November, 4, 2009
ARCADIA, Cali. -- I took the day off yesterday to run some errands and pick out granite countertops for the new house we're building. It's kind of an Italian villa or Rancho Santa Fe style, we're not into that modern stuff. We're making progress, slow and steady, but we won't be ready to move into until March. Things are going to be pretty hectic the next few days so I figured I'd get that out of the way and spend some time away from the track; now I'm back to ride a few at Santa Anita this afternoon.

Pony girl 77 asked what I do to keep up my energy on a full race card. Riding 13 of 14 Breeders' Cup races sounds like a big load and I guess it is, but not in a bad way. When you have these big days it's pretty easy to stay energized. When you ride that many, when you stay busy, you're very active the whole day and you don't have time to think. You're just out there doing your job and you're caught up on the excitement level and the adrenaline is flowing. When you go home that night you go to sleep and crash but it's actually neat -- the two days of Breeders' Cup, I mean -- because it's like the adrenaline keeps going. You crash but you jump up the next day and think to yourself here we go again, gotta get it going again!

That's the energy part. As far as the strength part is concerned, leading up to the big days, I try not to do anything extra that's super physical. I mean obviously I'm still riding races which is my everyday job, but here's an example: I'll ride again on Sunday, then on Monday, which is a dark day, I'll probably go play golf.

Now I like golf. Golf is my getaway. But leading up to these days, I don't even play golf. Getting ready for the Breeders' Cup, when I'm not riding, I lock myself in the house or go do simple things where I'm not getting tired out. Because I'm the kind of guy who would play 36 holes of golf three days in a row and then come to ride eight horses and be like, "Why am I tired?" I didn't realize how much I was draining my body until I started to pay closer attention to it. Now I've gotten to the point where I don't even think. All of the sudden my body tells me I don't want to play golf, I don't want to do this, I don't want to do that, and it's like my body has just shut down for the last three weeks where I haven't played golf, I haven't done anything I normally do.

Every year when the Breeders' Cup comes around like this, I pay close attention to my body. I pump my vitamins and immune-builders. Everybody's been sick in the jockeys' room but fortunately I haven't caught anything, knock on wood. I take all kinds of things: greens, powders, my B-12s all these real juices, just trying to make sure I'm as strong as I can be and that all my muscles and joints are ready to go when it's time to go. I really load up on those vitamins so hopefully when those days come around I feel in tip-top shape.

I'll be doing that over the next two days, kind of laying a little low and getting ready for the weekend, but I'll still post here. Tomorrow I'm going to fill you in on a little bit of my race-riding and handicapping style. Then Friday and Saturday I'll talk about each of my mounts on the card, and hopefully with a little luck I'll have some good results to recap on Sunday.



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