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The Gallop Out

Its Derby Week and every morning I am reminded that a horse and/or trainer will get 'Le Corna'' for lack of a gallop out.

'Le Corne' is an Italian curse and/or, jinx. The symbol by hand resembles a baseball shortstop signaling two outs to the outfield on a diamond.

I have fond memories of when I took my father to a Jacksonville Suns, Double AA baseball game in my youth, and without exception, when the infielder gestured two outs, he would say "cia fatto le corne". 'He gave them them curse', in translation.

The Kentucky Derby 2021 pre-coverage has introduced the gallop out-mania to their audience.

This week I have heard the reference to the gallop out, ad nauseau, if the gallop out was strong, there would hear be praises for the horse, not much of a gallop out, the horse would be labeled 'disappointing'.

Works are being judged on how strong the gallop out is, or knocked for a lack one, but who am I to correct them, it's a parimutuel game, they can think what they want, but what about you? You don't want to curse yourself with their misinformation.

So, what is a gallop out?

Gallop out is an extension of a work, for example, Todd Pletcher will get half mile official time published, but a good percentage of his horses do much more. They finish up past the wire, 5f and 6 furlongs, that would be good to know.

The half mile is just an official time, and there was much more of the work than the published time.


Horses work from the three, four or five furlong pole to the finish line, that is the conventional way of clocking, assigning times, but the wire is not where the work ends, for most barns.

Horses run through the wire, finishing an eighth or even a quarter of a mile past the wire. The trainer and clocker have a final say on what distance and time gets published. So, if a horse worked from half to the wire in 48.4, out in 100.1, continuing in 112.3, he may get, most likely, only a 48.4.

Clockers call them gallop outs or double gallop outs, as in the case of the 48.4, it would be said he galloped out in 100.1, and double galloped out in 112.3, in clocker jargon.

By the way, I have never heard a trainer say his horse 'double galloped out', for myself, its a continuation of the work.

Horses that gallop out or double gallop out are being asked to do more, going thru the wire, because the trainer felt the horse needed more, for fitness purposes, or in the case of no gallop out, the trainer didn't want to do too much with a fit and ready horse. Some horses can over do it in their gallop outs and go over the top.

The late, venerable, Bruce Headley, would have his horses pull up 5 feet after the wire, whether they went 59 flat or 102. D. Wayne Lukas rarely lets his horses gallop out more than half a furlong after the wire. Brad Cox, on most occasions, on the other hand, likes to send his horses past the wire, a furlong further or a 'double gallop out'.

For example a 1/2 mile time, out 5/8ths and 3/4s with a seven furlong gallop out is Brad's M.O., however, close to the race he won't go overboard on the gallop out. To each of the mentioned horsemen there are exception to the rule.

So, if you don't want to jinx yourself on Derby week, layoff the gallop out mania, its just, yet, another way you can curse your own betting chances.


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John Rok
John Rok
Aug 20, 2022

Your post is so interesting and informative about the Gallop out. For instance, Todd Pletcher will have his half-mile official time recorded, but a significant portion of his horses perform much more. Gallop out is an extension of work. It would be helpful to know how far past the wire they finish, at 5 and 6 furlongs. Now, I am busy finishing an assignment such as process essay structure for submission to the professor. This is a great article. Keep working.

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