18 x 19 x 2.1 ″
"Match Race", pastel on sanded paper, by artist Leonard Jagoda of Waverly Hall, Georgia.
Match races are rarely run anymore; however, when scheduled races do not fit well into the campaigns of two horses whose racing records are respectively dominate, the demand for them to meet calls for a special event. Thus, a match race is arranged and two horses meet head to head.
This painting shows the “matched” horses as they break from the starting gate. Jockeys often refer to the start as "the jump" because the horses literarily do jump out of the gate. You will notice the height of the withers and angle of the shoulders of the chestnut and the highly held head of the gray. This is normally the only time (in a race on the “flat”) where the horses will be in this position. They will level out and run “closer to the ground” throughout the rest of the race.
A couple of details familiar to racing are shown in this painting and worth noting. Both horses have blinkers on, which limits their field of vision. There are several reasons race horses are equipped with blinkers and one is to keep a horse from getting lazy. Some horses lose interest when they pull too far ahead of the pack and they then tend to let up; so many times blinkers are worn by exceptionally fast horses. Secretariat ran the fastest Derby ever run and set a record 31 length winning margin in the Belmont with blinkers on.
Two other details shown are the shadow roll worn by the gray and the tongue tie on the chestnut. A shadow roll goes on a horse that's been shying away from sudden changes in light (shadows) that appear on the track surface. A tongue tie is used on horses that tend to run with their tongue hanging out. It keeps the tongue from interfering with the horses breathing.