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Road to Kentucky Derby and Oaks 148 Video

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147 Road to the Kentucky Derby

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Tap a workout below to view details and video. Videos are typically posted within 24 hours.

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Morning Training and Workouts Explained

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Workouts, Breezes and Blowouts

Equine athletes, much like human athletes, need regular training and exercise to keep their top physical form and remain competitive. With the Kentucky Derby being THE premiere race for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds in the world, one could relate the event as teams in the NFL pointing their full season to the Super Bowl or College Basketball teams targeting their conference championships and ultimately the national tournaments.

Training increases with importance among the top level of racing known as graded stakes events. The Kentucky Derby is a Grade I Stakes, for example. Graded stakes could be loosely compared to a division 1 college game versus division 3. Much like the various divisions, you can have really good games or racing at all levels, but the grade I level is the apex of class.

Horses benefit from regular, regimented routine and require daily exercise as well as weekly breezes or workouts to examine the full effort of a racing scenario. This allows conditioners and connections to determine if a horse is progressing, regressing or maintaining the optimum fitness for the desired performance.

Additionally, horses will adjust distances, when along their workout they may ‘make a move’ or be asked to engage, accelerate or maneuver; much like a skills training.  With a MMA fighter, for example, one would have conditioning for body and mind in a gym with weights and cardio, then in other sessions a competitor may have skills training to grow in experience and acumen for combat or in this case, racing in high level competition.

Workouts are timed. At racetracks, there are often groups of designated ‘clockers’ to help track the efforts and report back to trainers or track staff. The trainers of horses also will time and track the works to understand how to meticulously home in on perfect form for a specific targeted race. If a horse has been on a layoff, away from racing for a while, workouts are clutch for trainers to understand next steps for a start. Once horses start returning bullet works at the fastest times for targeted distances, this is often a positive sign a horse is primed for a quality effort.

With these workouts, it is important to understand that trainers will use different styles based on their experience and desire to develop horses. Thus, some trainers and their regimen are better suited and known in the industry for long distances and stamina, some are better at speed, one trainer could specialize more on turf runners and yet another on developing 2 and 3-year-old horses instead of older horses.

As we learn a horses’ pedigree and family trends, see their own form and talent emerge and conditioning progress; one can learn when and where a horse can peak or place a performance of their lifetime. Hopefully, you backed that performance with at least a win bet!

Learn more here about graded stakes. 

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