What Does it Take to be a Horseman?



Last week I listened to an interview with Eddie Brown, a real horseman. Now “Horseman” is not a term to be used lightly. In the racing world that does NOT refer to a very rich person who got into racing and enjoys going to the track. Someone like the late  Jess Jackson, Rachel’s last owner, for example, would not be described as a horseman.

Horsemen are people (they can be women, too), who have the track and horses in their blood. They live and breath horses all day, every day. It is the highest compliment there is in that world. Hal Wiggins is a horseman. Every jockey would also qualify, in my opinion. Owners, not so much, but they are out there.

Anyway, Eddie Brown recommended a movie that I wished I’d watched before I wrote my book about Rachel Alexandra. i watched it last week. It’s called “Boots Malone” and it stars William Holden. It’s got to be from about the 1950s, but you can find it easily on youtube.

In short, Boots is a jockey’s agent who is down on his luck  (jockeys hire an agent to help them get rides and otherwise manage their career. As far as I know every jockey has one).  Along comes a mystery kid who turns out to be a great rider. But the point is how authentic the track life is portrayed. I even learned some things about riding I wish I’d known when I wrote the book.

So, if you know anyone who is learning about horses or just loves William Holden, I hope you recommend Boots Malone!

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