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There's No Whining In Horse Racing

First, I wanted to start by thanking all of you for sharing your favorite race moments with me last week. I watched all of the races you recommended and look forward to you letting me know about more of them.


Second, this Sunday being Father’s Day I want to say Happy Father’s Day to all of the fathers, grandfathers, step-fathers, uncles and father figures out there. Speaking of Father’s Day, I would like to tell you briefly about my grandfather. He was voted the President of the UAW Local 420 and served many terms. I don’t know how many exactly, but I know that he was voted into the role in the mid 70’s and kept getting elected until his retirement in 1994. The reason this is important is because as the president, I learned that he was respected and known for being fair. He did the things he thought would be just and honest. He was the symbol of the Ford plant and was a reasonable representative for all of its thousands of employees. He was sent to talk for all those employees; it was his job to ‘jockey’ for the best position for his plant. That is what I imagine John Velazquez to be in his position as the President of the Jockey’s Guild. I would imagine that it is Johnny’s job to make sure his peers are taken care of; I imagine it is his job to back these men who vote him into that role; I imagine it is his job to lead by example with fairness, respect and professionalism…just as it was my grandfather’s job to do the same for so long.


I am shocked by the recent events that have unfolded concerning Johnny V. I have always been a big fan of his; to me Johnny V was the example of everything good about the game. He is not only a great rider, but the epitome of what I think a respectable jock should be. It only made sense that he would be the President of the Jockey Guild, (until now) he was respectable and a true professional. However, what unfolded after the Belmont Stakes is making me second guess.


I watched the race, hell we all watched the race, I saw the incident that took place on the track when Animal Kingdom almost unseated Johnny and what I saw was horseracing! I do not think any malice was involved on the side of Rajiv Maragh. It happens, all too often that is just the way it is…there is no way to help that. I am sorry that Johnny could not get his horse back in the race, so are the thousands of people that bet on him. I myself had to tear up that ticket, I was pissed but I know this stuff happens.


Here is where I think things get out of hand…after the race Johnny had words with the jockey; hey, no big deal. Let them battle it out however they want to in the privacy of the jocks room BUT when Johnny turned to the media and started blaming his loss on another jockey that’s where it went too far. Right or wrong, Johnny should have kept those comments to himself, especially being the Guild Rep. I find it shocking for this superstar and jockey rep to throw another jock under the bus the way he did. This was a terrible display by Johnny.


Maragh was also asked to comment about the incident. He said that it was not on purpose (I know what you are all thinking, ‘that is what he is supposed to say’) and then he went on to ask questions about other jockeys that have done the same in the past. I have to say, I think I agree with him but regardless of whether or not I agree, the point is Mr. Velazquez should NOT have went to the media blaming this loss on Maragh. I wonder if the stewards would have found it to be reckless riding on their own. Or did they need Johnny to tell them that it was?


I don’t really know if the interference was there, but I will say that if there was an objection and the stewards did find that Maragh was riding recklessly, that is fine, I can accept that (even though I did not see it) but when you start leaving your comments, remember that I am sounding off about the way Johnny V handled it…NOT the way the stewards handled it. I expect more of Johnny, because of his place in the jockey community and he really let me down.


I stood behind Johnny through the Life at Ten case, but I have to be fair and reasonable…Johnny, you were wrong this time. There is no crying in baseball and there is no whining in horseracing.


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Older Comments about There's No Whining In Horse Racing...

