The horse racing world turns its eyes toward Southern California this weekend, when the Breeders’ Cup takes over Santa Anita Park for two days of world class racing with championship implications on the line.
Joined by their elite European counterparts, North America’s top jockeys, horses, and trainers will compete on Friday and Saturday in Breeders’ Cup races offering almost $25 million in purses, culminating in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday evening at 8 pm Eastern time on NBC. (The Breeders’ Cup is a freelance client for whom I occasionally write race previews and recaps.)
To illustrate the dangers of being a jockey, it is often pointed out that riding horses is one of the few occupations in which an ambulance follows you around as you do your job. That danger was brought painfully home earlier this month, when 18-year-old jockey Juan Saez was killed in a racing accident at Indiana Grand.
They compete against each other multiple times on the track every day, but the risks of the job also bring jockeys together, to raise money for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund, to advance the causes of the Jockeys Guild, and to lobby for safer working conditions and medical insurance.
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