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Travel with Bennett-Watt and learn about the Kentucky Derby, the famous horse racing event in Keenland, Kentucky.
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This is what the sale in Keenland is all about, horse racing. The fall session of Church Hill, home of the Kentucky Derby without question, the most famous horse racing in the world held during the second week of Church Hill spring season. It's also about winning. The obvious first return on a horse is the winner. But later, after more wins, breeding which is also what the Keenland Sale was all about.
Race day begins early at Church Hill Downs. For a period of roughly four hours each morning, they open up the race tracks so the horses can come out and exercise. Now, there are different regiments depending upon what the horse is doing if they’re leading up to a race, if they’re coming back from an injury, whether it’s a two-year-old who is coming here for the first time ever to begin their career. So the trainer of course decides what period of the morning that they will send out their horses. The better horses might go out early in the morning. Those horses that are coming back from injury are later on in the morning and also, the two-year-olds specially later in the morning when there are few horses out there. And the reason for that, they are a little bit nervous. They are not used to the environment here yet so there could be a concern that there might be mishap. The horse bucks, rears, throws its rider or whatever, so depending upon that as well as the conditions, they’ll change up their various regimens.
So the most part though that the horses that go out there, they gallop. They gallop a mile or two mile. They’re already fit so they don’t need the speed workout. Roughly or possibly a week before a race, maybe in some cases, a little bit shorter period of time. They’ll have them worked out. Now, workout or breeze is where they go out and sharpen their speed. They don’t go the race distance but they’ll go half of the race distance at a top speed and they will be clocked. And from that clocking, the trainer can tell what peak of performance that horse is probably able to do in a race. Now, the better use of that information is to try to decide if the horse is ready but in the case with horses as well as humans. Some of us perform well under practice conditions, others don’t. But yet, on a race day, maybe that horse shows up with the ability that they showed in the workout, maybe they don’t.
Male: Horse race is a very complicated sport and that’s what makes it so good. You only get one shot every few weeks for all your work to pay off. And it starts at 5 o’clock in the morning with the people who take care of them and most people only see the horses run in the day of the race. But to get into that race take sometimes years of preparations from the time that they start to being broke to yearling. So the time that they run their first race and then between races is three to four weeks. Every time that the minute the race is over, you start preparing for the next race.
Race day, they usually come in and either walk, just walk the horse or sometimes they take them out and jog, just an easy trip around the race track to loosen up. And about four hours before the race, we’re taking steroids from there and their water and oat bowl and go over. And then we take them over to the pad and they saddle and jockeys come down and get on. About ten minutes before the race, they go onto the race track and they have ten minutes to warm up and then they load in the gate and they’re off.
With an average race is a minute and 11 seconds, in a fifth of a second, there’s a length in the horse race. So the decisions that are made by the jockey have to be split second. The jockeys are important. The jockey has to be able to be able to get along with the horse and they have to communicate through their hands with the horse and understand how the hard the horse is working early in the race so they can save enough energy later in the race and decide whether to go inside or outside, if holes are going to open up or if they need to go around everybody.
On Kentucky Derby day, 140,000 show up, for a regular session in the fall, 8 to 10 thousand come to the adventure with of course, to hope their picks would be the right ones.