Living The Dream

by Ed Meyer

posted on March 28, 2009 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

I was chatting with a small time trainer the other day. He will never be at the Breeders’ Cup unless he is in the stands. He has paid his dues, and paid his way for 30 years. He still has the gleam in his eye, and looks forward to traveling to the next meet.

Funny thing, if you walk into most racing offices around the country, you will find more bachelors married to their work. They have a race meet at one track, and travel to the next. From what I have gathered over the years, they would have it no other way. A racing secretary once told me, ” he has no time to get married and have a family.” They spend too much time on the road, and it wouldn’t be a good match. I had to ask him the million dollar question: “Do you want to find a stay at home position?” The answer was swift.  “No way….” Just a little chapter for those who put on the game. Oh, there are those who are happily married and travel with family. But the overall feeling of this traveling man is that it is easier, and they would have it no other way.

Back to the trainers. They measure the seasons by where they are shipping their horses. Some can tell wonderful stories of having the family on the road; some have a home base. But they love what they do, and they send their runners to where the best opportunity would be to win. The better trainers have assistants, and the smaller stables do everything from yo to go with their runners. I have heard stories and met big namers who do quite well. I have also found trainers who sleep in the stall with their runners. The common theme? They love what they do for a living.

When you see jockeys making the rounds, they are independent contractors. They pay their own insurance, pay a valet, pay their agent and pay their own taxes. Tough game. They have to reduce to keep trim and fit, and sometimes find meals far and few between. I have had the honor of speaking with Triple Crown winners to the rider who picks up 2-3 mounts a week. The common relation? They love what they do.

So the next time you go to the races, just think about the folks who are living their dream. Some in a mansion, and some in a trailer. But all in all, they love what they do for a living.