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In a magazine-length story at espn.com, Jeremy Plonk writes a detailed and interesting dissection of the trainer change that Jay Em Ess Stable made this week for their stable star Rail Trip, moving from the California barn of Ron Ellis to the New York stable of Rick Dutrow.

Ellis is one of three Jay Em Ess Stable trainers, along with Dutrow and Paul McGee (in Kentucky). The switch with Rail Trip, however, was sufficiently unexpected for all parties, except Mace Siegel, that the situation prompted Plonk’s feature.

Among the many enlightening comments in the piece, I found the following to be especially interesting:

Samantha Siegel, who was highly complimentary of Ellis, credited him with a difficult decision that helped make Rail Trip the star racehorse he has become.  

“It was frustrating that it took longer to get Rail Trip to his first start,” she said. “He had an ankle flare up as a 2-year-old, and even though he X-rayed clean, we gave him time off to be cautious. Then, when we started back on him, the chip was there in the ankle and we rested him again. He’s always been so talented, extra-special, and has gotten special attention.  

“After we took the chip out, Ron said we might as well cut him. The gelding really helped him train. He used to be fast and hot in the morning, and gelding him was like waving a magic wand. He immediately became more trainable; it really worked for him.” 

This comment from Samantha Siegel foregrounds some of the considerations that make the difference in a horse fulfilling its potential and not. And gelding, in particular, is an equipment change that most handicappers seem to ignore but that can be fundamental in allowing a racer to express his potential.