Different speeds/efforts in morning works?

Event before I got sucked into MRH I did have a few horses in my Equibase stable. Now I have a few more that are starting to arrive at the tracks…

Equibase reports morning works (so far) as Fast, Handily, Breeze.

It sounds like Handily is the ‘fastest’ (most effort)?

Where does Fast fit with breezing slower/less effort than handily?

For those with far more experience than I, how much weight do you place on the level of effort and where the horse ranked of those that were at the same level and distance?

It’s kind of amazing how little work times tell you unless you know what the trainer asked for and watched how the horse did it. The condition of the track also plays a part. Even the ranking is highly dependent on who else was working that day.

Generally speaking, a work that is labeled “Breezing” in most parts of the country means that the horse was galloping full out and being ridden for a good effort. “Handlily” means that the jockey was using the whip (noticeably) to get that effort. In CA, those two designations are reversed, with most breezes being called “Handily” and ones where the jockey puts in extra effort are “Breezing”. (Weird, I know.) I’ve never seen a work called “Fast”. I’d be interested to know where they do that?


I should have mentioned that what you can tell from breezes is a horse’s progression toward its first start. Again very generally, many trainers will start out with a slow 3f, followed by a fast 3f. Then they do a slow 4f, then a faster one. Maybe three 4f works, then a slow 5f followed by faster ones. There will probably be gate works sprinkled in along the way. If you see several good 5f works, probably including a gate work, the horse is probably close to running. (Unless it’s with John Shirriffs and then all bets are off. :smiley:)


Hey! I have a friend who knows John Shirreffs well, and he thinks the world of him! I do think that he has done an amazing job with some very interesting horses. :smile:

Handily and breezing is literally meaningless because it is regional. On the East coast handily means did it easily while breezing means they were set down and asked to run. It means exactly the opposite on the West coast with a mishmash of the two in other jurisdictions.

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I have only seen “fast” used to describe the racing surface. Such as, “dirt, fast” or “dirt, sloppy” or “turf, good.”

Like Laurie said, individual times don’t tell you much, but when taken as a pattern it may give mild insight. Some trainers never work their horses for bullet times, other trainers always do.

And I know some private training centers where the timing of the work is…subjective…and I’ll leave it at that.

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The nice thing about MRH is they include a video of the workouts when possible. That will tell you far more than whatever is published.


You guys are great!!! You let me figuratively stand on the rail and ask questions of people more knowledgeable than I and with the MRH access, getting to ‘see’ things I’ve not ever gotten to see before.

Maybe my eyes skipped a line on ‘fast’.

This is really helpful for me. Yeah, I know different trainers have different philosophies (of which sometimes I garner tidbits from the folks on TVG :slight_smile: ).

I don’t think Equibase reports training center works.

It is fun to see the progression from training center to race track and now i know a bit more about what I’m looking at. Some of the MRH videos are linked to another site so I haven’t seen those.

The ones I am most interested in are the ones that I acquired last fall from the Keeneland Sep sales. They cooled their heels (figuratively) for a while then got shipped to a training facility and now some have made it to a ‘real’ track.

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It depends on whether the training center is certified. Many of them are.

Lots of times, horses breeze at training centers and no one bothers to report the work, figuring that it doesn’t really matter until they get to the track. We do “baby breezes” with the 2yos before they ship to the track, but that’s mostly just so we can see where they are (with regard to fitness and readiness) before they move on.

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Some (many? most?) training tracks don’t have clockers, the trainer just writes in the time and it’s published as an official work.

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Thanks. I know for the babies that have, so far at least, been at the training centers in KY and FL, I didn’t see anything in Equibase.

It was also my assumption that things at the training centers were not near the same level of ‘interesting’ as at a track.

As they are slowly moving from the training centers to race tracks, thought their workout times would become of more importance.

More curiosity as at this point, I can’t change my mind for the ones I do own :slight_smile:

After reading this, I’m relieved that Standardbreds training miles aren’t tracked. Or maybe I shouldn’t be since our fat boy doesn’t train worth anything. Maybe then I’d bet on him.

Fun list of all the training centers that can, theoretically, report works to Equibase:


Although being on this list doesn’t mean the training center is active; it just means works could be reported from there at one time.

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Semi-related question about conditioning a race horse. (Yup, different horses need different strategies, different trainers do things differently :slight_smile: )

I don’t recall seeing longer morning works (longer maybe 6f or more). As a horse progresses in conditioning, the works would get longer? 3f to 4f and maybe 5f? Is part of the conditioning process the gallop before the actual start and the gallop out following?

I assume that more for the sprinters, the morning distances are closer to the afternoon race distances? For the route horses, the morning ‘at speed’ distances would be relatively shorter but overall conditioning would include the lead up and gallop out?

It also seems that most of the time, works in the morning are in pairs with not often three? Ever four?

You’ll often see multiple, longer distances (5 furlongs, say) for babies gearing up for their first race, or an older horse coming off a layup. Once they’re racing fit, they generally tend to do shorter works to tighten up before a race, say. Often, the work is listed as a half mile work but the horse ends up galloping out 5f fast enough to be a 5f work but it’s not recorded as a 5f work. Or they list the work as 5f but it gallops out a mile. Like Texarkana said, you really have to watch it to see what they’re actually doing.

Babies work in groups (2 or 3 usually), older horses work alone or in groups.

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Works sharpen speed, gallops and two minutes licks sharpen fitness.

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