Video courtesy of Animal Planet.
You KNOW a show is going to be good when the trailer and the show opens with Daft Punk's Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger. (Though it is a resample for Kanye West's song Stronger)
Animal Planet is releasing a new entertaining show that is capturing the attention of the equine industry, and honestly worried me in how they would portray horse racing. Especially with the TV commercials and show lead-ins/pre-reels seemingly highlighting some of the horse falls. In reality, after Animal Planet allowed me to watch the first two episodes I was pleasantly surprised.
When I first wrote about Jockeys in April of 2008, I was picturing a show containing lots of breakdowns and negative track drama, but it was beyond my expectations and not the barrage of tragedies that I was thinking would be shown to the audience.
Drama is definitely played up, but the only thing I found annoying was one of the non-jockey characters. The first two episodes of the show are entertaining and pleasantly educational. I think the common race fan and the people who have no idea about the race industry will learn a fair amount about the industry.
The show has an narrator who is very good about filling in information, educating the audience and furthering stories along. The narrator explains in the two spills I saw that the horse was not injured. Some of the narrator's educational material held terms, statistics, and definitions. For example explaining how horses out of the gate travel "0 to 40 in 2.5 seconds."
The overlying premise of the show seems to be racing leading up to the 2008 Breeders' Cup.
Follow family life and behind the scene lives of the jockeys as you actually venture into their homes and meet their families. The show holds honest reflections of the jockeys, much like any reality setting where there are individual side interviews. Aaron Gryder, Chantel Sutherland and Kayla Stra are a few of the jockeys you get to know. I was particularly intrigued by Kayla's quest to get a start in the industry after arriving from Australia. So her back story from a beginner's point of view is interesting. Jockeys gives interviews with a serious handicapper who explained the exciting gambling aspect in a positive way.
The featured races with these jockeys revealed some creative presentations, which reminded me of a video game. The jockeys were given still shots with neat treatment displaying stats, silks, colors, names, and info on the horses while being escorted to the gate for the races. Though brief this stat still is very effective. Some of the races involved are the Ralph M. Hinds Handicap and the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita.
There are some good hooks to keep you interested between commercial breaks, such as trivia questions aimed at those who have been involved in the industry, which was nice to see.
Overall, the show has done a great job picking a variety of personalities to cover, from many varying spectrum's of life and career. The show covers how horses naturally enjoy racing and comepeting. Most of my concerns have been put in a more relaxed state and I enjoyed watching these two episodes.
You have been seeing the commercials for a few weeks now. It is time to see the new show that is capturing the attention of the equine industry.
My hope is it will draw new or previously uninterested people to the industry. I am fully aware that the show will hold lots of drama, a few breakdowns and negative parts of the industry, but I'm hopeful that it will focus more on the beautiful. I think it will provide more insight into the true track life that jockeys and people in the industry experience; they will be shown in a way to grow respect.
If you read through the past posts mentioning this show, Jockeys has stirred a lot of emotions. Many people are excited to see these great athletes in action, other people are not wanting to see the show for concerns about it's portrayal of the industry, but most are looking and hoping for something to help boost our industry. Many people will be turning in to see the first episode and judge from there.
Darrell Haire, West Coat Regional Manager of the Jockeys' Guild, has been involved with the show in some form as well.
Are YOU going to watch, and if so what are you watching for?
Daft Punk - Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.mp3 - Daft Punk
A quick shout out to Fitzaslew for finishing second in his race today. And good luck to Einstein and Arson Squad in the Donn.
And one of my early Derby picks from last year won, thanks Captain!
A quick thank you to the blog Saratoga Seen on timesunion.com for a mention to my blog and our site.