race preparation

ECB Equine Spa at Gulfstream Park by Allen Gutowski

A huge THANK YOU to High Tide Equine and Tiffany Milne for taking the time to demonstrate the Spa at Gulfstream Park and for the stable tour... we loved meeting all of the incredible horses too! 

After the horses were done with their treatments, some of us humans decided to give the Spa a try... cold does not even begin to describe the water! 

Trainers Treating the Horses Like Human Athletes by Allen Gutowski

By Matt Hunter
Sunday, July 31, 2016 at 02:33 PM EDT

Destin in the ECB Spa at Todd Pletcher's Barn

Destin in the ECB Spa at Todd Pletcher's Barn

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Racing at the sport’s highest level, the Spa’s signature athletes suffer soreness and tightness just like humans.

That’s what keeps Carlos Melendez so busy.

"15 or 16, 22 a day. I'm a busy man. 5:30 in the morning until when I am done. That's what I do," Melendez said.

Working for 12-time Saratoga leading trainer Todd Pletcher, the 40-year veteran of the backstretch has one job: running the barn’s cold water spa machine.

“This is like therapy like the football players get when they go in the ice tub, this is the same thing," Melendez said.

“We are just trying to keep the legs cold and tight and make sure we don't have any inflammation," Pletcher said.

On this morning, the horse standing knee-deep in the water-epsom salt mixture is Destin, the Belmont Stakes runner-up and third place finisher in Saturday’s Jim Dandy.

"The water is 35 degrees Fahrenheit, that is cold, freezing water," Mendez said. "This is very nice, the horse does not feel it. You and I could not stand in it for five minutes”

“Logistics don't allow us to do it with all of them, but we try to do it after their exercise as often as we can," Pletcher said.

The Pletcher barn is one of the few with its own equine spa machine.

“Most trainers don't have it because it is a lot of money," Melendez said. "It cost $90,000, this one.”

“We decided that we were liking the results of it so we decided to buy our own and it is helpful," Pletcher said.

In a sport where results on the track are everything, Melendez looks at the Pletcher team’s run of six consecutive Saratoga titles as proof that his busy days are paying off.

"A lot of people don't believe in it but it does, it works and I know so," Mendez said.

For full article with video, CLICK HERE

Winning Horse Divisidero Preps for Woodford in Spa by Allen Gutowski

Congratulations to the connections of Divisidero on a Derby Day win in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs! Buff Bradley utilizes the ECB Spas at EquiZone Hydrotherapy with many of his horses in training... including Groupie Doll who was known to frequent the Spa during her racing career. Show below is Divisidero prepping in the Spa the day before the big race. 

Gunpowder Farms' Divisidero edged clear of World Approval in the final strides to win the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) by a neck at Churchill Downs in the race prior to the Kentucky Derby. For full article about the race, CLICK HERE

Horse heaven: Spa days for thoroughbreds by Allen Gutowski

A video overview of Bruce Jackson's Fair Hill Equine Therapy Center in Maryland, including his ECB Spa... truly one of the best places for your race horse!

Fair Hill equine therapy center in Maryland promises to pamper thoroughbreds with a range of treatments from solaria to cold saltwater spas.

The Spa at The Spa - Burke Equine Therapy in Saratoga Springs by Allen Gutowski

Burke Equine Therapy

Many of the best race horses in the world, including Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, will attempt to add to their legacies at this month's Breeders Cup Championships, while others are simply trying to return to the race track. As Time Warner Cable News' Matt Hunter reports, a new facility in Saratoga Springs is helping them do that. Full article and video on TWC News.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Like the rest of us who like to start our days with a little exercise, Dr. Stowe Burke leads a three-year-old racehorse into a specially designed treadmill early Monday morning.

"We can adjust the speed," he said. "We find somewhere in the area between two to three miles per hour to be the most beneficial."

The only one of its kind in the Northeast, the equipment, known as an Aqua Pacer, is by no means your average treadmill. It allows the horse to exercise partially underwater.

"The idea here is we are giving him some buoyancy,” Burke said. “He's 60 percent buoyant, so he is not putting too much stress on that soft tissue."

The runner, who's recovering from a soft-tissue injury suffered in training, has been under Burke’s care for the past several months. Last year, the longtime racetrack veterinarian left the back stretch to open Burke Equine Therapy.

"Mostly people just turn horses out, which has varied comebacks,” said Burke, who could not identify the horse out of respect to its owner and trainer’s privacy. "Yes, sometimes time can heal all wounds, but sometimes it doesn't."

Opened last year on his family's Saratoga Springs breeding farm, Burke's rehabilitation facility also features a salt-water spa that’s designed to reduce inflammation.

"The horses tend to like it,” said Burke, who led the colt into the spa after its 15 minutes on the Aqua Pacer were up. “We only put them in for 10 minutes. The water is chilled to 35 degrees."

