The R. H. Mcdaniel Story: Must Know the Condition Book Race Horse Where He Belongs, Daily Racing Form, 1955-06-06


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r— — The R. H. McDaniel Story 1 Must Know the Condition Book Get to Know-Ailments Quickly Race Horse Where He Belongs Extreme Care in Shoeing Horses By Oscar Otis This is the fourth of a series of articles o/i the late R. H. "Red" McDaniel, Americas leading trainer from 1950 through 1954. In it Oscar Otis, McDaniels friend and confidant, gives the trainers background, his conditioning secrets and his philosophy of horse racing. CHAPTER TV. Yesterday, we outlined the way Robert Hyatt McDaniel, in his own words, outlined the methods he used so successfully in bringing horses up to the races fit and ready. Today, and once again reading from our notes taken with long interviews with McDaniel last winter at Santa Anita, we continue to other phases of successful training. "The condition book, as you know, is the schedule of races published by the racing secretary of the track outlining the different races which will be contested during a giyen period, usually 10 days," continued McDaniel. "While you cant beat the condition book, at the same time, you dont have to take the worst of it. Success at this point rests almost solely upon knowing the true value of your own horse, and racing him where he belongs. "Then, never race one over .his head unless you have to, which you do once in a while because there, isnt a race carded which just fits him. I have, a good idea in any 12 horse race of at least 10 of the competitors we will have to meet, but that isnt intuitional, but rather is just mentally keeping track of the other horses on the grounds as well as your own. "Then, when your horses are fit, run them. You cant win races, or eajn money, by staying in the bam. And as I have pointed out, if your horse is fit, racing-does not harm him in the least. Gets Experience Fast "Training a public stable of at least 45 horses, a minimum figure with me, I do believe that in a few years I get as much experience with equine ailments as some trainers, with only a few horses, would get in a lifetime. Ive learned a lot about illness and injuries. So, as a final word, Id say that it is up to a trainer to keep his horses sound. But fortunately, most unsoundness is only temporary. But the things that can happen! Take for instance when I went to the barn the other morning during Santa Anita and found a horse with a badly filled swollen leg. Couldnt find any rea-sdn. for it. Decided the leg brace we had used was too strong. Ordered horse tubbed in warm water. Next morning, sound again. "Another horse sound one night, so lame the next morning he couldnt walk. No apparent reason. Went over that horse for an hour. Finally found a speck of sand had worked its way into his frog the soft under part of the hoof. Removed grain of sand. Horse sound again the next morning."" McDaniel believed that most equine idio-syncracies fall into only a few general classifications, and he had this worked downrto percentages, too; "In the various types of equipment used," he explained, ►"there are only four major things requiring possible experiment. They are blinkers, bits, tongue ties and shoes. "If Idont know my horse and think bhnkex-s might help, as indicated by shying from objects, dallying to look at the grandstand, or just general skittishness, I always race my horse at least twice with open blinkers, which permits him to see both in front and sidewise, but prevents him from looking back. "If he still isnt cured, I change to semi-cups, which permit him to see only ahead. Usually, that is all that is required. For some reason which has no seeming explanation, some horses just run better with blinkers even though they have no known faults. s "Horses which lug in or out, a bad fault and which can cost a horse many a race, are not hard to cope with. I always use a regular bit, known as a "D" bit. If the lugging is not extreme, I try to cure the trouble with blinkers and a strong rider. If there are still no results, I switch to a prong bit and Ive found that for every 50 horses in your barn, about 10 will need this type of bit. It is persuasive, but not severe. For the few who are really bad, I use a Hall bit, which is severe, but this equipment is used only for severe horses. It is not, however, inhumane, but is nevertheless a strong convincer for the animal. "As for tongue ties, about 20 horses out of every 100 need them. By tying down the tongue of a horse in motion, it prevents him from getting it over the bit, which, if he does, leads to swelling and such discomfort that he cant do his best. Horses do not, as the popular saying goes, swallow their tongues." McDaniel uses extreme care with his shoeing program, but here again, he claimed no miracles, just the liberal use of horse sense. "Ive had more than my share of horses which speedy cut or scalp," added McDaniel. A speedy cut, we might explain, is a flaw in motion which sees the hind hoofs graze the front legs at the exact moment of stride when often four, and quite generally at least three, feet either are on or just a fraction of a second off the ground, A scalping is just the reverse, i. e., when, at To Be Continued.

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