Standing around and doing little other than looking at the shoes on the horses entered in 8 to 12 races may seem like an easy way to spend an afternoon.
But for paddock farrier Terry Carrier, what starts out as a leisurely afternoon can turn extremely busy and stressful when there’s a shoeing problem.
The Cicero, Ill., farrier has served as the paddock farrier at Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, Ill., for 3 years and has been the paddock farrier for 4 years at Hawthorne Race Course and Sportsman’s Park in Cicero, Ill. In addition, he shoes about a dozen horses a week.
We caught up with Carrier for a few minutes during last fall’s Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championship at Arlington Park. The day’s events included 8 stakes races with a total purse of $13 million that attracted many of the best racehorses from around the world.
A: You look for shoes or attachments that may be illegal for a particular track. Besides protecting the track against shoes that can damage the turf, you serve as a safety valve for bettors so no horse has a racing advantage over the other entries.
You’re looking for blocked heels, stickers or bends that may be illegal on turf. Even if you find something out of the ordinary with a shoe that’s legal, you still report it to the track announcer who immediately informs the betting public of the shoeing changes.
Since each track…