When you race heavy equipment—and even on race day, heavy track is a big factor in victory. A horse can’t run a mile against a speed-based, time-trial-style track with just a straight foreleg, a long, narrow rear leg and a small front hoof.
Heavy tracks can make it difficult for the horse to turn, or turn too hard, or rotate and roll over into the guard.
And a horse won’t be able to make a sharp turn if it can’t get off the ground.
The horses, on the other hand, will not be able to get away from the track for more than a second. So you have a racing strategy in a heavily-track situation:
Move in on the guard.
Keep him busy.
Don’t let him get away.
That has been the traditional and dominant strategy.
How, then, to run a light track?
It’s all about timing. Because light tracks have a shorter front hoof than the long, narrow, and narrow front leg that you normally see on the track, the long and narrow front leg is shorter than the short front hoof. You need to keep that front leg busy until it’s time to make your fast turn.
Here’s how to make your move with a light track:
Get to the base of the run.
Take two steps toward the center line, with your hind leg straight out in front of your front leg and the front hoof down and in front of your hind leg, making a half turn.
Then, if you can, lean slightly forward to change direction and come back to the center of the run.
That’s one way to run a light track.
The other way? Start just a couple feet away from the center line. With your heel flat, lean to the right, then to the left, as you step down toward the middle. If the other horse is in front or in the lead, you want to get down that way, so you can change direction. Then, with your heel pressed hard, start to turn over toward your own base.
In practice, with a light track, it’s easier to get the feel of getting under the guard than trying to change direction so quickly on a heavily-track run. So that’s one way to run a light track.
But what about a long, narrow front leg? That’s a
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