In the times when dollars and public perception dictates how we handle situations, you sometimes get mixed reviews. In the Kentucky Derby, there was a comment or two that I read about Borel going to the stick too much. I answered, but no one was home. For all of the readers out there that think one more hit can make your horse run better, here is one who didn’t.
Kent Desormeaux was aboard Paddy O’ Prado. He was in the irons for a lightly raced colt, who was on an upswing. The handicappers, media, and even Dale Romans, according to Daily Racing Form, felt that he didn’t finish his mount out completely and was caught in the final strides by the freight train Ice Box.
Desormeaux said that he went to the stick 6 times inside the 1/8th pole, and that every time he hit, the colt seemed to be slowing down. This was exactly my argument, when a respected member of the media called out Borel for whipping too much. Kent said a horse will throw in the towel. His mount was going backwards, and it was at this time, he dug in and went to a vigorous hand ride. This is how they taught riders in his neck of the woods. It happened to be the same lesson the winning jockey knows all too well.
Desormeaux, a three-time winning rider in the Derby, felt as if he did all that he could. Many felt he does not finish his mounts out all the way. He said, “if it is perceived, it is believed.” I can agree to that to a great degree. Many will question you if you win or lose. But when a rider puts the stick away and hand rides his mount home, you should not question his motives. Especially when so much money is on the line. Getting caught at the wire cost him $20,000. I guess he knew his horse was depleted.
If you go back and read my early blog, you will see that I said Ice Box will have 19 reasons for not winning the Kentucky Derby. That would be every other horse he would have to circle. He is like a freight train going downhill. When his momentum was cooking, you just hope you had enough real estate to run. He came up short, and both he and Paddy O’Prado ran respectably. They just couldn’t beat Super Saver out of a cannon, or with a head start. It was his day…
So, for all of the stories you have ever heard about riders doing too much, here is a story that gets one off the hook. The whip keeps their mind on business, and does not make them run faster. Some do, but for the most part it is used to change leads or hold your course. It keeps them focused on business, and not get lost in the crowd. Kent D. did his bidding. He lost by a head, it cost him money, and it has called into play more questions of his ability.
I say good ride, Kent…. You knew when enough was enough, and as a professional rider, I respect your call. I guess if you would have won by five, then there would only be half of the naysayers out there. Just go to work, and stick to your knitting. We’ll see you in Baltimore with a fresh runner.