The various sportsbook reviews on the market will say that the secret to horse training is not to follow the conventional wisdom, but to establish a great rapport with a horse. Many of the best online betting sites will point out that there are many different paths to success in horse training. The sport of kings is one big extended online poker game in the sense that major investments of money are dedicated by horse owners, but good trainers can provide a high rate of return, and sometimes in unorthodox ways.
For perspective on this subject, here’s an excerpt from an article by Joe Drape of The New York Times from May 21, 2000, when Red Bullet, trained by Joe Orseno’s unorthodox method, upset Fusaichi Pegasus to win the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in Baltimore:
“Orseno’s fitness theory was simple: if a horse couldn’t complete three, four, five easy gallops of two miles a week at say two minutes, then how was it going to go as fast as it could at race time? ‘It’s just like conditioning a human athlete,’ he said. ‘They have to have a foundation or they will come up with nicks and pains.’”
“Four weeks ago, after the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, Orseno and Stronach had to uphold this tenet with a tough decision. Red Bullet, who had not raced as a 2-year-old, had added to Fusaichi Pegasus’ legend by getting beat by better than 4 lengths that day. It was Red Bullet’s first loss in three starts and, though Stronach had never run in the Kentucky Derby, owner and trainer met immediately after the race and decided not to ship to Louisville, Ky.
”’When a horse doesn’t finish well, it takes more out of him than you think,’ Stronach said. ‘I knew then we weren’t going. My heart said it would be nice; my head said not to go.’”
“The trainer who had fine-tuned a European conditioner’s penchant for slow gallops agreed. Red Bullet had lost 16 pounds after the Wood — that day. The Philly fighter in Orseno wanted a rematch; but he knew the colt needed five weeks to grow into his still maturing frame. When he watched Fusaichi Pegasus win the Derby on television, two things occurred to him. One was surprising, the other not at all. ‘I thought I’d be disappointed when they broke from the gate without us,’ Orseno said. ‘I wasn’t. I also knew we had a very talented horse and we weren’t going to duck the winner. Many people thought we were running for second money but I didn’t believe that.’”
“Over those five weeks between the Wood and today, the colt gained back the 16 pounds and added another 10. He also picked up a new rider, Jerry Bailey, who replaced Alex Solis when he decided to take the mount on the Kentucky Derby runner-up Aptitude — a closer who will be at the Belmont in three weeks. ‘They did right by the horse, and not too many people would have done that,’ Bailey said of Stronach’s and Orseno’s decision to skip the Derby.”