|Keeneeland Racecourse in Kentucky has a Polytrack all-weather surface that has been used by trainers as a test for a few horses each week to run without shoes.|
And it’s not every day that a horse with no shoes wins a race.
Because if one did, you'd probably have read about it here.
Rice was doing much better with his unshod starters in the spring Keeneland meet; this fall, they’ve been up the track until the aptly-named senior citizen (by track terms) Tahoe Warrior set his bare hoof on the Polytrack today.
This was Tahoe Warrior’s 15th start in 2013, and his sixth win this year; it was his 16th career win. He's earned more than $60,000 since January and has won almost $500,000 in his career. In 2010, he won the $100,000 Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint on the grass at Calder in Florida after being claimed for $20,000 from leading New York trainer Linda Rice. And he’s still running. He was twice the age (or more) of most of the 11 other horses in the race.
It was a seven-furlong claiming race for a $10,000 tag if anyone wanted to take Tahoe Warrior back to a different barn, or take him home and turn him out.
No one did.
But I wanted to write what will probably be the only article that anyone, anywhere will ever write about this old horse, whose name may or may not ever show up in a racing form again. But if it doesn’t, he left the game a winner, and a lot of people who follow odd statistics--like shoeless starters on Polytrack--will know old Tahoe Warrior's name.
• • • •
Horses running at Keeneland are taking advantage of the track surface and are not likely part of a holistic hoofcare regimen. It's interesting to see how these horses do.
|A shoe identification board at Keeneland identifies most of the shoes that might be seen under the horses in a race, but it doesn't mention that a few trainers race horses without shoes.|
Photos by David Paul Ohmer, Skpy, and Lisa.
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