LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Like any athlete, a good horse has to have a good shoe

And that is why when Todd Pletcher needs his horses taken care of, he goes straight this father-son duo.

He asked 'Ray, can you help me out?” recalls 84-year-old Ray Amato Sr. “I said, ‘this guy seems like a nice guy.’ I’ll take the job.”

That was 21 years ago. Ray Amato has been with Pletcher ever since.

Together with his son Ray Jr, 58, the two prepare every one of Pletcher’s horses for race day and that includes the three he’ll start this Saturday at the Kentucky Derby.

“Can we help a horse win?” asks Ray Jr.  “What I like to say is we can help a horse run as well as his ability will let him run.”

The Amatos have got things down to a science.

“If we can make him comfortable, it’s better for us,” says Ray Jr.

Shoeing each horse takes around 25 minutes. The process, says Ray Sr, is very similar to a manicure.

“Shoeing the horse is just like a finger nail. If you trim it correctly, then it’s fine.”

Is the job dangerous? Oh yea.

“You don’t want to be kicked,” says Ray Sr. “No one wants to be kicked.

But when done correctly, great things can happen.

“We are going to win it again this year,” says Ray Sr.

They have the tools but most certainly, the Amatos have the talent.

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