Dreamspinner Press, EM Lynley

Welcome To A Day At The Derby Giveaway With EM Lynley

To celebrate my newest release, set in the world of Hollywood and horse racing, and in honor of today’s 140th Kentucky Derby, I’d like to share a glimpse at what happens behind-the-scenes at the racetrack.


558001_10201172832436416_855820692_nFor most of us who enjoy watching the race on TV, Derby Day means hanging with some mint juleps until the pre-race broadcast starts and we get the run down on all the runners, their personal stories, the bios of jockeys, trainers, and owners.

But what about the horses? How do they spend the day and the hours lead up to the big race?

While I’ve never been backside (that’s what horsemen call the barn area) at a Derby, I’ll share what a typical race day looks like for a race horse and his trainer.

Mornings are just like any other day and start around 5 a.m. The runners get their usual breakfast of oats, vitamin supplements and a bag of hay to munch. There may be a walk around to stretch their legs, but no workout on race day.

About four hours before the race the official state veterinarian will come by to inspect each runner. He’ll have the trainer or groom jog the horse on a lead to make sure the horse is fit and sound. If the horse is lame, the vet can keep the horse from racing. He’ll also check for signs of any drugs or medications.

Many trainers like to paint the horse’s hooves with a shiny protective coat. A thousand pounds of racing horse puts a lot of strain on delicate hooves and this adds another layer of safety. Then the horse’s legs will be iced down. This prevents injury and inflammation. Most horses, like most human athletes, have slight leg aches and pains. Since the horse can’t communicate, the trainer treats them before and after every workout.

1098027_10201172482227661_18269494_nIf you’ve got a Derby entrant in your barn, there will likely be some press and cameras hovering around, but the groom and trainer will make sure they don’t disturb the runner or any of his stable mates. The hour leading up to the race will be the same for any race, even the Kentucky Derby.

An hour or so before post time, the runners are taken to a test barn. Only the trainer and owner can enter, for security. The horse’s identification will be checked, generally against a photograph, but for a big race, the officials may also check the numbers tattooed on each horse’s lip. Here, blood will be drawn from several randomly selected horses to check for banned substances like painkillers and performance enhancers.

Now it’s time to walk to the saddling enclosure. The horses are still just wearing a bridle at this point and as they make their way to the track they get their post position number affixed to the bridle, and the groom and trainer will walk to the paddock for the horse to be saddled. Here, trainers check the horse one last time and give jockeys race instructions. It’s also the place many people will choose which horse to bet on.

1185016_10201172464507218_1996739507_nYou can tell a lot by how a horse behaves in the saddling enclosure. Watch to see if he’s high-strung or relaxed. A sweaty horse—with dark patches on his chest and sides—is nervous and wasting energy before the race even starts. You’ll see grooms and jockeys trying to keep their mounts calm and focused on the race. Any excitement or stress here can negatively affect a horse’s performance in the race.

Once the jockeys are up, they circle the ring until you hear the horn playing the traditional tune “Boots and Saddles.” Only then do the horses file out onto the track for the post parade as they head toward the starting gate for the race. The jockeys will warm them up with a jog and a gallop to loosen their muscles and get the horse focused on the race ahead.

Thanks for joining me today for a behind-the-scenes look at race day.

If you’re intrigued, you’ll enjoy my latest Dreamspinner Press novel, Out of the Gate. British actor Wesley Tremayne thinks he’s close to hitting the big time—a film career—with his role as a hunky explorer on a popular American TV show. Success should be just around the corner, as long as he keeps his sexual orientation a secret. Wes’s best friend and beard, Julia Compton, forms the other half of a glamorous Hollywood couple that’s merely a façade.

Evan Taylor left his acting career behind five years ago without looking back. He’s always been more comfortable around horses than people—especially Hollywood types. His new life training racehorses is a dream come true, but increasing financial problems and an abusive boyfriend have him doubting himself and his choices.

Then Wes and his friends buy a third-rate racehorse—partially for publicity—and send him to Evan’s stable. Wes’s friendship with Evan soon develops into an overpowering attraction he can’t act on. He’s never met a man like Evan, but if there’s any chance for a future together, Wes must choose between a career he loves and the man he adores.

Buy now from DreamspinnerAmazonAReB&N – and other distributors

Read an excerpt!

EM Lynley is a former investment analyst and White House economist. Now she writes gay erotic romance. She loves books where the hero gets the guy and the loving is 11 on a scale of 10. Her Precious Gems series is best described as “Indiana Jones meets Romancing the Stone”—only gayer. The Delectable series is Gay Romance with Taste. Her books are available in print and e-book from Amazon & other book distributors.

Visit her online WebsiteBlogFacebookTwitterNewsletter


19 thoughts on “Welcome To A Day At The Derby Giveaway With EM Lynley

  1. Out of the Gate is AmAzInG!!! If you haven’t read it yet, to pick up a copy right now. :D I had a blast watching the derby today. I love all those crazy hats, and the horses aren’t bad looking either. :D For the record though, none of the people I saw on the television were nearly as enticingly entertaining as the characters in EM’s book.


    • emlynley says:

      The hats are definitely part of the fun. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book.
      Thanks for stopping by to comment and enter!


    • emlynley says:

      Thank you! This books was such fun to research and I got to spend a lot of time at the track with a wonderful trainer.


  2. Debra E says:

    Thanks for the post. We spend a day at Saratoga Race Track every summer and always make sure to get a seat in the picnic area where we can watch the horses walk from the barn to the track so my daughter can decide who we should bet on by their colors and their spirit. :)
    debdeege (at) optonline (dot) net


    • emlynley says:

      What a fun idea to picnic at the track. How does your daughter do picking the winner? Do you place a bet for her? I remember always asking my mom to bet for me. Once she realized I was doing pretty well, she did and then we’d take our winnings and enjoy a nice lunch out. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences!


  3. TracyG. says:

    I loved Out of the Gate. The story line was brilliant and very interesting from start to finish. I loved the Characters both Main and Sub.
    I enjoyed reading your post about The Derby.


    • emlynley says:

      Hi Tracy! Thank you so much for stopping to read and comment. It makes me so darn happy to hear from readers when you enjoy the book. You’ve really brightened my day!


  4. Christine J. says:

    Please forgive me if this posts twice – I had to change my password :) This story sounds like such a wonderful read. I so enjoy romances that include a horse theme. Thank you for the giveaway!


  5. EM Lynley’s Out of the Gate t-shirt contest is now closed, and the winner’s been selected. The lucky reader who’ll soon be wearing that gorgeous Reese Dante cover is

    Tracy G

    Congratulations, Tracy! I’ve already emailed EM with your contact information, so expect to hear from her soon. :)


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