His team also makes use of both dirt and turf galloping tracks for horses further along in their recovery.

"We make sure here, whether the issue is orthopedic or soft tissue, to get them to a point where they are sound and they are ready to go back to the track," said Burke, 43, who used to gallop racehorses at Saratoga Race Course when he was younger.

With room for between 16 and 22 horses at a time, Burke's clients include some of racing's top competitors, including Saratoga leading trainer Todd Pletcher.

"As of the spring, 40 percent of the horses that went back to the track won,” said Burke, who’s dubbed his practice ‘The spa at The Spa.’ “That was awesome. We had four winners this summer at Saratoga."

If all goes well, Burke expects the 3-year-old colt to return to training in about two months. The Spa City native says it is that chance to help runners reignite their career that drives him.

"If you are going to get up at 4:30 in the morning, you have got to love what you do," he said.

Burke Equine Therapy

ECB Clients Among Top Five Trainers in the 2015 Grand Circuit Standings by Allen Gutowski

Three out of the top five trainers in the 2015 Grand Circuit Standings are ECB Spa clients... best wishes to Jimmy Takter, Tony Alagna and Erv Miller! READ MORE

Grand Circuit Standings: In 2015, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farm is the sponsor for the 2015 Grand Circuit awards.

Here are the leaders following the past week's action:

Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 849; 2. David Miller - 526.5; 3. Tim Tetrick - 517; 4. Brian Sears - 447; 5. Corey Callahan - 352.5.

Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,109; 2. Jimmy Takter - 762; 3. Tony Alagna - 315.5; 4. Jeff Bamond Jr. - 300; 5. Erv Miller - 216.

Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 260.1; 2. Bamond Racing - 235; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 234.4; 4. George Teague Jr. Inc. - 140; 5. Christina Takter - 131.7.

Matt Gaines Phenomenal Run To Win The Open Finals At El Rancho Futurity by Allen Gutowski

Congratulations to ECB Spa owner Matt Gaines on a phenomenal run with Baby to win the Open Mercuria Finals at the El Rancho Futurity in Ranch Murieta California and tie the highest score ever marked in NCHA history!

Shown: El Rancho Futurity & Mercuria WS Finals Shown by: Matt Gaines Rancho Murieta Equine Center Rancho Murieta, California

Premier Equine Client Texas Red Wins the Jim Dandy by Allen Gutowski

Congratulations to Premier Equine client Texas Red as he wins the Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga today! That pushes his earnings to $500,000 this year in only 3 starts and his career earnings to almost $1,700,000! The 2014 Breeders Cup Juvenile champ ran outstanding today in New York!

Texas Red missed the Triple Crown trail because of an abscess in his right front foot and was rehabilitated at Premier Equine Center in Oakdale, CA. He returned July 4 with a runner-up finish in the Dwyer (gr. III) at Belmont Park. READ MORE

Premier Equine has owned their ECB Spa since 2008 and has recently expanded their facility. To visit their website and learn more about this wonderful facility, CLICK HERE.

                                                                                                  Pat and Amie Grohl of Premier Equine Center

                                                                                                  Pat and Amie Grohl of Premier Equine Center

Karl Cook of Pomponio Ranch Never Without His ECB Spa by Allen Gutowski

Nice article in The Chronicle of the Horse about ECB Equine Spa owner Karl Cook and his stallion Jonkheer Z... 

Behind The Stall Door With: Jonkheer Z

By: Esther Hahn

"Cook swears by his equine spa that circulates cold saltwater, and the equipment travels to shows with Pomponio..." FULL ARTICLE

13 reasons to take your horse to an equine spa by Allen Gutowski

A spa break sounds like heaven to most riders, and horses can benefit hugely from the same sort of treatment. Take Red Rum. Crippling foot problems in his younger years meant he was nearly written off, but daily training on Southport Beach transformed him, said his trainer Ginger McCain, because salt water is so good for legs. And if it’s good enough for a three-time Grand National winner — well, read on.

Bal a Bali wins first race after battle with laminitis by Allen Gutowski

Brazilian Triple Crown winner Bal a Bali made a splash in his U.S. debut, capturing the $100,000 American Stakes May 9 at Santa Anita Park.

The winner of 11-of-12 starts in his native Brazil, the 5-year-old horse by Put It Back squeezed between horses in the stretch under the guidance of jockey Flavien Prat and prevailed by a length over Talco. Gabriel Charles was 1-1/4 lengths back in third.

The trouble wasn't a concern for winning trainer Richard Mandella.

"Yes [he had trouble], but he's a pro," Mandella said. "He's run enough times. He knows what he's doing. [Prat is] a pro, too."

It was not only Bal a Bali's first U.S. race, but it was his first since a battle with laminitis last year.

Read More