As the Haskell Stakes approaches Saturday, July 22, 2023, at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, N.J., writer Sarah Bloom took Asbury Park Press readers behind the scenes as farriers Al Gomez, Steve Mara and trainer Elizabeth Dobles prepare their mounts.
Bloom, the daughter of International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame member Steve Bloom, pulls back the curtain for the general public regarding the importance of hoof care in the health and performace of these equine athletes.
“The farrier I choose is based on people recommending them … so, if I ask one person and they give me one name and I ask three more people and they give me a different name but all three people tell me the other name, I usually go with the most recommended farrier,” Dobles tells Bloom. “The other one might be a better farrier, but based on experience, somebody that is highly recommended, then they're doing their best.”
Gomez, who has been shoeing horses for more than 20 years, takes the responsibility seriously.
“Especially when you’re shoeing the day of the race,” he says in the Asbury Park Press. “That horse needs to race that day, and you need to make sure it makes it to the race.”