May 4, 2012 8:16 PM by Erin Steuber
Two Louisiana natives, Calvin Borel and Kent Desormeaux, are competing in the Kentucky Derby tomorrow. Twenty-one horses will line up at Churchill Downs in Kentucky. A horse trainer at Evangeline Downs tells us what it takes to make horses derby ready.
Horses begin training within their first years, typically starting at 2 years-old.
"Some horses are smarter than others, and you know basically, if they do everything right in about 120 days you can have one to the races," said Terry Vance.
Vance has trained horses for 25 years, and trains 25 horses at Evangeline Downs, starting each with the basics.
"Track time, she goes to the track 4 to 5 times a week," said Vance. "She is taught the gates. She doesn't know anything about the gates, doesn't know how to run, you just have to teach them. There's just steps you take."
Trainers say it's all about consistency. The horses are kept on a schedule in and out of training.
"They get fed 3 times a day, 3 meals a day, they get groomed twice a day. They get take pretty good care of," said Vance.
Racing is a combination of luck, training and care. Something that may surprise you, no horse is trained with a specific rider in mind.
"A jockey, he might in one race, he might be exercising 3 or4 horses in the same race. Naturally he's going to choose the horse he thinks he's going to win on."