|Index||3 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
(Note: here are my notes on episodes 11 and 12, aired March 11 - the
final week of the season.)
Ep. 11 - It's Breeder's Cup weekend, the biggest annual event in horse racing for owners, trainers, breeders and jockeys. For fans, it might be the Kentucky Derby but for horse racing people and fans who follow the sport year-round.....this is THE day.
Actually, it was changed this year to two days, a Friday and Saturday. This year it was held at Santa Anita where this reality-show series was filmed. Thus, we get to see a handful of jockeys the show has covered for about two months. Each of them has mounts in the Cup. The younger jockeys featured on this show earlier, guys like Joe Talamo, Brendon Meier and Kala Stra have not been part of these season-ending episodes.
For two of these veterans, a win in the Breeder's Cup would mean the world. Jon Court and Aaron Gryder have both ridden for over 20 years and have never won this race. They haven't even qualified for it, as far I know. A win here this weekend would "make" their career. It would mean everything to that career and to their families, since they are married, have kids and need the money to support them.
A third person featured doesn't need it because she's well-off in Toronto and could go back and race there at Woodbine if she desires. Still, it would be huge for her, too, as a Cup win would give her a lot of worldwide recognition as a premier jockey and not just a good jockey with a gorgeous face. That, of course, is Chantal Sutherland. It also would be nice to beat her live-in boyfriend Mike Smith, but the latter usually gets the best horses and Chantal has to ride the longshots here at SA.
Smith is chasing Jerry Bailey's record for most victories ever in the Breeder's Cup. One of Smith's horses in the great Zenyatta, an undefeated filly. She may be the overwhelming favorite, but there is still tons of pressure on Smith. One wrong move, and anything could happen.....and he knows it.
Also in this episode, we see Court riding a 56-1 shot. He gives it a good effort, leading in the stretch but fades badly to seventh. It's sad to see the look on his face as another big disappointment comes into his career.
The biggest race of the BC they show next (and obviously backtrack for some races in this show's final episode.) This is one with strongly-favored Curlin, one of the best horses in the world. Curlin went off at about 7-5 with millions of dollars bet on him. Smith, meanwhile, is riding Tiago, a 15-1 shot. He gives it a good try, finishing second, but - to the shock of everyone - Curlin finishes out of the money.
We also see a third BC race, one which pits Chantal against Mike. She is aboard at 30-1 shots while he has the 2-1 favorite. You can figure out who won that one.
Episode 12 - On this final episode, culminating the 30-day Oak Tree Meet at Santa Anita, we witness two more of the 2009 Breeder's Cup races. They feature two of the jockeys we have seen during this short Animal Planet Network series: Aaron Gryder, a journeyman still looking for the big horse which will propel him to money and stardom, and Mike Smith, a jockey who already has achieved that being one of the more famous athletes in his profession.
First, Gryder is shown aboard "Well Armed" in the Dirt Mile. This is Aaron's first Breeder's Cup race in his 22-year riding career. The poor man has tons of pressure on him and he's nervous. He isn't riding the favorite but he figures he has a good chance. He has a lot of confidence in this horse. Sadly, the horse "never responds" and is not a factor in the race.
The sad part of this series is that the veteran nice-guys like Aaron and Jon Court just never captured a good break.....but it's reality. These are the kind of guys, as they end this episode on, that are "always looking for the one big horse," a mare or filly who will bring them fame and fortune. So far, they haven't found one.
Then, we see Mike Smith creep closer to Jerry Bailey in the amount of all-time wins in the BC with a thrilling win aboard Zenyatta. The horse makes a big come-from-behind rush to win the Ladies Classic.
The final scenes are the jockeys packing up and leaving. It's a sad scene. They never mention if Chantal is going back to Toronto, nor do they say what the young jockeys plans are, people like Joe Talamo and Kayla Stra.
Overall, I enjoyed this and hope Animal Planet does a similar show next season. I'd watch it.
Yet another surprisingly good drama from Animal Planet, the other being
Whale Wars. This show documents the ups and downs of a jockeys life and
career as they try to make a living and avoid fatal injuries on the
The show has cliché, yet interesting characters: the up and coming young jockey, a women trying to break into a man's sport, and an aging racer looking trying to make a name for himself before his career is over.
I saw it on On-Demand which carries the first couple of episodes, but I believe it is on Friday nights. Check it out.
I have never really been a fan of horse racing as it helps to grow up near one. The closes to me was the Belmont stakes a good 3 hours from where I grew up. If I had been around one, I'm sure I'd be a big fan as I enjoy Mammals racing w/their legs. When I say mammals I mean that I don't enjoy watching cars go in circles, bike racing, or anything where you need a machine. What I enjoy most about the show is the great cast of characters involved. As much as I enjoy watching the people it would be nice to focus a little bit more on the horses. Granted the show is called "Jockeys" so obviously that's what they focus on. Now if I had to watch this week to week on TV, I probably would skip it. Thanks to Netflix, I've been able to watch the two seasons pretty much nonstop thanks to the Instant Streaming feature. If you are a fan of horse racing or are just tired of of all the trash reality shows (I'm looking @ you "Big Brother" & "The Bachelor & ette series!") give this a try. It's nice to see some shows that don't have almost every single thing be staged, because let's face it, it's was mildly entertaining when "Survivor" came out 10 years ago, but now it's just lame.
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