Tag Archives: training

Worth the Trip

The night we were loading up to head south for our annual trek to Cagnes sur Mer in the depths of darkest January, I was thinking to myself, “I’m not doing this again. This is too hard on everyone.”

First came two stalls packed to the top with everything we need to train and race 10 horses for six weeks. Water buckets, feed buckets, saddles, bridles, rugs – oh, the rugs. Winter coats for cold nights, lighter polars for sunny days, exercise sheets, rain sheets, presentations sheets, saddle cloths…it was endless. And of course, the hay steamer had to go. And the wheelbarrow. Forks, brooms, bandages….and then, of course the horses. After nearly two hours of loading, we were exhausted and then we had to get US down. Two by train, one by car, baggage wherever it would fit.

But then Cagnes works its magic. We arrived to full sun, palm trees, an azure sea, mimosa about to bloom – a fabulous place to work. By the time the horses were tucked in their new boxes, our tack and feed rooms set up and we were installed in the sun at the cantine around a great lunch and a bottle of rosé any doubts about the trip were far behind us. The weather cooperated this year, unlike last year, when we were pelted with endless days of rain. The horses, for the most part, cooperated, too. They did what they were supposed to do. They soaked up the sun, ate like they were on vacation and worked like champions. We won three races and placed six times, for total earnings topping 65,000 euros and our best meeting so far in the five years I’ve been making the trek.

There were some disappointments, of course. Barbe a Box never ran a decent race and his owner got fed up and moved him to another trainer. Fair enough, but the horse needs gelding, and until that happens, I’m not looking for a miracle on the racetrack. We had to stop with Pahlavan because his wobbler’s syndrome made him too dangerous to continue. Gorki Park told us yet again that while he is fine with sun, he doesn’t like the sand. And Risk Well Taken is still fighting with us about whether she wants to be a racehorse. The jury’s still out on that one. But the others picked up the slack. Ray of Hope won his comeback race and then won again, just to make sure he’d keep his place in the first string. Not to be outdone, King Driver came up with the goods, and Moughjim, Eternal Gift and Impulsive American all took home checks.

When the season ended, we didn’t want to come home (not least because it meant packing up everything we’d brought down). But it wasn’t just the wonderful weather that was making us drag our heels. Last year, when we got home almost everybody got sick, horses and humans alike. It took us six months (and a hay steamer) to get the ship righted. Reality and the racing calendar meant that we had to go home, so we did. But what a difference a little sun makes. This year, everybody got home same and healthy, and we saw the proof yesterday at St. Cloud: we scored our first double when King Driver and Gorki Park both won their races, taking advantage of the fitness they build in Cagnes. Moughjim also was in the money again in Lyon. Only Ray of Hope told us he really didn’t want to leave Cagnes. He was never traveling when he ran in Deauville last week, but the fiber track there is a considerably harder surface than the track in Cagnes, and he never found his action. We’ll try him on a yielding turf course and he’ll find his winning form again.

We’ve had five winners so far this year, which puts us ahead of all of last year, and we’re just getting started. Spring is finally coming to Paris, and we’re ready for la vie en rose!

November: Why?

When T.S. Eliot penned “April is the cruelest month,” he obviously had forgotten about November. But then again, he probably wasn’t involved with racehorses. For those of us who are, November has to be the most miserable time of the year. The days are so short that you start work in the dark and you finish in the dark. Thankfully, this year hasn’t been nearly as cold and snowy as last year, but it has featured bone-chilling high humidity. A thick fog has blanketed Maisons-Laffitte for the past few mornings, and it gets heavier in the hour after sunrise, already the coldest of the day.

The horses don’t appreciate it much, either. They change their coats, pushing out winter wool, which we then have to clip off so they can work and sweat without catching cold. The heavy rugs have come out, but get alternated with the lighter polar fleeces during the day, because the winter rugs are too hot in the afternoon. Changing their clothes three times a day adds to the work load, and wiping all the runny noses and seeing to the coughs and sneezes are keeping us running, too. It’s the time of year when we need to decide who should push through a winter campaign and who needs a break. The turf racing is almost over, and the all-weather races in Deauville and Cagnes-sur-Mer are ahead.

We’re counting the days until Dec. 21, when we start to add back those precious minutes of sunlight that make such a huge difference. By then, too, the horses will have adjusted to winter. The coughs and niggling health problems that come with the change of season should be behind us – to some extent, it seems we’ve already turned that page, because most of the horses seem to be coming up in form. All that Vitamin C and echinacea extract has paid off.

Satwa Sunrise has started galloping without the aid of Lasix, and seems to be completely fine. We haven’t done head-to-head work with her yet, but will start that next week, and she should run in two weeks (or at least she has an entry – we’ll have to see if she gets in. Magical Flower seems to be recovered from her brush with a cold, and even Triple Tonic seems back in form, except that she popped a splint on her near fore and will have to have an easy week to let it set.

