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Whoa, Buttercup: 9 Badass Moments in Jockey History

by: Howard Cosmell On  Monday, November 8, 2010
Tags:  Breeders Cup   Chariot   Crash   Fight   Horse Racing   Horses  

jockey history
As the recent Breeder’s Cup has shown us, much like a rabid toddler, a jockey can be small, yet vicious. The throw down that took place after the race is evidence that emotions can run high between jockeys during such intense competitions. However, jockeys needn’t punch each other to prove their toughness. As the following list of horse-riding related accidents and incidents demonstrates, these guys are best-case scenario “tough” and worst-case scenario “insane” for competing in the face of such frequent violent misfortune. Scope it out below.

9. 2010 Breeder’s Cup

Calvin Borel and Javier Castellano poured their little hearts into fisticuffs following the 2010 Breeder’s Cup in which Castellano interfered with Borel’s mount a little more than a quarter of the way through the race, presumably hindering Borel’s progress. Considering the stakes and intensity of the relatively short races, it’s little surprise that the relatively composed and gentlemanly guys often come to blows over the suspicion of malfeasance. Borel and Castellano both made up quickly after the race, despite Borel having to be restrained just minutes prior. They were hit with $7,500 in fines between them and were benched for the next week or so. Time and money well spent in the often-anticlimactic world of horse racing.

8. Chariot Race Blow-up

Because race promoters with a Charlton Heston fetish continue to feel that standard horse racing is WAY too safe for both rider and horse, chariot racing has somehow persevered as a legitimate sport, despite the fact that it offers some of the more spectacular-looking crashes in the world of sports. Take the danger of horse racing, add seated jockeys trailing in what are essentially just tripping mechanisms, and you’ve got a recipe for…this. Fortunately, the horses and riders escaped with minor injuries, but that has to be due to just dumb luck. Right?

7. Philadelphia Park Jockey Fight

This might not be the most compelling fight of all time, but the music and sound effects set the tone nicely. Harking back to the days when guys rode horses with the sole purpose of killing one another, it’s easy to see why jockeys get so physical both after and during races. Imagine if NASCAR drivers could lean out the window of their cars and beat the guy that just pushed them into the wall. It would…well, it would look a lot like horse racing.

6. Horse vs. Horse – Blindside

While it doesn’t take a tough guy or bad ass to get in an accident, it does take one to suit up day after day knowing the risks inherent in their sport or occupation. Factor in the uncertainty of dealing with a 1200 lb. wild animal and you’ve got a profession that rivals any in terms of danger. It’s difficult to ascertain exactly what sport is being played here, as it doesn’t appear to be traditional racing nor polo, but a good rule of thumb when you’ve got many horses in the same space: keep your head on a swivel, otherwise you’ll end up with two dead horses and two critically injured riders.

5. 9-Horse Crash

To run with the NASCAR comparison a little further, in horse racing, as in auto racing, the “packing” of the field often means that what would be a one or two-horse crash often results in taking out many adjacent horses and of course, their unfortunate jockeys. This snowball effect ups the danger factor as this spectacular crash demonstrates. Since this writer speaks only English and Spanish, it’s uncertain how both the horses and riders fared following this accident, but it’s safe to say that none of them were better off than they were before the accident took place.

4. Chariot Horse Collapse

Believe it or not, horses aren’t born with chariots and riders strapped to their backs. Consequently, when instincts kick in for these equine warriors, the dynamic can change to a devastating degree. If a horse is galloping and wants to take a little hop for any reason, God bless it. Hop away, trusty steed. However, when that same instinct kicks in during a chariot race, it would appear there is no internal monologue telling the horse that hopping while attached to an unwieldy apparatus might not be such a good idea. This forward flip demonstrates that when you are riding around in a wagon attached to the back of a mostly-still-wild animal, it’s caveat emptor.

3. Horse Drag Race Catapult

For the thrillseekers that can’t find an adequate level of stimulation in facing death while strapped to only one horse, we offer this little chestnut. Dual-horse drag racing. Well, that’s how I’ve christened this sport. It could be called Deathball or something. Who knows? Anyway, this guy has the misfortune of watching this whole death-defying scenario play out over fifteen seconds, ending with his body being tossed like a rag doll easily twenty feet into the air. What’s the moral of this story? Don’t attach yourself to two horses when attaching yourself to one is plenty stupid enough.

2. Horse Head-On Collision

The title of this entry alone suggests that something went horribly wrong during a race in Arizona on August 26, 2000. While the conditions on the track are abysmal, strangely enough, it seems that the weather and track conditions had nothing to do with the unfortunate incident that took place that day. While the horses left the gate with little fanfare, a horse had lost its jockey at the other end of the track and was racing head on into the pack of racing horses. The rogue horse hit a lagging racehorse head on, instantly killing both horses and tossing the rider a ridiculous distance. Though the jockey survived, it is one of the more disturbing sports accidents caught on tape.

1. Nonchalant Horse Tumble

It would appear that horses have pride too. As a palette cleanser to all the violent crashes you have bore witness to in this piece, we offer you…well, it’s another horse crash. But suave. Much like when you misjudge the curb and take a little stutter step while crossing the street, this horse feels compelled to regain his composure and pretend like the whole thing didn’t happen. Which might be exactly what you want to do with this article if you’ve made it this far and you’re squeamish. Both horse and jockey were fine.




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