Speaking of horse racing | TSLN.com

Speaking of horse racing

The Scottish bard well knew, and wrote, how the best laid plans of mice and men “gang aft astray”… my cowboy and me are examples of that. We didn’t make it to the big Montana cowboy and cowgirl reunion… nor to the BHSS to visit with you at the TSLN booth on Monday last.

Once again we have a plan, to take in the Cattlemen’s Banquet Wednesday evening and see our good friend Darrel Hoar honored. We’re plumb excited ’cause our dear departed friend Charlie Hunt’s “favorite wife” Glorine has promised to accompany us to that festivity!

We’ve been blessed with a fairly mild winter where we live – the way below zero spells have mostly been short lived, we’ve had more days than usual without wind, and there have been a lot of above normal temp’s along the way. Even so, winter takes a toll on the weight of horses, especially the older ones. If they had any fat reserves along their crests or rumps, even over their ribs, when winter began, it can be gone by this time of year, and checking over their rib cage, along their back and over the hip bones may reveal declining condition.

When we want to fatten one up a bit we may think first of grain and feed with high caloric content, but it’s important to remember the hay helps keep your horse warm much better than grain. According to the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the heat of digestion from five pounds of extra hay will raise the average horse’s core body temperature 1.2 degrees for nearly four hours. That can be very important to them when the cold spells come.

The AAEP says temperatures between 15 and 60 degrees F are considered energy neutral for horses, meaning that within that temperature range, horses don’t require extra energy or calories to stay warm or cool. However, this assumes that the wind is not blowing and the horse’s hair coat is not wet, because both conditions increase the horse’s caloric needs. We all know our winter temp’s and conditions exceed these guidelines a good deal of the time, so keep that good hay supply in front of your best friends.

Horse racing in Wyoming is at the mercy of the state Legislature as House Bill 0170 was heard by the Travel Committee last Monday, the 2nd. I have no information on the outcome of that, but if you have opportunity to check in with your legislators, remind them this bill is vital to Wyoming horsemen because the revenues it would create would allow for purse enhancement and a stronger Wyoming Bred program in Wyoming racing, along with a longer racing season, higher purses, and money for grants to host and market more equestrian events at county and state fairgrounds and licensed pari-mutuel facilities in Wyoming. For an update or more information call Judy Horton, AQHA Wyoming Director at 307-331-0747 or Bill Gentle, the Wyoming Horse Council President at 307-630-1284.

Colorado also has important bills of a similar nature… fighting to retain profitable racing purses at the fine facilities like Arapahoe Park and Centennial Park where racing has historically been enjoyed. Raton, New Mexico’s new facility and better purses will ravage Colorado racing if the new bills aren’t successful.

Speaking of horse racing, I enjoyed watching the television coverage of the 2008 Eclipse Awards on TVG the other night. My two favorite mares were honored, with Zenyatta winning the Older Female award and Indian Blessing being named Female Sprint Champion.

Zenyatta, owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, trained by “The Diamond Cutter” John Shirreffs, and ridden to all six 2008 wins by Mike Smith, is simply breathtaking when she runs, and topped Ginger Punch and Cocoa Beach for the win.

The Older Male award went to Kentucky bred Curlin owned by Jess Jackson and ridden by Robbie Albarado, both in the US and where he made a big splash in the United Arab Emirates. His competition for that honor included Commentator and the Brazilian horse Einstien.

Outstanding Breeder honors went to Adena Springs; with Freda Stronach of Stronach Stables being picked as top owner. Outstanding Apprentice Jockey honors went to 23-year-old Mexican native Paco Lopez who compiled 171 wins this year for $2.6 million in winnings before completing his apprenticeship. Garrett Gomez, first rider to win four individual Breeder’s Cup races, was named top jockey for his 214 wins in Wyoming, Kentucky and California, bringing $23.3 million to the owners of his mounts. Steve Asmussen was named Trainer of the Year.

Benny The Bull was chosen Champion Male Sprinter; Male Turf Horse is Conduit; and Turf Female is Forever Together. Top 3-Year-Old Male is Big Brown of IEAH Farms, trained by Rick Duttrow and ridden by Kent Desormeaux, beating out Colonel John and the European horse Ravens Pass.

Top 3-Year-Old Female is Proud Spell, owned by Airdrie Stud, former Kentucky Governor Brereton C. Jones, and trained by Larry Jones. Eight Bells and the Godolphin Stud’s filly Music Note were also in the running. Larry Jones was also especially honored by the presenter for facing the press and answering all their questions after Eight Belles’ untimely death.

Horse Of The Year nominees were Big Brown, Curlin, and Zenyatta, with Curlin carrying off the honor yet again, becoming first horse to successfully defend that title since Cigar. In accepting the honor, Curlin’s owner Jess Jackson spoke of his lifelong love of horse racing, initially inspired by watching Seabiscuit run in 1938, when he was 8-years-old.

The Special Eclipse Award, which honors outstanding individual achievements in, or contributions to, the sport of Thoroughbred racing, went to the veterinary On Call media-assistance program of the AAEP.

“It is an incredible honor for the On Call program to be recognized for its contributions to racing and its role in increasing the public’s knowledge of horse health issues,” said AAEP executive director David L. Foley. “We dedicate this award to the many AAEP members who have volunteered their time and expertise to serve the industry, the media and, most importantly, the horse.”

The On Call group was formed in the wake of the accidents and injuries, which occurred in the 1990 Breeders’ Cup, and the lack of equine medical information available to the viewing public.

Looks like that brings us plumb to the end of our ol’ lariat rope for another week…

© 2009 rhonda stearns

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