Take "Lines of Battle," a horse that had to get from Ireland to Louisville.
"The transport company in Ireland diverted a plane to depart from Shannon, Ireland, to fly directly into Chicago because there's no direct flights into Louisville," said Matt Haug, director of operations for International Racehorse Transport.
"We transferred him to a private charter, which he was loaded onto and flew straight down here, got here about 2 a.m. and brought him here to Churchill Downs."
The horse then is quarantined for 42 hours and only gets one day to practice before running the best-known horse race on the planet.
"It's by design," Haug said. "They'll come in late like this, so it's under their care for as long as possible. "They found the best way is to fly in and we call it 'running off the plane' and the horse just literally gets here and runs off the plane and before they have a chance to even try to get acclimated."
Haug has seen the approach lead to some big wins, but not the Derby.
The rationale means little to International Racehorse Transport. They do whatever is wanted and needed to get the horse to the race.
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"We organize everything from barn to barn," he said. "We organize the vets, the trucking, the farms, the quarantines, the grooms that fly with the horses, the air freight, the planes, everything that's involved with shipping horses internationally.
The cost for "Lines of Battle" approached a quarter of a million dollars. His handlers basically chartered their own plane.