Training Tips: Shipping West for the Breeders’ Cup

September 27, 2019

JJ Graci has won over 1200 races training thoroughbreds and numerous leading trainer titles. He is a regular at Past the Wire and has been here from just about the beginning. JJ weighs in with his Training Tips for us. Add any questions to the comments below and JJ will most likely answer them in future Training Tips.

Is it advantageous to ship to California early for the Breeders’ Cup and why?

This is where the tires hit the road, there are a few questions you have to take into consideration. How far is the horse shipping…what is the weather like and probably more important than anything else is your horse a good shipper? 

Are you going to van him or her or fly them to the Breeders Cup, that’s the question. With that being said depending on how far it is will determine the best option for you. Generally, coming from the East Coast to the West coast you are going to fly them. Not saying you can’t van them it’s just way too far to keep a horse on a van and keep them happy like you want them.

You have to be at Santa Anita by Tuesday if you are going to run on Friday and Wednesday for Saturday. So with that being said you really need to know your horse. Generally you want to get there a week before the race. You need to give the horse a day or so to get over the trip. You are going from one time zone to another and cold to hot. Just like people you get jet lag and off your schedule. Here is where the trainer needs to know his horse some horses love to travel and others not so much. 

The reasons for getting there early would be to train over the track and if need be get a Breeze aka Work into them. I always wanted to get there a week in front and touch all bases. Horses are creatures of habitat and there stall is there safe place. So try and let them be as comfortable as possible like they were in their home stall. 

Let’s face it, your running for a Million dollar purse and in some races… millions! Do the right thing by the horse and give him/her every chance you can to make them comfortable. They’re pretty smart and will adjust to their new surroundings with a little help. Give it to them.

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