by Ed Meyer

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

In the times where money dictates what and how much we do, a man steps forward and bucks the trend. He is like a home-run hitter who will only show up for the playoffs and beyond.  A running back in the NFC championship game on his way to the Super Bowl. King James arriving for game seven at home. Oh, you get the idea… Only the ones that really count.

For 39-year-old Frankie Dettori, there will be no more riding til’ you drop. He instead has decided to ride ’em in the big races, and the weekend stakes. Only the big races for him…..

Dettori decided that his title-chasing days were over after his brutal, 192-winner championship season in 2004. Since then, he has finished 15th, fifth, 17th and 29th in terms of winners. If the championship were based on prize-money, though, he would have finished 10th, first, first and second over the same period. He is still a great jockey riding at the peak of his powers, but he is doing it on his own terms.

By keeping focused and riding when he wants, we will get to see a rider, who is in incredible shape, ply his trade for some years to come. He is not focused on what others want from him, but rather what he wants to achieve. That is incredible as an athlete. To be able to pick and choose will keep him in the game. Sharper, ready, and dangerous… This guy is known for his flying dismount, and I think we will be seeing this for years to come.

I was always of the opinion that the more times you stepped in the batter’s box, the lower your average would be. The same goes for riders who keep pace with jocks half their age. I wonder what would we would have seen if: Chris McCarron, Jerry Bailey, Gary Stevens, and many others would have done this long ago.. Stevens comes to mind as rider who picked and chose late, but maybe the game would not have taken such a brutal toll. So, applaud Frankie. I applaud his discipline, and I think we will be applauding him to the winner’s circle for quite sometime.