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Move That Horse

A couple of high profile horses in both breeds are apparently moving barns. It's one of those "owner decisions" we see and hear so much about.

In harness, Finley reported Golden Receiver, the $2M plus winning nine year old, has been moved from Mark Harder to Jake Huff.

In Thoroughbred racing, Normandy Invasion is supposedly going from Chad Brown to Larry Jones.

NI's owner summed it up this way:

“I have moved Normandy Invasion over to Larry Jones. I consider Chad Brown a fine trainer and a personal friend, but we just haven’t had the right luck together with Normandy, and I need to try something new.”

Some might think this is blowing smoke, but I would wager it is 100% true.

When things are going poorly for a horse or a barn, the "move" often happens. The first move is to fire the pilot, and when that doesn't work (it almost never does), the CEO of the airline goes. It's rarely anything more than what it is on the surface - like Porter says let's change up the "luck".

I remember chatting with a top trainer at Mohawk who I've known for years. He had a falling out with a driver and changed the pilot. The driver was not particularly any better than any of the other top ten or so at the track, or any track - most are interchangeable at that level as we all know. The new driver drove fine, but the stable was a little cold, horses were up in class, they got some bad posts, the usual barn ups and downs. He went back to the old driver because "we seem to have good luck together." It didn't make sabermetric, five-thirty-eight sense; I don't think it does very often.

Horses confound us, and we are always looking for answers. If a horse races poorly on the lead once, he suddenly, "needs to come from off it" and is raced like that for months; until some guy who didn't get the message takes him to the lead and wires them. A horse races sick once, but no one knows it. The next start a piece of equipment is changed and he races better. "He did not like that equipment I guess"

It's a tough game, so when someone changes trainers, I would submit it's rarely anything personal. It's just the way it goes.


Comments

Tinky said…
It was definitely personal – and fully warranted – when Edmund Gann took his horses away from Frankel after a long, largely successful partnership.