Throughout my career, I have been privileged to jockey some of the best racehorses around. Obviously, this year I was able to ride Big Brown – who took me to my third Kentucky Derby win. And even though I fell short of the Triple Crown in 2008, jockeying Big Brown was an incredible experience. I wanted to talk just a bit about some of the notable racehorses that I was able to ride last year.
During 2007, in addition to riding Drilling for Oil in the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap, Jade’s Revenge in the Grade 3 Ben Ali, and Silver Tree in the Fourstardave Handicap, a Grade 2 horse race, one of the most incredible rides came courtesy of Corinthian, who I rode in the Grade One Metropolitan Handicap. For those of you who didn’t catch the race, let me set the stage a little. The weather and track conditions going into the race were just terrible. Going into that particular horse race with Corinthian, I knew for certain that I was on the best horse in the race. But the problem was, I had never ridden in him in such awful track conditions. That day, the track was just beyond slop. It was kind of like “soup mud.” Before the race, I had no idea how was he going to handle it. I mean, the track was just unforgivable – just terrible! But fortunately, Corinthian took to those poor track conditions like a duck in water. He actually really enjoyed it. A lot of credit for that goes to his trainer Jimmy Jerkens, who had him trained to the minute. When it came time to start that horse race, Corinthian wanted to run so badly! And really, that was the difference. That horse didn’t care what he was running in – he just wanted to run. So he was just running through all those poor track conditions. He wanted to run so bad that I think he would’ve run over glass! But in that race, Corinthian was just in really perfect condition.
Another great experience I had last year was when I jockeyed Sharp Susan at Lake Placid, which was a Grade 2 race. The first couple of times I rode Sharp Susan, she was very aggressive. And one of her quirks was that she thought the race was from the starting gate up until about 200 yards out. She definitely wanted to be a quarterhorse, but was instead a thoroughbred, meaning that she wanted to run short distances. Which was definitely a problem when the race was a mile and a half! But when it came to speed – wow, was she fast! Another interesting fact is that Sharp Susan was my introduction to IEAH, who owns Big Brown. So I owe Sharp Susan tons of credit for creating that “meet and greet” opportunity with those guys.
The great thing about the online racing game is that you can try your luck with some of the great horses that I’ve gotten a chance to jockey. Now instead of just listening to me talk about riding some of these amazing horses, you can get out there and race them yourselves. So get out there and enjoy!