Front Wraps, Good or Bad?

October 15, 2019

Received an email from a new racing fan who just started going to the track and betting the races. She told me someone told her never to bet on horses that wear front bandages. 

Here’s the deal.  Many horses run with four bandages, some trainers run all their horses in bandages. Depending on the trainer and who taught them, it’s a matter of preference. 

Horses wear bandages for protection and support, although some trainers do it for show. I’m a trainer that uses bandages when they’re needed. I like to let them run clean legged. I feel the less you put on the horse’s legs the better. 

You may ask why I feel that way. Any time you bandage a leg you stand a chance of the bandage slipping. It takes plenty of practice to put them on correctly. If one puts them on too tight, it’s going to cause soft tissue damage. One can stop the circulation, that alone will stop a horse from striding out. 

I always want to know that a knowledgeable and careful groom puts bandages on my horses for the race.  

One should always train the horse in bandages before they are going to race. Lots of horses won’t run with bandages as they don’t like the feel . There is a chance of changing the horse’s gait (aka their stride). The one thing one never wants to do is shorten the horse’s stride. Horses can find lots of ways to get beaten on their own, let’s not help them. 

While reading  the racing form, and you note a horse is wearing front bandages for the first time (you can see it with a small “f” in the racing lines of the horse), should you be concerned? If I tell you no, I might be misleading you some. Chances are there might be a little change with the horse’s front legs.

Remember what I told you, support and protection, no more than that. If you really like the horse bet on him or her, chances are they are just for support. 
Track conditions may come into play. Some trainers like to put bandages on when they run on sloppy tracks for protection or maybe the surface is more sandy. It’s all a matter of preference, bandages are a necessary evil. 
When you read too much sometimes you talk yourself out of a winner. I hope I explained without getting too technical. See you at the races! , 

Contributing Authors

JJ Graci

JJ was born in Philadelphia, Pa.  and attended Villanova University. He has vast experience in horse racing and broadcasting. JJ has been a fixture in...

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