There’s so much great about Indiana Grand Racing and Casino. If you think about it, though, it all comes down to the horses. So much goes into every race, but likely most important is the health and safety of the racehorses. Today I had the chance to spend some up close and personal time with trainers, jockeys and horses!
We started in the barn with the Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds. I had the opportunity to interact with both. My first thought, what a majestic animal! Face to face with a 1,200 pound race horse, looking them in the eye, petting them, talking to them, WOW! They are absolutely amazing.
Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds are both absolutely incredible, but there are differences between them. Trainer Tim Eggleston is one of the few who trains both. Tim knows every single thing about these horses…their speeds, their moods, when they need to rest…he understands all dimensions of these animals. Horse, trainer and jockey are co-workers, just like humans. They must understand and know one another to win. Tim’s main focus is on the horse and the jockey. Safety matters, not just for the horse, but for the jockey too. Think about a mechanic with your car. A mechanic’s job is to keep the vehicle in tip top shape for the driver. Well Tim does this exact thing for the horse and jockey. Tim keeps the horses’ well rested, fed properly and ready to race. The jockey is protected to the best of their ability. That includes working and training with the horses they race, helmets and flak jackets to protect the head and body in case there is an accident.
The Quarter Horse sprinters runs shorter distance, anywhere from 110 to 440 yards and are quicker out of the gate. The Thoroughbreds run longer distances but aren’t quite as fast. Make no mistake, though, they are all fast! Thoroughbreds run around 40mph while the Quarter Horse is closer to 45-50mph! Think about that. The Quarter Horse is running almost the speed limit of I-65 inside the city!
It was fascinating to look at the physical differences between the horses. Quarter Horses are shorter, stockier and have visibly bigger hip muscles. Thoroughbreds are taller and leaner and have less muscle mass. And when I say less muscle mass, I only mean compared to the Quarter Horse. It’s obvious looking at them side-by-side. Football fans, think running back vs wide receiver. The running back is always more stout and closer to the ground with massive hip muscles and legs while the wide receiver is taller, thinner and leaner.
A day spent in the barn to learn about the horse, jockey and trainer to understand just how much goes into one race alone was a true treat. As we learned from VP and GM of Racing Eric Halstrom and Horse Racing Analyst Racing Rachel McLaughlin, the difference even shows in the temperament. One thing is for sure, when Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds get ready in the paddock, they know what time it is…time for racing.
Put it on your calendar! The sporting event of the summer! The Indiana Derby on July 7th and live horse racing goes until Monday November 8th!
Watch WRTV for mor episodes of Run for the Money with Producer Kyle in the coming weeks!