Direct Hit

by Ed Meyer

posted on August 17, 2009 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

I was chatting with a longtime trainer the other day. He has been in the business for over 40 years. His father was a rider, and his brother is a journeyman jockey. He knows many of the in’s and out’s that do not appear on the pages of major papers. This day, we took to the issue at hand. I have to admit that I was surprised and informed.

We were watching the 6th race at a local race track, and he stopped suddenly and grabbed my arm. “Look!  See those younger riders whipping and smacking? It is too much, and their horse will not respond.”

This statement caught me a little off-guard as I always thought within reason that a horse would go a bit further when coaxed by the stick. He argued, that after two to three hits that the stick was useless. The horse just throws in the towel. Watch the older riders as they use their hands and talk to the horse. They always keep them busy. They show them the whip only to use it effectively two or three times. This gets more out of the run.

He then alluded to how many tracks are using the padded whips. We had a vet, Dr. Jack Swaggler, on as a guest this week on our radio show, and he agreed. Too much use is unnecessary.

So, when you’re rooting your runner home, watch for riders who use their stick as a coaxing device. They are worth a play in the long run. The riders who whip more, are typically riders who lack the knowledge to excel in the long run. Food for thought before going to the windows…..