Pixie ran 4th of 17 runners today in her first race back since January, and while I had hoped she would win, she ran probably the most relaxed, best race of her career. Her gallop was relaxed and steady, with no pulling, which is a miracle for her. She has a bad back, and she tended to want to bowl along out front in her previous races; she won wire-to-wire in Maisons-Laffitte last year and was beaten in races since because she insisted on trying to do it again. But today, she sat in the pack and finished very well, which is really encouraging for the future. She decided to take a big breath just as the pace quickened in the stretch, then was blocked when she had the gas to move. When she did find room to run, she came on wonderfully and fought back to steal fourth place by a head. She recovered quickly and came home well, so it seems we’ve done our work with her and now can finally enjoy it!
The strategy for the race was really just to see how she wanted to run it. I told Nadege that if she needed to go to the front, go ahead, but see what was best for Pixie – the primary objective was not to fight with her and see how she wanted to run. She is a very touchy – but talented – horse, and it’s best not to get in the way sometimes. So given that, I’m really pleased she ran correctly and relaxed. While this race was just a low-level claimer, it was a big step forward for her in running style and I think we can look for better things to come. (It also, despite being the easiest race on the card, was the fastest mile of the day at 1 minute 38 seconds.) We will probably try her at a slightly longer distance next time out, possibly 1,800 meters in Chantilly on July 27th if she rebounds well.
0 Replies to “Pixie's comeback goes well”
Sounds like she’s on the right track and her next win is only a few days away. Always great reading through your blog, I really wonder why other trainers don’t dare do the same. It helps punters and racing fans understand more of what it takes to get horses ready for racing.
All the best.
Congrats on her good showing! About her back issue – a tough situation – and just curious if there is much therapeutic equine chiropractic work done in France as there is here in the US (mostly for sport horses, not so sure it’s as big at the track). Not suggesting she could be remedied, but just wondering if it was something considered and whether that could help her stay comfortable (along with the obviously beneficial remuscling you’ve already done for her).
So enjoy reading your blog and your very wise approach to your horses. Wish there were more horsemen/women in US racing who “get it” as well as you do!
Leslie – Thanks for the kind words. Yes, equine osteopathy is very big here, and I use them when I need them. Cape Tycoon, who has knee issues, needs to be cracked back into place pretty regularly because he compensates by putting too much weight backward. Also, the new filly Blessing Belle seems very out of place behind and she’ll be seen on Monday by an osteo who also does acupuncture. Pixie doesn’t really need the osteo because she is actually very supple and straight. Her problem is that her spinal processes touch near the withers, so the only thing that can really help is a good solid layer of muscle, which she has built up quite well. Riding her in the big endurance saddle also has done wonders. That saddle is designed to distribute the weight of the rider beyond the 13th vertabrae rather than over the 9th, like most exercise saddles. It’s been a real miracle for her.