Monarchos, the Kentucky Derby winner, simply melts when a kind of helmet is fitted over his gray head and a constellation of tiny lasers massages his powerful neck and spine. His legs are pulled and his neck stretched by a licensed chiropractor. Acupuncture has helped relieve stress on his ankles and hindquarters. And he is devoted to what his trainers call ‘’the chi-gong machine,’’ an ultrasound device. (ed: infrasound)
‘’Within two minutes his eyes gets soft, he yawns and goes into La-La Land — just like a person getting massage,’’ said Yvonne Azeff, an assistant to his trainer, John Ward.
The colt cost $170,000 as a 2-year-old but is now worth at least $30 million as a stud prospect by virtue of his victory at Churchill Downs in the fastest time since Secretariat’s legendary run in 1973. Mr. Ward, a third-generation horseman, says that Monarchos is a ‘’superstar athlete’’ and that such athletes — like Shaquille O’Neal, who thrives on eastern medicine — deserve such treatment.
‘’You keep superstars healthy and happy,’’ said Mr. Ward, who spends $50 a day on his colt’s new age therapy. ‘’You pamper them.’’ And, he said, ‘’I know it’s cut down on the amount of anti-inflammatory medicine we use.’’
Still, there are skeptics. The trainer of Point Given, the Preakness winner and likely co-favorite with Monarchos for the third leg of the Triple Crown, prefers the age of reason over the new age. ‘’I don’t use voodoo,’’ said Bob Baffert. ‘’When I want to pamper my colt, I give him mints.’’
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