and placed in stakes four other times. He has been one of the best Louisiana-bred grass horses of the last few years and has competed in this region with the best grass horses in open race (non-Louisiana bred) competition. He is in the 10th race Thursday at Louisiana Downs. This is a Louisiana-bred allowance race but the horses in the race are the same group he has run against for the last year or so in Louisiana-bred stakes and will probably be the same group heading into Louisiana Champions Day this winter. He is No. 11 and post time is scheduled for 5:51 p.m. CDT. In New Orleans, tune in on Cox Cable channel 75 around 5:30 and watch the show. If you are a FGNetBet.com customer from outside the New Orleans area, watch on the streaming video feature.