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Jack Darling's Blog


Decision Made Easier For Me

Published: June 17, 2009 9:36 pm ET

Last Comment: November 26, 2009 4:30 am ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

My plan this week was to train St Lads Popcorn a big mile early on Tuesday morning and make a decision by 10:30 on whether or not to enter her in the Fan Hanover stake.

The decision was made easier for me when she tied up on Monday morning for the first time in her life. Tying up is a huge problem for horses, especially mares and as all the trainers out there know it is very perplexing for us. I have double jogged Popcorn all her life to try to prevent tying up. By this I mean that I jog her one mile, bring her back to the barn, stand her in the stall for about 20 minutes and then go back out and jog her 3-4 miles. This has worked very well for me over the years but this shows that it is not fool proof.

The good news is that she didn’t stiffen right up like they usually do. She was just acting a little “crampy” but her blood sample showed that she did tie up. Possibly the double jogging prevented it from being more severe. I am convinced that a lot of our tying up is caused by changes in the barometric pressure. Monday was one of those humid, muggy days and I have found that these are the dangerous days for tying up - especially on a Monday when they didn’t get jogged the day before. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that there was a higher % of tie ups in our area on Monday.

As a result, Popcorn will miss the Fan Hanover and hopefully be ready for the Sires Stake the following week.

I was very happy with Carnivore’s effort in the Burlington. He is coming into the NA Cup in good shape but I feel he has to keep improving to be a major factor in the Cup. I am taking a little bit of a gamble by putting four aluminum shoes on him for the first time this week. Generally the aluminums will help a horse by being lighter, more grab on the track, less wasted action and possibly a little more reach in their gate. I had success doing this a few years ago with Gothic Dream and Northern Luck. It is a little risky doing it so close to a big race like this because some horses just can’t handle the aluminums but the Lord hates a coward. I have been very happy with the way Carnivore has been acting with them so far.

Stonebridge Terror went a respectable mile in the Burlington only beaten 3-4 lengths and after the race I thought that he probably just wasn’t quite good enough to beat these top horses. Mike Saftic came off the track and said he just wasn’t himself in the stretch and didn’t kick in like he has been. He was confident that Terror is better than that effort and that something was bothering him. If horses could talk it would be much easier for us, but they can’t so we trainers have to try to figure it out. My determination was that his feet were bothering him so I did some vet work on him on Monday and entered him in the NA Cup.

Terror is acting fine and hopefully the work we did on his feet will help him. If it doesn’t, then I wasted $8,000.00 on the starting fee.

November 26, 2009 - 4:30 amJack, Are you selling ST LAD


Are you selling ST LAD POPCORN? Do you think he will be a great sire? I think he would be a nice outcross sire.

Would you sell him be before the Meadowlands sale? As we could be very interested.

If you were to stand a sire what horse would you stand.

Let me know Jack.


June 22, 2009 - 8:27 pmHi Jack: 'Hijack' ... jeez,

Ralph Sucee SAID...

Hi Jack:

'Hijack' ... jeez, I hope the FBI isn't monitoring this site!!

It was so nice to read your comments, and know how very open and honest you are about just a few of the many mysteries, complexities and challenges faced by trainers. "If they could only talk ..." - Could even begin to count the number of times we've said that?

In one blog-note, you covered your approach to preventing tie-up ... the rationale for aluminum shoes ... and the importance of communication between driver and trainer. GREAT PR - I hope everyone in the sport reads it;-)

And I think I better call you for a Tips N Tale soon (before you give them all away)??

Sorry the colts didn't fare better for you on Saturday - and hope they're both okay.

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