2020 THOROUGHBRED CAMPAIGN GOING TO BE A CURVE BALL
We don’t have to go into detail as to why this year has suddenly become one that will be remembered forever. Adversity is part of life, how are you going to deal with it, that’s the real question.
Because of track closures and date changes, the 2020 season will be all about adjustments in the Thoroughbred game. For 145 years horsemen have prepared that talented three-year old for a run at immortality in the spring of the year. Game plans are mapped out months in advance with eyes on a peak performance at Churchill Downs in the Spring. And of course, folks with older horses are gearing up to run their best in the fall of the year at the Breeders’ Cup. All that has now changed.
The Kentucky Derby is now the first Saturday in September. The Arkansas Derby has been moved to the first Saturday in May, Kentucky Downs has changed dates and we don’t know about the Preakness, Belmont Stakes, and Breeders’ Cup. So what does that mean for horsemen?…It means you got to learn to hit a curve ball.
One of the things a hitting coach tells a baseball player is look for the fastball, but be able to adjust for the curve. Any pitcher that throws gas at the higher levels has to have a change of pace. If not, the guys eventually catch up to him and then it is tater time. Stay back and make your adjustments in the timing of your swing. Track it and whack it.
The biggest adjustment here comes for the three-year olds. The Kentucky Derby delay will help some as they are later bloomers while others may be sacrificed as they were the kids shaving in the 8th grade. Here is where it gets challenging. Trainers have geared up for success by doing things a certain way. Either they figured it out from years of experience or were taught by predecessors that had been in the game. All that is out the window.
In regards to the rescheduling and uncertainty, one prominent horsemen recently said “that’s why the made the asterisk”. Given the worldwide upheaval, he’s absolutely right. So for most people, right now it is about staying on that back foot, letting that bender travel, and then getting the barrel of the bat to the ball.