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In response to Frizztext’s Story Challenge, Letter J, this week on Flickr Comments at  http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/  I thought I would write a little piece (no pun intended) about Jockeys. Not the kind you wear but the ones who ride horses.

Every year since 1985, the year that the grandstand burned down, we’ve made at least one or two trips to Arlington Park to watch the horse racing.

Mum loved going there (not that she was a betting woman) just because it was a nice day out. My youngest daughter enjoyed the excitement of the race and the fact that we used to let her pick a horse which, if it won, usually netted her a whopping prize of 50 cents. I know! We weren’t exactly setting a good example but it never went to her head. Her method of picking the winner was invariably whichever horse jockey Pat Day was riding and he quite often came up trumps!  In 1989 he won on 8 of 9 mounts in a single day at Arlington and  has ridden winners of US Triple Crown races 9 times so he seemed like a pretty safe bet.

Pat very often got a mention in E’s daily journal at school along with another favorite, Earlie Fires, and I’m sure her teacher must have got the impression that we frittered away a good deal of our time at the track.

After Pat Day reduced his number of rides at Arlington and later retired in 2005, with a total of 8,804 winners to his credit, we were rather at a loss to know how to go about picking likely winners. That was when E suggested that we select the jockey with the most fashionable colors!

Now we peruse the program, not to check out form, but to see what the jockey is wearing! Never mind if the horse looks like its next stop might possibly be the glue factory, so long as his rider is attired in something eye catching!

“Oooh, look!  He’s wearing a pink shirt with green stars and an orange hat!  Cool!  He’s sure to win!”

Sometimes it works but mostly not! Where’s Pat Day when you need him!

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