Kentucky Derby Contenders…… Jockeys??

Do you ever wonder how important are the Jockeys?  What makes one jockey better than the other?

Kentucky Derby Contenders…. Jockeys??????  Let’s talk about it…

In my opinion, experience is at the top of the list. A jockey that has ridden many different horses with a high percentage of winners.

Jockeys are independent contractors who are employed by owners and/or trainers to ride their horses. In turn, the owners and/or trainers hire jockeys through the jockeys’ agents.

Soooo, the trainers usually want a jockey to, at least, breeze his horse once before the big race to see how the two get along.

The Kentucky Derby Contenders will have some of the top jockeys in the nation aboard for the Run For the Roses.

In the upcoming Kentucky Derby, there are two jockeys that have won the Run For the Roses three times.  Keith Desomeaux who will be aboard Dullahan in 2012 and Calvin Borel on Take Charge Indy.

Many jockeys ride “first call” for some trainers and/or owners.  This means those trainers and/or owners get first shot at a jockey’s trip aboard their horse for any given race.

The very top jockeys often can pick and choose the horses they want to ride and naturally it will appear that they have chosen the best.  Interesting, isn’t it?

All the picking and choosing is not over for this year’s Kentucky Derby.  There are several horses that are, either sharing the same rider, or a jockey has not yet been declared.

…and don’t forget, the final list of 20 horses to run in the 2012 Kentucky Derby has not been cast in stone.  Look for that to happen next week.  ……

What a year ….. and what a marvelous group of 3 year olds ….. this has been.





Chronicles of Jack the Horse – Part II


Pat Cole

Quarter Horse Champion: Jack and my daughter

Kim & Jack the Horse - Notice ribbon hanging on saddle

One day, I had caught my horse, King Joe Doc, and put him in one of the stock pens intending to ride him later.  A horseshoe on the end of a piece of chain acted as the latch for the gate.  It could not be reached by a horse on the inside of the pen.  After a bit, I looked out and saw that Doc was out.  I went out and put him in the pen, again.  There were no other horses anywhere around and once more I put him up.  The third time it happened, I caught Doc one more time, but this time I slammed the door to house as if I had gone in, but hid around the corner.  Sure enough, within a few minutes, here came Jack in a dead run.  He flipped the latch off with his nose and took off to hide again.  That horse could open any gate, no matter how fool proof you thought the latch was.


One afternoon we came back to the ranch to find our two stallions together, fighting like tigers.  After we broke up the fight, we found Jack in one of the stud pens with the gate shut.  He had opened both gates, let the stallions out and then gone in and closed the gate behind himself to watch the fight.  When horses were found in different stalls than they had been left in with all the stall doors open, you always knew Jack had been there.  If you wanted to keep Jack from opening doors or gates, you needed to use a large Master lock and be sure to take the key with you.


We took several horses down to Sabine Pass on the Gulf of Mexico to swim in the ocean.  They all loved it except Jack.  Apparently, he felt like he had lived 20+ years without ever swimming in the ocean and wasn’t going to start then.  No amount of coaxing would get him in the water, so he was taken back and tied to the trailer.  Jack was as good at untying himself or slipping a halter off as he was at gate opening.  Very shortly, I looked up and there hung his empty halter.  That day he wasn’t enjoying anything we were doing, so off he ran.  We chased him through people’s carports, down the road, up the road, up and down the beach, until he got tired of playing with us and he went back to the trailer to stand by his empty halter.

For more stories about Jack click here.


Lava Man…A Great Horse Story

Lava Man

Yesterday I wrote a tease about, Lava Man, and a most unusual situation. A champion thoroughbred who in his retirement chaperons younger thoroughbred from the stables to the starting gates and back at Santa Anita Race Track in California. The 11 year old retired Champion with over 5 milliom in Grade 1 stakes earnings seems to enjoy his new career.
Jennie Rees , winner of 3 Media Elipse Awards, has written an article for The Courier Journal. A brief excerpt is included below.

ARCADIA, CALIF. — The most accomplished horse to step onto the track shortly before today’s $750,000 Santa Anita Derby will not be favored Creative Cause, though the race favorite is a multiple graded-stakes winner who has never been worse than third.No, the distinction belongs to the stable pony accompanying second choice I’ll Have Another, who captured the Grade II Robert B. Lewis in his last start at 43-1. The pony will be the 11-year-old Lava Man, a $5.2 million-earner who won seven Grade I stakes, including the Hollywood Gold Cup three times and who remains the only horse to win a Grade I race on dirt, turf and synthetic. Continue here:



Quarter Horse Champion: Jack and my daughter

Kim & Jack the Horse - Notice ribbon hanging on saddle



Pat Cole

          I didn’t know Jack in the Spring or Summer of his life.  I married into his family when Jack, the horse, was 15 years old.  He was a handsome, well made unregistered horse, standing about 15 hands tall, he was brown with a blaze face and socks.  Jack was a heck of a roping horse and had done well in Working Hunter classes.  His IQ may have been the highest of any horse (and a lot of humans), I ever met.

We took Jack to our ranch in Junction, where he wasn’t really fond of the hard work of climbing up and down the sides of the canyons, but he loved living down in the river bottom with the rest of our horses.  My step-daughters rode him when they visited, but he developed a limp during round-up one year and we just couldn’t find anything wrong with him.  He would seem to be fine, but as soon as he was saddled, he would limp on his right front foot so bad, we were afraid he was going to fall, and whoever was on him had to get off.  This went on for the entire summer…. and we still hadn’t found a cause.  One day, all the horses came up to water near the house.  They came flying up in a cloud of dust.  Jack didn’t know anyone was looking, so there was no limp.

I walked out the front door and yelled, “Jack, you old fraud.”  The minute he heard my voice, he started limping so badly it was all he could do to get to the water trough.  About that time, one of the mares pinned her ears, bared her teeth at him and turned to kick.  Jack spun out of her way and ran off a few steps with no limp….. then he saw me watching and immediately started limping again… only, he limped off on the wrong foot.  We still couldn’t ride him, because he wouldn’t give up the limp.  Finally, after several months of not riding him, he forgot his limp…. but he still had plenty more tricks in store for the humans in his life.

I decided I wanted to learn to ride a jumping horse, so I put the jumping saddle on Jack and off we went to the river bottom to jump over a few logs.  Well, the old devil would gallop very nicely up to a log, take a couple of short strides and pop straight up and over…. making a 6′ jump out of what should have been a little 3′ hop… Of course, that would leave me way behind the saddle, sitting on his butt.  I’m sure I heard him give me a horse laugh.  A little bit of that and I decided to stick with my western saddles…. and Jack went back to his idyllic life of retirement.

For more stories about Jack click here.


Secretariat vs Man O War Who was the greatest??

All you engineers, this is question for you. This video offers a unique approach to answering the question of which horse, Man O War or Secretariat was the greatest race horse. Almost 60 years separate the feats of the two horses. Track technology…. Horse shoe technology …. Veterinary medicine…electronic timing devices.. the list of developments and improvements in the world of racing goes on. Of course, it is a question that can never be answered, but will be argued by racing fans forever. At the end of the day, with the two horse’s statistics, what do you think?