Migratory Patterns: Following the Horses, Following the Sun

Pointing the way out of the Oklahoma Training Track at Saratoga Race Course

All traffic this way . . . out of town, that is. It’s not just the birds that travel south, it’s the horses. And with the horses go the trainers, and with the trainers go the barns and all their trappings. Here at Saratoga, the migration south (mainly to Florida) begins just after Labor Day, when the meet ends, and it continues until the end of October when the Oklahoma training track closes down for the season. Every day another horse van leaves town and another shedrow lies empty, resting for the winter.

Shedrow at Oklahoma, at rest.

It’s a huge undertaking, moving a barn. Every  stall screen and mat, every brush and blanket, every bridle and hoof pick–not to mention golf carts and office supplies–all of it must be packed and carted the 1,000+ mile trip to Florida.

Barn Supplies, ready to go.
Waiting for the van...

One might think that this move provides an opportunity for a break, a day off. On  the contrary, it makes for longer, busier days on both the shipping end and the receiving end. Training doesn’t stop just because there are vans to be loaded . . . or unloaded.  Whether headed to Tampa Bay Downs or Gulfstream Park, Payson Park or Palm Meadows, it’s all just another day at the office, so to speak.

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