Questions Answered

On occasion Jeff and I get e-mail asking questions that we feel like may be brewing in the minds of many rather than the just the e-mailer. We’ve gathered some of those together and I’ll go ahead and answer them here. Keep them coming and I’ll sporadically post the Q&A here on the blog!

I guess that leads me to another point – please go ahead and read through the comments that amass on the posts. Your fellow members ask some very good questions and I’ve found over time that they tend to be representative of what other members are thinking as well.

On to the questions:

WHEN WILL OUR HORSE RUN AGAIN? Every horse is different. Some recover from race in a few days while others may need more than a week. In any case, it takes a few weeks for a racehorse to recover from the effort and get back into the groove to race again. Clay likes a three week period between races as a guideline.

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE MONEY THAT WE WIN? In a few days I would anticipate receiving Clay’s bill from the time of the claim through May 31 as well as the vet bill. After I receive those you’ll see a detailed spreadsheet of where the expenses are. A more utilitarian answer is that the money goes into an account in the bookkeeper’s office. In our last race, for example, we won $10,200 for Maryjean winning the race. $2 is deducted on every start to help fund retired racehorse efforts and $1020 (10%) is deducted for the jockey fees. Out of the rest and the money deposited I will pay the rest of the bills – trainer, vet and farrier (usually included in the trainer bill). That is also the pot of money from which we will be claiming another horse.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR ENTERING A RACE? There is a book, called a condition book, which lists the races that plan to be run over a period of time (usually about a month) at the track. The book is divided up into race days and usually has 8 or 9 races per day. There are also another 4 or 5 called substitute races. There is another category called “extra races” that I will get to later.

When we anticipate when the horse may be ready to run we look ahead in the condition book to the races scheduled around that time. When the day to enter comes (usually 3-days ahead of the race day except on Sunday when entries are drawn for Thursday night) the trainer goes to a window in the racing office and enters a horse in via a computer. While there is a video screen that lists all the races and how many entries there are, but no names – no one else knows who the horses are until entries are drawn.

Usually the fullest fields are used, while some rare exceptions. By agreement with the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) the races in the condition book, if full, have to be used. The substitute races are next in case a “main” race isn’t full. Finally there are extra races.

An extra is a race that may be close to being full for the day it was in the condition book but not quite. The racing secretary may have an indication that if the race were to come back the next day there are a couple of other horses that may be ready and the race would fill up so the race is carried over as an “extra”. There are usually several of these in addition to the main book and substitute races.

HOW IS A JOCKEY SELECTED? The trainer decides which jockey may have the right riding style for his/her horse. A particular animal may like softer hands, or more aggressive handling, and the trainer tries to procure the jockey that would best fit his horse. Jockeys also try and secure mounts that will allow them to win more races so there is a bit of a dance between the jockey agents and the trainers to secure the best mounts while not alienating a particular trainer.

These were the latest, but keep the questions coming in and we’ll keep answering them – that is EXACTLY what this is all about!!