i agree 100% matt!
It's now official that Maragh's week suspension is a complete joke and slap on the wrist. AK is out for the remainder of the year all due to the hands of Rajiv Maragh. He should have to pay for AK's operation and his training for the rest of the year since the horse won't be able to finance himself through racing.
well... at the time he didnt know what horse hit him.. right after the race, he didnt drop names
I don't blame Johnny V for being upset and speaking out as he almost went down becasue of carelessness on the part of Rajiv. He was completely justified to say what he did...when he did, imo.
Thank you Deadheat, I could not find it anywhere. I will take a look at it. I am glad that things have been patched up, I like them both. Bornstar, you bring up a good point about people not wanting to get into racing and needing to battle it in public. I don't agree, but I can certainly see your point and it never crossed my mind that way. Thanks for the post!
One jockey almost unseated, One horse out for the next two months albeit the doctors say Animal Kingdom more than likely just aggravated an existing injury, I have to disagree with you. I was at Belmont with a friend who was going to the track for the first time. There is a reason why there are not alot of new comers in horse racing, alot of people don't think its on the up and up so some things do need to be battled in front of the media so that the fans know that infractions and foul play will be addressed.
http://www.drf.com/news/belmont-stakes-maragh-gets-7-day-suspension-careless-riding It says in here that Rajiv said that Johnny knew he didn't do it on purpose, Johnny seems a lot more calm in many of his quotes as well. It would seem that the two have made up.
I could not agree with you more! I went back and reviewed past similar incidents in big races to see how they turned out: 1987 Ky Derby with Alysheba who was bumped, impeded, pushed, shoved and nearly everything a horse can go through in a race (once went to his knees in the stretch!) and still won the race! The Afleet Alex Preakness 2005 (considered by many to be the greatest Preakness) went to his knees at the top of the stretch when Scrappy T blew the turn and just rolled over AA, who went on to win. And, finally, JV rode Rags to Riches who stumbled out of the gate in the Belmont 2007, and they went on to win. The incident took place so quickly and it looked like AK recovered quicker than JV did! His rear legs never looked out of stride, to me. It happened so fast and the recovery so quick, Tom Durkin failed to even mention it in his call of the race! There was a mile and 3/16 or better left of the race to go -- plenty of time to make that up -- yet, I wondered if JV was so angry that he let himself get so worked up he didn't focus on getting his horse back in the race and give him a chance to get closer to the front. Did he get the “poor mes”? That may be unfair, I recognize, but his attitude after the race is what made me wonder. I frankly don't think AK would have won or finished second with a perfect trip (IMHO). What hurt Maragh's case was he was cited previously for a "careless riding" incident, so they suspended him, I think to send a message for jockeys to watch it to avoid injuries, but I didn't see anything that didn't happen in any KY Derby with 19 or 20 horses!!! It looked to me that JV losing his left iron caused him to be preoccupied with re-seating himself, but his horse looked to me like he was doing just fine. It is a shame it happened, but my first reaction was JV was whining and really had no call to accuse a fellow jockey of deliberately trying to bump him. In the first place, how could Maragh, if it were deliberate or premeditated, have been sure if he bumped IHP that it would result in MMM bumping AK? It was "racing luck", as they say, nothing more, nothing less, I thought. I think you and I are the only ones who viewed the race this way, Angela. Every other write-up bought in to what a shame that it cost AK the race, that it was lost the minute the incident happened! In fact, JV’s interview right after the race was what sent me scurrying to the video replays of the other races just to see how prior races with mishaps had come out in the past. We will never know, but giving up so early in the game could have cost AK the race or at least a finish closer to the front, IMHO.
  • Show All 3 Comments
  • DeadHeat · Johnny has since stated that he doesn't think Rajiv did it on purpose. In the heat of the moment we all lose our tempers and at times say or do things we regret. Just ask Calvin Borel · 1622 days ago
  • RaTalk_GIrl · DeadHeat, I am very glad to hear that he has since stated that it was not intentional. I tried looking for the article, but can't find it, can you send it to me? You are right about saying things we regret and I remember the Borel incident all too well. I guess I was just taken back by Johnny, I have always held him to a higher standard, but he is human after all. Thanks for the update and send along the link if you can. Thanks :) · 1621 days ago
Why shouldn't he? The reporter asked him and he is supposed to lie? He did complain and quite vocally in the jocks room to the stewards. Now, after hearing the news that AK was injured I would say he has every right to vent his frustrations. The man has now had two promising colts snapped from him in one year, the latest due to careless riding.
  • Show All 3 Comments
  • DeadHeat · Is that all you would have said? I seriously doubt it considering all the factors that eventually injured the horse he was riding and very well could have cause him to be thrown at the very least. I ride horses myself, and believe me if somebody causes me to nearly fall off because they do something stupid and careless you can bet I'm not going to be quiet about it. Rajiv had had this happen not to long before the Belmont and the rider he did that to did fall. If you are a top rider, riding in a top race you must be able to maintain a higher level of control and he did not. · 1622 days ago
  • RaTalk_GIrl · I am sure we can find 100 of examples of jockeys this has happened to, we can find them on both sides of the bump. I just don't think it is right to say he did it intentionally. And yes, I do think that is what I would have said publically...now in the jocks room I probably would have had other things to say. :) · 1621 days ago
exactly bigfootmauler...btw...he look like he was eating mud in that interview....lol...I really don't see where Johnny disrespect anyone by speaking to the media and speaking the truth.
  • RaTalk_GIrl · he spoke the truth that someone interfered with his horse, but he was speculating when he later said he thinks it was intentional. · 1621 days ago
