Claimed for $16k and Sets a Track Record Just 28 Days Later

This is a great example of a young trainer schooled in the science of equine exercise physiology beginning to make a big name for himself, congratulations to Mr. Chris Crocker. I often get asked if I can recommend a US-based trainer on the East Coast who uses heart rate/GPS technology in his conditioning program – here is your man.

In a race taken off the turf, VA-bred Chedi sets one mile record on the sloppy main track at Colonial Downs in 1:34.79. Video here:

Straight from this horse trainer’s mouth/blog:

“You must find your horse’s optimum cruising speed to fight high lactate levels, which results in muscular fatigue.” – So true, this is termed V200 on this blog. Training at this pace, which is different for each individual horse, greatly improves stamina in the presence of lactic acid. You can’t eyeball this speed, the important stuff is going on inside the horse and is objectively quantified by an onboard HR/GPS monitor. If you leave this up to the horse (especially a maiden), you are almost always going too fast.

“Train your horse’s muscles specifically to the distances they are running. The shorter the race distances, the more you work on 3f sprints to maximize the fast twitch muscles. You should sprint your horse more than once a week at 3f or less.” – Again, the ‘4F every 7 days’ approach may be fine for a huge stable, but the smaller guy can individualize workouts to maximize potential. Sprinters at 6F benefit greatly from short, frequent works. See a world-class Australian sprinter training a single furlong in 10sec:

“The longer the race, the more 2 minute miles and cardiovascular fitness should be practiced. Weekly workouts of 5 furlongs are usually best mixed with long slow gallops and lots of jogging.” – Seattle Slew was famous for a daily half hour of jogging in the chute before completing his gallop/breeze work. You must not overlook these slow (boring) foundation miles in your horses competing at classic distances.

“Don’t waste your time or money on the latest fad in equine sports nutrition. Stick with what you know and what is backed by some sort of scientific research.” –

“Heart monitors can be used to determine peak performance as well as blood test to determine performance levels. This ensures peak performance health of your horse and readiness to race.” – Subjective opinion via traditional horsemanship is a vital component of conditioning success, but not to the exclusion of modern technology.

Chris Crocker best exemplifies the ThoroEdge motto: “Where the Art of Horsemanship Meets the Science of Equine Conditioning.”
Look for much more success from this young trainer and his charges in the near future.


About bpressey

Equine Exercise Physiologist

Posted on July 25, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. More information on Chris and the obstacles he has faced in his life:

  2. Years ago, I believe back in the 80’s a gentleman named Tom Ivors wrote a book called the Fit Racehorse” In it he advocated “Interval Training” and was of course vilified for his positions. Lost in the “horses can’t take this kind of hard training” attitude was Mr. Ivors insistence of using sicientific training as humans do. No Drugs! I remember his illustrations with the “jet fueled horse” No, he advocated the use of things like heart rate monitors, etc., proper feeding and of course monitoring of the lactose levels!

    Kudos Mr. Crocker!

  3. Amen, Amen, Amen. A very well known horseman told me one of the main reasons so many horses bleed and “require” lasix these days is because they are not fit – they do not have a foundation of long slow miles. Your $10 / head freelance gallop boy is not going to spend the necessary time on a horse to get it fit, they want a quick trip and off to make their next $10. It is not their fault – but I would not have a trainer who did not have salary excercise riders. It is worth the extra day rate.

  4. What is one definition of fitness? Crocker’s claimers often come back after a race (on Lasix) ready to resume speedwork in 4-5 days, vs. the typical 10-14 days required by most other US-trained thoroughbreds.

    • They did not even publish all the workouts . I actually worked Chedi a half in :50 and finished it in :36 three days before the 2 races and 3 days after the 6f and5f work on the turf. He worked 2x a week typicall 6f, then 4f. In additon to the workouts, there was a few 2 min licks, at a mile and one, 3 mile, gallop. The high heat index kept his LSD training down to a minimum this summer.

  5. 2nd in The Van Clief Stakes! on July 30th 2011.

  1. Pingback: Dutrow Wins King’s Bishop on Short Rest with Claimer « ThoroEdge Equine Performance

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