iTuning into the Triple Crown? New Ear Gear for Racehorses

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Awesome Act, listening to his iPod before the Kentucky Derby, originally uploaded by Rock and Racehorses.

Awesome Act was my pick for the Kentucky Derby and I apologize to anyone who took my advice and bet their lunch money on him. I still think he has great promise--the First Saturday in May just wasn't his Saturday. He had a rough trip in the Wood Memorial, when he pulled a shoe leaving the starting gate but still finished third, so I figured he was a good bet.

But he showed up in the paddock to run in the Kentucky Derby with wires coming out of his ears, looking for all the world like he must have an iPod tucked under his chinstrap somewhere.

I was so happy to see that ace photographer Sarah K. Andrew got a closeup photo of Awesome Act's head for you so you could see this little equipment. I know Zenyatta wears ear plugs too, but Awesome Act's are similar to the ones worn by Standardbreds.

A Standardbred who may need ear plugs has the wires (called "popouts") threaded back so that the driver can give a yank and pull them out after the roar at the start has subsided and the horse is picking up speed. It makes sense that the horse would want to be able to hear the sound of the other horses' hooves.

But where did the wires go on Awesome Act's tack? Does anyone know? Please leave a comment with your best guess!

(From the far-off look on his face it would be easy to think he was listening to some tunes, though...)

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