They peer back at me from countless photos, every day, from each track I visit. Most I will never know, although many faces are familiar. Some hold reins between their fingers and, others, a leadshank.
They often shift from track to track, as meets end and others open – sometimes with just a day’s notice. Many live on-track. Most get up at 4 or 5 a.m., even in bitter cold or rain. Some have no days off.
These men and women often go unnoticed as owners lead horses into winner's circles and trainers accept congratulations for a job well done. Yet, without the backstretch workers, there not only would be no winners, there would be no racing.
@FranJurga writes: Barbara Livingston's blog doesn't have a bigger fan than me. And this story is a perfect example of why I always have time to read it.
How many people does it take to get a horse to a race? A lot, where the bigger trainers are involved, and Barbara profiles just a few. And at the smaller tracks, the trainers might be their own jacks-of-all-trade barn workers, blacksmiths, trainers, and hot walkers.
I think that one simple way that racing could broaden its appeal is to focus on the people factor, and the care they take of their horses. They're interesting people in their own right, as Barbara shares, and some of them will work their way to be the trainers of tomorrow's champions.
Thanks, Barbara, for putting a couple of them in the spotlight! Love those smiles of relief in what is a very serious business: getting a horse to the winner's circle!
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