Much of the East Coast is dealing with a record-setting heat wave, and the horses are the 2011 Belmont Stakes are no exception. With temperatures nearing 100 degrees in New York, Thursday's racing was canceled and trainers struggled to keep their horses cool and hydrated.
Shackleford exercised at 9 a.m. before returning to his barn for water and a cool-down.
"He sweats a lot when it's hot," said Dale Romans, trainer of the Preakness winner. "That's good. He'll cool down faster that way when he gets some water."
But Dr. Michael Lindinger, a professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario, says that all this heat may be good for the horses, in the long run.
... exercise in heat is important and helpful for these horses, increasing their circulating blood volume up to 20%, as long as they are properly cooled and rehydrated. While Asmussen said Nehro would know how much water to drink after a workout, just as any human would, Lindinger contends otherwise."
The key, says Lindinger, is for trainers to get the horses completely hydrated state after each training workout.
Fortunately, rain Friday night ill bring cooler weather in time for Saturday's race, with temperatures in the 70s.
Look back on our 2011 Preakness StoryStream to get up to speed To look back at the Derby, check out SB Nation's 2011 Kentucky Derby StoryStream. Also, our horse racing blog And Down The Stretch They Come has two must-read resources for Belmont fans: A Beginner's Guide To Following Horse Racing and a glossary of horse racing terms.