On day 33 of the 2014 Saratoga meeting, Jonathan Sheppard was ready to go home.
“I’ve been ready,” he said frankly, standing outside his barn in the Oklahoma annex, a short walk from the training track. “It’s too stressful up here. I love it here, but I am a bit of a homebody, to be honest.”
He’s got a home in Saratoga, but home is really his Pennsylvania farm, to which, by meet’s end, he will have travelled six times since mid-July. Throw in a trip to Presque Isle Downs and another to Camden, South Carolina, and it’s not hard to understand that a peripatetic summer lifestyle could be wearing.
The horses have done their part, too, to add to the stress. Through the first 10 jump races of the meet, Sheppard was winless, though his flat horses were running well: he’d gotten his first winner of the meet on July 26, and two others followed, his record of a win at every Saratoga meeting since 1968 securely intact.
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Photo of Jonathan Sheppard courtesy of NYRA/Susie Raisher.