Ellis Park Offers A Behind-The-Scenes Look At Horse Racing
Ever wonder what goes into getting a racehorse ready for a day of racing? Have you ever seen a horse learning how to be comfortable in the starting gate? This Morning, Ellis Park offered a behind the scenes look at what goes into a day of racing.
About 30-40 people came out to hear from trainers about what goes into getting horses ready. The tour started out at the Starting Gate where trainers talked about how a horse is trained to be comfortable in confined spaces. A long time ago, horses would be placed next to exposed metal which could lead to injuries if the animal isn't ready.
However, the metal is covered in padding and horses are watched much more closely. If the horses start bucking around and it appears they possibly injure themselves (or jockeys & trainers), they are marked by race officials so that they get more training time in the gate.
Horses are also taught to move when a gate is open in front of them. Common belief is that the bell would startle the horses and cause them to bolt out of the gate. The bell was actually used to alert mutuel works to stop taking bets for that race (in the time before computers).
The tour continued to the "Track Backside" which is where the horse stables are located. Horses typically get time on the track early in the morning on race day. Check out the video below to get a little more information about Backside prep.
Some Animal Rights activists have blasted horse racing tracks for past animal treatment.The tours at Ellis Park are aimed at dispelling some of the rumours. Kentucky State Veterinarians and other state officials make sure that horses aren't mistreated. Lots of attention is given to horses by owners and trainers to make sure they are in the best possible shape for race day.
Jennie Rees, who helped to organise the tours, says that based on today's turnout they are hoping to do more tours. She encourages families to come out and learn more about a great Kentucky tradition and to help spread the word about the benefits of having horse racing in the Tri-state.