Thursday, February 5, 2009

Jockeys - The Series

Full disclosure out of the gate: I was asked if I would be interested in promoting "Jockeys" which is premiering on Animal Planet Friday, February 6 at 9 PM Eastern. I did so without compensation. I also didn't hesitate to say yes.

You may remember a while back I posted about our little corner of heaven (racing) having it's own reality show. Well, little did I know it was already in progress and the fruits of that labor start airing Friday night.

I think it's important for our game to have exposure. In my opinion it's also important that there is some story behind the scenes to help capture some public attention. I agree with the folks that argue that more has to be done on the wagering side in order to help grow handle as handle is what drives purses and keeps our engine running. But there ARE stories here. Interesting stories that can draw you in and hopefully engage you in our sport. Some of the biggest responses we get are the ones involving compelling stories of everyday heroes. Sure, the link highlighted in the previous sentence was aimed at horse people, but the response - for me - was fantastic. We need a well rounded approach to help resurrect racing and I think "Jockeys" is small step toward that end.

In summary, "Jockeys" will be covering seven jockeys in the Southern California riding colony: Mike Smith, Joe Talamo, Chantal Sutherland, Alex Solis, Aaron Gryder, Kayla Stra and Jon Court; during the 30-day 2008 Oak Tree at Santa Anita Meet.
From the Animal Planet press release:

"Cameras take viewers on and off the track – from their homes to the jock’s room where we see how these athletes physically and emotionally prepare for each race. At the starting gate, the anxious energy of the horse and jockey must be contained within their stall. With jockeys and horses fatally injured each year, the ambulance engines are on and ready for action at a moment’s notice. In the stands, revelers wait with baited breath to see which horse-and-rider team takes the lead…and if everyone finishes safely.

The drama for these jockeys doesn’t end when the race is finished. Off the track, gorgeous jockey Chantal Sutherland makes the emotional decision to leave her family in Canada for California to be closer to her boyfriend fellow jockey Mike Smith and ride at Santa Anita racetrack. Joe Talamo’s high school girlfriend ponders whether or not she can be in a relationship where each phone call could mean Joe has had a bone-breaking – or worse -- deadly fall. Family man Aaron Gryder worries that his children will grow up afraid that their daddy can be hurt at any given moment, but he’s driven by finding the next horse that will take him to “the big time.'"

The home site for the series is Click around for a bit. Check out the trailer - it will whet your appetite. If you're new to the game, my guess is that you are going to learn an awful lot and you'll gain a ton of respect for these folks and the dangers they face each and every day going to work (seriously, how many of us go to work with an ambulance following us around). If you're an industry vet, it will confirm all that you know already - these guys and gals may be, pound for pound, the best, strongest and gutsiest professional athletes on the planet. Friday night they'll be on Animal Planet. Be sure to check them out.

No comments: