The Best Ride I Ever Saw...

By Becky Johnston

How many times do you say "jock gave my horse a bad ride"?  That's a patent excuse when you don't pick the winner.  I know of what I speak because I am guilty of it.  Have you ever thought about the greatest rides you've ever seen?   You probably see them most often at tracks near you that aren't recorded for posterity on YouTube, but here's a few great rides in some big races.

The right horse can make a jockey look like a genius.  Sometimes the key is simply to stay out of their way.  The best example of this was Ron Turcotte and Secretariat and I am not speaking of the Belmont Stakes. 

Watch Big Red as he makes an early move  that might have been premature with most horses.  Turcotte's trust in the colt made all the difference.

1973 Preakness Stakes

It pays to have a great clock in your head and Gary Stevens was one of the best.

1994 Breeders' Cup Distaff

When you have the best horse and then draw what appears to be a terrible hand with a wide post or an inside post in a large field, many fans and bettors are thinking how they are going to make money beating the favorite.  It only takes a confident jockey like Julie Krone and a special horse like Halfbridled to overcome it all and leave you wondering what you ever worried about in the first place.

2003 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies

Another riding art form is the go-between where a jockey coaxes a horse to go through a moving hole.  Pat Day and Chris McCarron give great examples in these two races.

1990 Breeders' Cup Classic


2001 Breeders' Cup Classic


Here is Mick Kinane with great confidence on "Gorgeous" George as he wedges his way through to victory.

2006 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes


Then there is the inside trap, I mean trip.  Watch the 2-5 English Channel hold his breath and shimmy through the inside with John Velasquez at the controls.

2007 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic


Then there is the race where a horse inexplicably flies to the rail and somehow makes a move that most often does not work.  Bill Shoemaker and Ferdinand takes everyone to school.

1986 Kentucky Derby


Then there is a race where you drop better than 25 lengths behind two triple crown winners and expect to win.  Bill Shoemaker takes the prize with Exceller.

1978 Jockey Club Gold Cup


Julien Leparoux is your co-worker that rides into the parking on two wheels with 15 seconds to spare yet still manages to beat you to your desk.

2006 Beverly D.


Some jocks like to play possum, but it is a very small group that can lull a horse into getting passed late in a Grade 1 race and then ask him to start again, but Pat Day was the master of the "Oh no you don't" ride.

1987 Breeders' Cup Turf


The jockey that never quits gives the bettors every penny's worth and Angel Cordero, Jr. was a master.  Watch Angel and Dancing Spree.

1989 Breeders' Cup Sprint


I don't think Cordero told Dr. Patches who that coal black horse was.

1978 Patterson Handicap


Then there are the "Oh ****" races.  Here is a duo of triple crown races that made our knees weak.  Imagine how Chris McCarron and Jeremy Rose felt.

1987 Kentucky Derby


2005 Preakness Stakes


Here's one more that doesn't have as much to do with the ride as it does the groundskeepers' ability to dive.  It still belongs in this category.


But the best ride I ever saw came from Edie Delahoussaye in the 1991 Arkansas Derby aboard the Ron McAnally trained Olympio. 

It is few and far between are the horses that can travel a half mile on the front in 45 2/5 and then let quality horses go by then only to muster another rally and win going away in 1:47 3/5.

Anybody else have a favorite?

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