Some people say I'm a little cocky and a little conceited. I just say I'm talented. Just like other sports, the top players (or athletes) are sometimes perceived to be a little conceited. The truth is, I'm just confident. What can I say? I'm good. There are a lot of people out there who want to be jockeys and never get a chance to race one horse. Then, there are a lot of jockeys out there who are jockeys by name, but really never get to ride any champions or race in any of the big events, let alone win three Kentucky Derbys. I mean, think about it. The Kentucky Derby is the Superbowl of horse racing. I've got three of those titles under my belt. Yes, there's always luck involved in horse racing from every aspect, whether you're an owner, trainer, jockey or bettor. It always involves some luck, but at the end of the day, you've got to be good to be a constant winner.
Having confidence on the track and off the track is easily detected by the owners and trainers for whom I ride. Yes, some people may complain every now and then, but the truth is they love that confidence I have because they know that drive in me, that deep-down desire to win every race I can, will help their horse get to the winner's circle. I mean, come on, I missed two Triple Crowns - one by a nose and one due to one of the best horses I ever rode having a bad day. I always say, life is what you put into it. Work hard, in my case, ride hard and you will reap the rewards. My career, like most good athletes, has had its ups and downs. But, what matters to me is that when I'm up, I'm enjoying it with my family and friends, and when I'm down, I'm looking forward to getting right back up. There's never a guilt trip here. I'm always looking at the glass half-full. In fact, I want my glasses to always be full.
I cannot tell you how many races I've ridden in when I've even surprised myself on how I was able to get the horse across the wire first. And, sometimes it's luck, but it's also about those split-second decisions with no hesitation. Again, I guess it's all about the confidence and experience of trusting your own instincts.
But, enough about me. I can talk about me forever. Let's talk about you, my fellow jockeys. I've looked over the leader board and I see who are the current hot jockeys. I look at all these current stats as nothing but maiden races. The only stats that will count are the ones you achieve when the tournaments start here in a couple of weeks. Let's see how you do with a little pressure. Let's see how you respond when the stakes are high and the entire community is watching. Then we'll know who the hot jockeys are and who the ones are who need to go back to the Grade B tracks and perform in front of an audience of 15 people, and probably ride the horses that are retiring after that race.
The real excitement here begins with the tournaments. Do you have ice in your veins? Can you remain calm and cool? Can you find racing room along the rail and be patient, or are you going to lose control and swing seven wide in the final turn and go nowhere in the stretch? I cannot wait for the tournaments to get started. I'll be watching you guys, complimenting those who truly have that natural ability to win. I'll be criticizing those who do okay when it doesn't count, but outright choke when they're running in the big races - or should I say big tournaments?
Now that it's the slow time of the year of us, expect all of our jockeys to be more active in the community.
P.S. Chantal tells me she wants my pink helmet! You guys let me know if I should give it to her.