It was unexpected, really. Getting bit by the horse racing bug again. In June I went to Kentucky to spend a three day weekend with two wonderful friends. One of those days were spent at Churchill downs.
I met both of these friends of mine at race tracks in Portland Oregon 17 years ago so there was already a horse racing connection here. When I got home at the end of that weekend not only was I invigorated and re-charged from time with amazing human beings, I found myself missing the grandeur and the thrill of horse racing.
Fast forward a couple of weeks to a weekend in July when my fiancé Stacy and I joined our neighbors Mike and Trish for a day at Monmouth Park. I spent some time working at Monmouth Park in the late 90s stood in front of the wire when Serena’s Song won the Haskell. That evening I had drinks with Bob and Beverly Lewis. I loved it then, and over time, slowly lost interest. I became disenchanted.
After spending time leaning on the fence of the walking ring, watching riders getting their instructions, the leg up, the walk around the ring and then out to the track. Well, it felt special again.
I got the bug again.
In one of those post parades we looked up and saw a female rider that we were not familiar with. Stacy went and plunked a couple of galleons on her and she rode this 12-1 horse to victory like it was 9/5. After she took a winner circle picture and weighed back in, we called to her and asked if she would take a picture. Kind and gracious, she immediately said yes.
With no pretense and a smile as big and beautiful as the game we love, Ferrin Peterson smiled for the camera. On our way home we wanted to find out more about this rider we had never heard of. What we learned left us in shock.
Ferrin Peterson the jockey is also Dr. Ferrin Peterson the equine veterinarian.
I have been around horse racing for a long time. I cannot tell you a single solitary person that I’ve heard of who works for a living as a jockey and had an advanced degree. I certainly cannot name a single rider that is ever been referred to as Dr. before.
I immediately have become fascinated by this person’s education, career path and the trajectory she is setting for herself.
What a day. It gave me goosebumps again. I cannot tell you the last time I got goosebumps at the racetrack racetrack but as my buddy says “If it gives you chills, it should be in your life.”
That’s some good advice right there.
When I got home after the races I turned on the TV and watched the replays on YouTube.
I went online and found the Saratoga Special newspaper from thisishorseracing.com, downloaded their most recent additions and familiarized myself with some names I’ve known in this game for a long time. It was so much fun.
From childhood through into my early 30s I love thoroughbred horse racing with a passion. Then, for a myriad of reasons, I didn’t. That daily passion left me, leaving an interest only in the big days.
Well, after a couple of trips experiencing live racing again, that passion seems to be coming back slowly and surely.
I got the bug again.