BOZICH | Kentucky Derby human remedies and crazy training tips
Before Rick Bozich came out of his feed bucket for Kentucky Derby 142, but the McLaughlin brothers and a Churchill Downs security guard stepped in with human remedies and crazy training tips.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – We’re four days from Kentucky Derby 142, and I’m already coming up lame.
A security guard saw me limping (slightly) on the backstretch and directed me toward the office of Dr. Alex Harthill, the late veterinarian for Derby stars, across from Gate 5 at Churchill Downs.
“Tell them you want some Harthill #19 (gel), the stuff that worked for Sunday Silence,” he said.
I don’t have to beat Easy Goer over a mile-and-a-quarter Saturday, but my right ankle has needed an icy wrap from the moment I stepped in a mole hole while shagging fly balls at a softball park.
“You’ll feel better by Derby,” the security guard said.
Or I’ll be running for a $7,500 claimer tag.
It turns out that horses are not the only creatures being trained Derby Week. Eliminating aches and pains is a way of life at the race track.
I dropped a pen in the tack room at Kiaran McLaughlin’s barn the other morning. The trainer and his brother, Neal, double-checked their stop-watches for the official clocking on the time I needed to fetch the silly thing:
McLaughlin’s colt, Mohaymen, will run the Derby faster than I picked up that pen. The Daily Racing Form had me in 2:02 and change.
Nobody would describe it as a bullet workout – a development that the McLaughlins, being serious trainers, quickly recognized.
In fact, their expressions suggested they had witnessed the slowest two minutes in sports. Actually, Kiaran McLaughlin looked as if he was tempted to dial 9-1-1.
“Do you always have that much trouble picking things up?” he asked.
People sometimes ask what makes the Kentucky Derby different from other major sporting events. Consider this Example A.
Can you imagine Gregg Popovich breaking the routine of a Q & A for a media training tip – and Pop attended my high school?
“No,” I said. “It usually takes longer. Especially after I’ve walked several miles. I’ve never been considered Triple Crown material. Ask any coach.”
“You need a stretching program,” McLaughlin said.
Others have suggested a stretcher. Take your pick.
McLaughlin knows stretching. Every morning, before he drives to the track, McLaughlin does not leave his hotel room until he has finished a rigorous stretching routine of 15 minutes or more.
Eighteen years ago McLaughlin was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a harsh and degenerative disease that disables your central nervous system.
Training a string of horses is a physically demanding task for young and vibrant horsemen. Reporting to the barn every morning with MS is a relentlessly daunting challenge for McLaughlin, who is 55. There has to be an easier way to remain in the game that the trainer loves.
Kiaran McLaughlin does not complain. He stretches – and goes to work.
The McLaughlin brothers recommended a series of books written by Pete Egoscue, the trainer who helped golfer Jack Nicklaus solve his creaky back. Kiaran McLaughlin shared a series of stretches and exercises from the Egoscue collection.
Kiaran works on a different set every morning, recording the data in his iPad.
“Great stuff,” Kiaran McLaughlin said. “It’s really helped.”
Neal McLaughlin recommended, “Pain Free,” and “Pain Free Living,” two of Egoscue’s early books. These guys win races. They can train me any time.
I bought “Pain Free.” I’ve done some stretches. My flexibility is improving.
Thank you, McLaughlin brothers. Your attention to detail will have me including Mohaymen in my exotic Derby bets. Book it.
Thank you, security staff. I visited Churchill Veterinary supply, Harthill’s old office, this week and exited with a bottle of Bigeloil Liquid Gel, an analgesic that claims to be “excellent under wraps.”
I will get the mile-and-a-quarter on Saturday. Now, can anyone tell me why I’m craving oats?
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