During a career that spanned three decades, Richard Migliore got to sit on a lot of classy horses. Last night at the Parting Glass’s monthly racing meeting (always open to the public), at which Migliore was the featured guest, the jockey was asked to name some of the more memorable horses he’d ridden. He named three.
Flashing. Regal Ransom. And Life At Ten.
Migliore rode Life At Ten in February at Aqueduct, winning the Rare Treat by more than five lengths. It was her third consecutive win, and she’s won all three starts since then: the Sixty Sails Handicap at Hawthorne; the Ogden Phipps at Belmont; and the Delaware Handicap.
Migliore wasn’t in the saddle for any of them.
On January 23rd, the Mig was riding Honest Wildcat when the horse broke down in the stretch at Aqueduct. The horse didn’t make it, but Migliore, though hurt in the fall, was backing riding soon, and on February 20th, a month after the spill, he rode Life At Ten to victory.
Shortly thereafter, he predicted: “She’ll win the Delaware Handicap.”
He was right about that, but he wouldn’t be the jockey who got to win it with her.
His injuries from the January spill were more serious than originally thought, and before too long, Migliore was back in the hospital. He implored his doctors to let him ride. “I’m supposed to ride a really good filly,” he says he told them. “Her name is Life At Ten. Just let me go.”
He said last night, “I was ready to leave the hospital with a broken neck to ride her, and she’s been undefeated since.”
Michael Baze rode Life At Ten at Hawthorne, and when she came back to New York, John Velazquez got back on her. He’d ridden her in an allowance race at Keeneland in October of 2008, finishing second; nearly a year later, he was back in the saddle in an allowance at Belmont. He and Life At Ten finished seventh.
At the Parting Glass last night, he remembered going to see Richie in the hospital.
“I went to see him,” said Velazquez, “and he asks me, ‘Do you remember this filly? Life At Ten?’”
“I didn’t remember her,” Velazquez admitted. “Richie said, ‘Johnny, I love her.’”
“I said, ‘Who the heck is she?’ I figure, he’s on drugs for the pain, I don’t think he knows what he’s talking about.”
“Looking back,” said Velazquez, “he was obviously right, even if he was on drugs.”
“She galloped in New York [in the Grade I Phipps],” he continued, “and she wins the Del Cap.”
Migliore noted that Life At Ten, who often wins on the lead, “has a high cruising speed. She just stays and stays and stays.”
He was quick to acknowledge that Life At Ten isn’t the only impressive filly in the Personal Ensign this weekend. “I’m not taking anything away from Rachel Alexandra,” he said.
“But Life At Ten is a serious filly.”
And he ought to know.