Reading about Angel Serpa’s much deserved 30-day suspension for “gross careless riding” in a race last Saturday at Aqueduct, brings to mind the apt phrase “riding for a fall.”
In our book, we describe this as:
“riding a horse recklessly or overconfidently, courting disaster. Jockeys who are too aggressive with their horses may create the conditions for a spill that could harm them, their mounts, and other horses and jockeys in the race.”
This couldn’t fit Angel Serpa’s behavior any better. In this case it was Jose Espinoza and his horse, Freudian Storm, who bore the brunt of Serpa’s reckless riding. Freudian Storm was forced into the rail, badly hitting his head and forcing Espinoza to lose the irons. The NY Post reports that Gary Contessa (Freudian Storm’s trainer) wrote a letter asking for severe pubishment for Serpa:
“(Espinoza) could have ended up in a wheelchair. Now for the horse. He has severe head trauma and is still bleeding out the nose. He was in shock and has a severe concussion.”
“To imagine that this jockey, experienced or not, would put my horse and rider in a position where the results could be devastating just to win a race suggests a complete lack of concern for those around him in the pursuit of a few dollars . . . I sincerely hope the punishment fits the crime.” (click here to read more)
We hope Serpa changes his ways and we also hope that others in horse racing take Contessa’s words to heart. It should not be about winning at all costs.