Deep Ocean is a lovely horse, and the infiltration and Tildren treatment seem to have made him pretty comfortable. He had a gallop yesterday that was quite impressive, and I’m looking forward to seeing him race in December. He has to switch boxes and go to a bed of shavings, though, because he has threatened to colic twice in the past week after trying to eat his entire straw mattress.

Little Milly (Surrey Storm) is giving us no trouble at all, and seems to be balancing up a bit better. Hard Way is training up so well I’ve had to cut his feed back because I can’t hold onto him any more. He was supposed to be spending the winter as essentially the stable pony, and he’s only eating pony food, but he thinks he’s ready for Longchamp. I had forgotten what a magnificent stride he has – even going slow he opens up huge distances from the others. Anyway, we’ll try to keep him turned down to simmer for the moment.

The enigma has been King Driver, who just doesn’t seem to have a great immune system. He ran two nice races, but then we had to give him a flu shot, after which he promptly got a fever and a cough. Just when I’m ready to pick up the phone to call the vet to come and geld him, though, he seems to stage a miraculous recovery. He’s not quite 100 percent yet, but he’s fighting hard to get there.

Pretty much everybody can race in December, I think, and then we need to decide who goes to Cagnes. Strictly Rhythm will come back into training in December to get ready to go down south, and Sunrise, Magic and Milly will probably also go. Deep Ocean can’t because he can only run left-handed (Cagnes runs right), but King and Triple can go if they are healthy. I have six boxes, so the final roster will wait awhile to be determined.

Meanwhile, dreaming of Cote d’Azur sun will get us through November, which, apologies to T.S. Eliot, really is the cruelest month.

Oh (expletives deleted)

It all started with a f*cking flu shot. A day later, Triple Tonic started coughing. No big deal, we thought; she’s a two-year-old having a bit of a reaction. A little vitamin C, slow down for a few days and it will all be fine. But she didn’t get better. After about two weeks of intermittent coughing, in a completely unrelated incident, she decided to unhook her metal water bucket with her head, necessitating five stitches (and a change to a plastic bucket). Fine. She had to have antibiotics for this, so maybe we kill two birds with one stone and clear up the cough. One week and seven injections later, her head was perfectly healed, but she was still coughing, and the stuff coming out of her nose was not pretty. A sample was sent off to the lab, the vet was sure he had the right antibiotic and we started again. Ten days later, no change. Off to the clinic for a scope and possibly a head x-ray to make sure it wasn’t in her sinuses. Bad scope, but clean sinuses, another lab test and a third kind of antibiotic. No luck, but poor Tonic was starting to feel like a pin cushion.

Meanwhile, despite doing our best to keep her isolated and disinfect everything that came in contact with her, King next door started coughing, and Rue B down the line thought she might join in. We put all the horses on a course of a broad spectrum antibiotic to try to contain things. I have never, ever done this because I hate to compromise the immune system and contribute to the development of resistant strains of crap. But this time it seemed called for. Triple Tonic, meanwhile, will move to the country tomorrow for an old-fashioned, unpleasant but effective treatment: The “abces de fixation,” a provoked abscess in the chest cavity that draws all the nasty stuff into it and is then drained. It’s akin to leeches, and for me it is definitely a method of last resort. But pumping more chemicals into this poor filly’s system just seems the wrong way to go.

King obviously is a scratch for his debut tomorrow; we’ve given him a second dose of Iodure, an IV iodine designed to clean out the respiratory system. He will be rescoped on Thursday, when we’ll send swabs to the lab. So far, it looks like we might catch him before it’s too far gone. He’s also more advanced in his work, and might have a stronger immune system. Let’s hope. Rue B, too, seems to be fighting it off. For now, all the horses that have raced seem fine. They are tougher and older, so they might not come down with…whatever it is this is.

 

 

Press

Gina RARICK in the news


By John Gilmore

Gina Rarick doesn’t mince her words, as readers of her online blog will testify. The American journalist who became a French racehorse trainer has strong views on all aspects of the sport – from the struggle to make ends meet in Europe, the problems of being accepted in France and the admin issues at France Galop to the medication situation back in the U.S. – as John Gilmore found out in this recent question-and-answer interview. Thoroughbred Racing Commentary – August 14, 2015

Vichy : Ella Diva remporte la dernière listed de plat

By Céline Maussang

Ella Diva reste invaincue et décroche sa première Listed à Vichy. Achetée à réclamer, elle empoche le Prix des Jouvenceaux et des Jouvencelles. Equidia Live – August 2, 2015

