The myths in horse racing run deep. One myth is that jockeys don't love horses because they beat them and abuse them and so on. Another myth we will tackle is the jockey isn't trying on the horse and therefore not trying to win. These myths are absolutely untrue and we will dive into that and prove our case here. The first place we will start is with the whip itself. Yes it can look and sound awful sometimes but it really is used for the safety of the jockey and horse. If you ask any jockey about the new whip rules (Limits when and how many times a jockey can use the whip) they will tell you that these rules do not help either the jockey or horse when it comes to safety, it only makes it more dangerous. That is because most horses rely on the sound and force of the whip for direction. Then you look at the horrible spills sometimes and you go how can the jockey get back on another horse after a horse they were riding just got injured or euthanized. Well it's all in the job and one part of the job jockeys wish didn't happen. If you think about it in our daily lives most of us drive everyday and sometimes bad things happen. We witness bad crashes or sometimes are even involved in them and when able we drive again. Like jockeys this is just a normal part of our lives and we continue doing what we know even after bad things happen.
Jockey Tyler Conner with Moorsetown Jackie
A few weeks ago I was texting Golden Gate's leading jockey Kyle Frey when he told me that he took a header and fell off a horse. When I said, "well I hope you are ok", his reply in summary was "I was good I was more worried about the horse once I knew I was ok." I thought it was amazing that he just fell off and he was thinking about the horse right away. Another example of this unselfishness and care for horses comes from a story talking to Penn National's 2nd leading jockey Tyler Conner. He sent me a couple of signed pictures, one I was going to give away as a prize and one I was going to keep. When I told him I don't know which one to keep and which one to give away he made my decision easy with his reply. "The Santa Anita picture will mean more to other people and it was a stakes win but the Penn National one means more to me", said Conner. The Penn National one was Tyler on a horse named Moorestown Jackie. This was Tyler's favorite horse, highest earning horse, and his 11th and last win on him before he went west. He also gave him a forever home on his farm when he came back east. Unfortunately, the horse passed away last summer. It was a refreshing story as you realize that these horses do have more worth to people than just racing. You may wonder well where does the love for the horses come from? In most cases, and definitely these two jockeys for example, they are around horses from birth as their family was involved in horse racing. Kyle's grandfather was a jockey and his dad was involved as a trainer, exercise rider, and a valet. Tyler's mom was a jockey and steward while his dad is a trainer.
Jockey Tyler Conner rides Moorestown Jackie to Victory at Penn National on Aug 19, 2017
Do you ever wonder why sometimes a jockey looks like they aren't trying to win while riding a horse? I know, I know, it must be fixed or the jockey must be getting paid off right? In most cases this again is simply untrue and the answer is no. The jockey knows the horse better then anybody and it just simply means the horse has nothing left and it would be dangerous to keep whipping and riding the horse hard. Jockeys want to win every race but their #1 goal is for all the horses and jockeys to finish the race safely. This is also sometimes why you may think why the horse didn't do this or that. Well, sometimes it is just safety or the jockey feels the horse won't be able to do it. It is easy in everything to play Monday morning quarterback. Again, this goes back to jockeys love for horses. There are so many more stories out there that prove the jockeys love horses. Here were just a few and the most recent from myself. Do you have any stories of jockeys love for horses that you would like to share? Please email them to me at [email protected].
Jockey Kyle Frey with Wife's Horse "Squirrel"