better to settle it that way then to pull a calvin! and just go balistic! the media asked him - he gave his answer.. you heard him too.. he said, "I DONT KNOW WHAT HORSE/JOCKEY IT WAS" soooo how could he have blamed him right away? when he didnt know
  • RaTalk_GIrl · I agree, he handled it WAY better than Calvin...but still not up to par with what I would have expected from him. · 1621 days ago
Not really sure what the writer here felt Johnny V should do, here's the problem though, you ask these people to walk a mile in the shoes of these people, in this case athletes and that's very hard and down right impossible at times to do. Some of these writers may have a athletic background but many dont, I for one have been associated with sports all my life and the adrenaline rush that occurs after an incident of this nature is something that can't be explained, especially when dealing with elite athletes. The fact that Johnny was able to calm himself first, get his foot back in the irons second, and then be calm with the horse and let him find his rhythm last is something that is so ultra impressive that there are really few words for his ability to stay calm and professional. The writer seems to be objective at most times and maybe was a bit strong of the criticism of JV, considering as someone previously stated the media sought out JV, and sadly, with the replay showing Maragh guiding the horse to a left hand turn 1 jump out of the gate, my thought is Maragh should have gotten 6 months for the incident on that level in front of millions in the Belmont. WOW.
  • TraciPatrick · Yes the adrenaline is high during sporting events and things get done and said that should not occur but as the President of the Jockey's Guild JV should be held to higher standard. As far as 6 months for a bump -- if thats the case not many jockeys would be in any race, I agree with the suspension but 6 months is a going overboard there. · 1621 days ago
  • RaTalk_GIrl · Dubby, I do not have a sports background and I can understand that you would like me to have that prior to writing these articles, but I can agree with you that what Johnny was able to do on the horse was very, very impressive. I would never, ever claim that on the field Johnny did anything wrong, his ability to hang on was remarkable. You are right, I try my best to be objective and for me right is right...should Maragh be suspended? Probably. Did he interfer with the other horses? Definitly. Did he do it on purpose? I don't think so. Should he have been found guilty of INTENTIONAL reckless riding in the papers by his Jockey Guild President? No. I understand that the media is seeking out a comment from JV, he was interfered with and NOBODY is disputing that, BUT I just cannot agree with saying Maragh did it on purpose. Thanks for the post. · 1621 days ago
Correct me if I'm wrong....Your article is stating that Johnny did wrong by turning to the media instead of settling it within the jockey room? Let me breaking it down for you, the media search him out for answers as to what happen and what he think. You want him to lie and not speak his mind? Is that leading by example?
  • TraciPatrick · You are still missing the point of the entire blog. He should be honest but as the President of the Jockey's Guild he should have handled himself and his comments better. When someon obtains a position of power they are expected to handle themselves with a certain amount of dignity and respect to the people they respresent, Johnny on this occasion did not do this. That is the point of the blog -- not what you are trying to make of it. Reread the blog, the entire blog and maybe you will get the point. · 1621 days ago
I think you are right SkiptheCountry. I like the fact that we do not all agree and I don't mind at all criticism, BUT I HATE name calling. It doesn't help anything. There are others who do not see things the way I do and are able to debate their views without the name calling.
zxswordxz seems to like to make to criticize/call others names without either fully reading the posts/comments or fully understanding them and clarifying if needed.
Are the losing bettors allowed to whine, Angie? ;-)
  • RaTalk_Girl · I would love to say yes. I had AK and Master of Hounds, Ak had bumping issues and Master of Hounds missed the break. · 1622 days ago
zxswordxz, here is what I said...when you start leaving your comments, remember that I am sounding off about the way Johnny V handled it…NOT the way the stewards handled it.
Wow people, let me get this...A guy riding a top contender and pretty good colt at the Belmont Stake, another horse bump his horse right at the start...his horse could have gotten injured(which is likely now) and it cost him the race. A report came to him to asked him what happen and he shouldn't say anything but keep his mouth shut? If Johnny didn't vent, I would say something is seriously wrong with him. ‎"Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes, that way when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes." ~Jack Handey
  • RaTalk_Girl · So should Johnny have pulled up AK to save him from further injury since he was hurt out of the gate? · 1622 days ago
I wonder if the horse it hurt due to the incident at the start of the gate...? If AK was hurt with the incident then someone should frame this article as an example of "Perfect Stupidity Writing"
  • RaTalk_Girl · I am starting to think you are not even reading this "Perfect Stupidity Writing" if you would have you would have noted that I mentioned that the suspension was not and is not the problem, the whining afterwards is the problem. The fact that Johnny really thinks this jock did it on purpose. Maybe Johnny purposely kept the fact that Life at Ten was not sound to himself too. I think not. Also, I thank you for wanting to frame my article....LOL · 1622 days ago
All things considered, I think John Velazquez handled the situation quite well, especially when compared with what took place after the Breeders' Cup Marathon last year. IMHO, Velazquez sounded more frustrated and disappointed than "whiny". If anything, it seemed as if Barry Irwin was the most vocal complainer. I don't think Rajiv Maragh purposely tried to impede Animal Kingdom's progress, but it happened anyway. Besides, just about every jockey has been suspended at point in time or another, so I guess it's Rajiv's turn to serve his time...
  • RaTalk_Girl · I agree with most of what you said and as you know from reading my blog, I have no problem with the suspension I do however think Johnny could have handled it better. And do not even get me started on last years breeders cup. · 1622 days ago

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