Jockeying for Position
HBO just showed a special on the lives of jockeys, and, as I suspected, jockeys live lives of desperation. Randy Romero, who brought the filly Personal Ensign to her signature win in the Distaff race, was the symbol of what jockeys undergo just to “feel like a king” on the back of a horse with wings for feet. The documentary featured the kidney transplant that this man, after 21 previous operations, couldn’t afford. He, like many other jockeys, practised bulimia on a meal-by-meal basis, endured “hot box” bathing (in which the water is heated to 106 or 107 degrees F.), and was instrumental in bringing up the standard weight for jockeys.
I know I’ll take flack for this post. It’s not that I don’t know about the abuses that go on in the racing world; it’s that I understand that some of us love horses in different ways. Apart from the Mafia, I can’t think of any cultural icon so steeped in power, money, and excitement than horse racing…and therein lies its greatness and its downfall. And this is what that despicable horse trainer and Slaughterhouse Sue and her ilk will never, ever understand…one way or the other.