244 Lengths Behind – No Problem

At the Winterthur steeplechase in Delaware Sunday, jockey Gerard Galligan was brought in to explain his actions while atop 7-year-old Shootin the Breeze. From the stewards:

“Shooting [sic] the Breeze finished a distant third and walked up the stretch to finish after barely getting over the last fence. After the race, the stewards met with Gerard Galligan to enquirer [sic] why he continued on in the race when he was distanced and ultimately some 244 lengths behind [emphasis mine] the first two finishers.

“The stewards asked if he had been at the jockey’s meeting where it was emphasized that in the case of a horse being distanced or out of touch with the field that horse should be pulled up. He acknowledged being at the meeting and hearing the steward’s instructions but thought that someone with his experience should know the difference between a tired horse and a horse that just wasn’t interested….”

Because “his performance was not in the best interest of racing,” Galligan was fined $200. But maybe it was worth it: Third place was worth $2,000.

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  1. At what point does anyone in horse racing determine when a horse is outdistanced? Evidently those instructions were not made clear at the meeting before the races. A so-called champion jockey like Gerard Galligan must enjoy the whipping of doped, overexerted, tired and lame horses too much to know or care about what being too far behind or outdistanced looks like.
    What a thing to be known for; a jockey being someone who gets paid to literally whip the tired and exhausted horses into submission to cross the finish line while the track announcer is yelling “down the stretch they come…”

  2. As if someone like Gerard would actually care about the difference between a tired horse and a horse that “just wasn’t interested” in being beaten with every stride to force him across the finish line.
    And how was his performance not in the best interest of racing? Could it be that seeing a jockey flailing away at a horse 244 lengths behind the rest of the field with no hope of remotely catching up MIGHT make John Q. Public question the tired rhetoric of racehorses being athletes who are treated like kings and loved like family?
    Fear not, Delaware – the morally bankrupt dregs of society who trickle into your stands honestly couldn’t care less were you to install a slaughterhouse at the finish line for the losers.

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