The illustrious Col. Moe, former leading jockey back in the days of his youth and mine, recounted a couple of race results that show just how unpredictable the sport can be.
He said: “We were coming down the lane, and I was third behind a pair of leaders duelling head and head about four lengths in front of me. Then the bug boy on the outside really laid into his horse, making that horse crash into the one on the rail, who eventually went over the fence, and the horse on the outside got tangled up in that and went down too.
“My horse saw all this, of course, and was going ‘ooh-ooh’ trying to back out the path and get away … so I went to the stick to get his mind back on business. Two seconds before I was hopelessly beaten in third and then I had the race thrown in my lap. The race was ours to win, and we won it too.”
The colonel recalled another race from his time at Liberty Bell racetrack near Philadelphia. He said, “I was riding second in that one, but the guy in front had a good eight, maybe 10 lengths, on me. There was no way he could lose, but he was known to be a machine rider. And sure enough he hit the horse, the horse made an amazing right-hand turn, and the next thing I know the horse is running the wrong way along the outside fence. My horse holds on, and I win that one too.
“Now I rode in thousands of races, and won my share of them, but those were two that really stuck with me for the way they turned out.”
The next time you have a tough beat, just think of Col. Moe because you never know.