Gina Rarick descend son écurie à Vichy

By Kristin Odegard

Le Festival de Galop de Vichy est devenu incontournable, pour les professionnels comme pour les amateurs de courses hippiques. Cette semaine entièrement dédiée au galop a été bien préparée par Gina Rarick qui descend plusieurs chevaux, avec la nouvelle arrivée Ella Diva en attraction. Equidia Live – July 18, 2015

Carnet de piste ELLA DIVA – Gina Rarick

By Equidia – July 17, 2015

Rencontre avec Gina Rarick à Maisons-Laffitte

By Equidia – July 17, 2015

Un entraînement avec Gina Rarick

By Sonia Donadey

Après les coulisses de l’hippodrome (lire nos éditions précédentes), voici les coulisses du centre d’entraînement. L’Américaine Gina Rarick possède une écurie à Maisons-Laffitte. Courrier des Yvelines – April 13, 2015

Aspiring women in horse racing with Gina Rarick

By Lissa Oliver

American Gina Rarick, a former international horseracing journalist, has been training racehorses in Maisons-Laffitte, France, since 2002. 46 percent of her runners were in the money in 2013, and that percentage has been rising steadily for the past four years. Total earnings for the yard have already topped €750,000. Gavelhouse.com – March 1, 2014

Miraculous Hard Way Continues to Win

By John Gilmore

Hard Way, an 8-year-old gelding who made a remarkable recovery from a crushed vertebrae in 2010, is continuing to amaze French racing fans.

Routine On U.S. Racetracks, Horse Doping Is Banned In Europe

By Eleanor Beardsley

At the famous Hippodrome de Longchamp just outside of Paris this month, crowds came to cheer and bet on the sleek thoroughbreds that opened horse racing season by galloping down the verdant turf course. NPR – April 23, 2013

Hard Way Back

By John Gilmore

As the horses galloped up the finishing straight in the 2,400-meter (11⁄2-mile) Prix de la Lomagne Handicap at Saint-Cloud on a gloomy, rain-sodden evening May 5, Hard Way cruised to the front, eventually winning as he pleased. Racegoers enthusiastically cheered his every stride to the wire and beyond. bloodhorse.com – May 15 2012.

Guest Post: A Hard Way to Own a Racehorse

By Mark Cramer

Film directors take note–Gina Rarick is an unusual character and in the treatment we also have a most unusual horse: Hard Way. No novelist could have conjured up a more symbolically accurate name. In August 2010, after 16 races, Hard Way endured a crushed first vertebra and was basically lucky to be alive. Rarick sent the horse to friendly pastures, gave him time off. Treatment involved only one pharmaceutical product, Tildren, for improving bone density. Thoroughbred Daily News – Thursday, May 10, 2012.

Lettre ouvert aux lecteurs de Jour du Galop

By Gina Rarick

Avant de devenir entraîneur professionnel en 2008, j’ai été journaliste pendant plus de 20 ans et je collabore toujours à différentes publications, dont le New York Times. L’année dernière, c’est avec fierté que j’ai écrit un article sur le système français de mise à la retraite des chevaux de course, conjointement mis au point par France Galop et la Ligue pour la Protection du Cheval. Ce système a fait l’admiration et a été envié par de nombreux lecteurs américains qui se désolaient de la triste fin réservée aux champions de leur côté de l’Atlantique, du fait de l’absence de tout régime de mise à la retraite. Jour du Galop – Lundi 1er Fèvrier, 2010

‘I like taking a cast-off horse and turning it into a winner’

By John Gilmore

As the horses galloped to the turn at Chantilly racecourse, shooting past the grandeur of the Château de Chantilly and into the home stretch, a dark brown filly, easy to recognise thanks to the small diamond of white hairs on her forehead, surged to the front of the pack. To the shouts of the crowd, and urged on by her jockey, she raced past the post in first place. The French Paper – January 2010

A Profile of Trainer Gina Rarick

By Mark Cramer

You will not have heard of Gina Rarick because she trains in France, and in fact is the only American trainer operating in that country. However, the handicapping portrait of this best-kept secret in the training profession can be applied universally wherever races are run. American Turf Monthly – December 2009

Heartland transplant now has French accent

By Alan Shuback

She is racing’s American in Paris. Or, to be more specific, racing’s American in Maisons-Laffitte, the training center west of Paris where she maintains a string of American – and British-owned horses, the only Yankee — male or female — currently training in France. Daily Racing Form – Sunday, November 29, 2009

Le parcours atypique de Gina Rarick

Le parcours de Gina Rarick est un des plus atypiques. Cette Américaine de 46 ans a commencé à monter à cheval à 30 ans, ne connaissant rien aux courses. “Je suis la seule Américaine à entraîner en France. J’ai décroché un permis d’entraîner en 2001 avant de devenir entraîneur public en septembre 2008, suite à un licenciement économique qui m’a permis de me jeter dans le grand bain.” Le Parisien – November 25, 2009

Rarick finds success in France

By John Gilmore

Former Turf writer Gina Rarick has only been training in France professionally for a little more than 18 months, but the American-born former International Herald Tribune editor has proven as adept with horses as she was with a pen. Thoroughbred Times – October 17, 2009

Paris People: Gina Rarick, Racehorse Trainer

By Adam

A woman in a male-dominated business is not a unique situation, but an American woman in the very closed world of French horse racing is certainly a more unusual proposition. I met with the racehorse trainer Gina Rarick who gave me an insight into both the sport and how she has managed to find her place in this business. Invisible Paris Blog – September 20, 2009

Biography

Gina Rarick has been training racing thoroughbreds in Maisons-Laffitte, France, since 2002, alongside her work as a journalist at the International Herald Tribune. In March of 2008, she decided to leave her career in journalism to devote herself to training full time.

The results have been more than solid: 50 percent of her runners are in the money this year. Earnings per year have topped 200,000 euros for 5 years (including 2017) and total earnings for the yard have topped 1,750,000 euros.

She has earned black-type with a Listed race win for Ella Diva and a Listed race place for Alice’s Dancer.

Raised on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, Rarick attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and began her career in journalism at the Milwaukee Journal in 1984. As turf writer for the Herald Tribune, Rarick covered major race meetings around the world, including the Dubai World Cup, Royal Ascot, the Hong Kong International Races, the Breeders’ Cup and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

She rediscovered her rural roots in Chicago, of all places, by taking weekly riding lessons at a downtown carriage-horse stable. The attraction to horses made the move with her to Paris, and she continued riding at clubs in the Paris region before discovering thoroughbreds after moving to Maisons-Laffitte in 1999. She was a latecomer to racing, riding her first race – a winner – in 2001 at the age of 38!

RATES:
Training fees are €55 a day. That amount includes everything except shoes, veterinary and racing costs.

Our Stable

The Gallop France Stable

Gallop France is a boutique racing yard in Maisons-Laffitte, just west of Paris, with a limited number of horses in training. Each animal receives individualized attention, with a diet and training regimen tailored specifically to the horse.

Our owners get the same attention, with our staff available to answer questions and provide full information on your horse and make sure the race-day experience is a memorable one.


 

The training center in Maisons-Laffitte

 


 

The hippodrome at Maisons-Laffitte

Come Racing in France!

Discover the fun and excitement of thoroughbred horse racing in France, where big purses and low training fees combine to make this country one of the most attractive in the world for horse owners.

Explore our site for details, and contact us to discuss ownership opportunities.  Visit the blog of trainer Gina Rarick to keep up with all the latest happenings in the stable.

Why race in France?

Prize money in French racing is among the highest in the world. The winner of a mid-level race will take home between €9,000 and €15,000, compared with £1,000 to £1,500 in the U.K. In addition, French racing offers premiums to French-bred horses that add 64 percent to prize money for two- three- and four-year-olds, and 43 percent for five-year-olds and older.

Costs are comparatively low. French racing authorities subsidize travel expenses for horses, there are no entry fees for non-pattern races and jockey fees are minimal. Training fees in our yard are €55 a day excluding shoes and racing costs. That means no extra fees for things like rugs or nutritional supplements.

Another factor to consider: France does not allow any medication in a horse’s system on race day. That means lower vet bills for owners and sound, drug-free horses.

Come racing in France –
we’ll have a bottle of Champagne on ice for you!

2017 Winners

Deauville

 

Cagnes-sur-Mer

Orpello pulling away from the crowd in Cagnes. (Scoopdyga

 

King Driver taking the Prix du Lavandou, February 8, 2017. (André VIGUIER)

 

Quiet Zain held on to win the Prix Polygone Saint Jean, February 11, 2017. (André Viguier)

 

Moujhim winning the Prix Janine Lefevre Winkfield February 12, 2017. (André Viguier)

 

Mouhjim winning again in the Prix de Carpentras, February 20, 2017. (André Viguier)

 

King Driver winning just ahead of Grey Sensation in the Prix de Marseille Vivaux February 27, 2017. (André Viguier)

 

Fontainebleau

Avenue du Monde had enough to win the Prix des Hauteurs de la Solle, March 17, 2017. (Scoopdyga)

 

Compiègne

Bleu Astral winning the Prix de l Aisne in Compiègne for High Street Racing, March 27, 2017.

Vichy

Copper Baked won the first of the double on the last day of racing in Vichy.
Avenue du Monde wins again in 2017, this time in Vichy.