Falling off was bad enough. Having my fate announced to every ear on the track over the loudspeaker was worse. Spidello, with me up, and Shinko were just finishing up a hack around the main track when Fabien warned me that a canter was coming on the inside. I moved out of the way, but Spidello – who was very, very fresh – decided he definitely was going along with fast horses. I said no. He said yes. I said no, and he said but yes, I am, and he got his nose down between his knees and launched into a series of bucks that finally sent me flying after about the third. He was due to have a canter yesterday, but we decided against it because of the horrible track condition (which we later ended up racing on – and shouldn’t of). Spidello races in the Tierce on Saturday, so he decided he needed that final workout after all. The track was still quite deep, so I didn’t get hurt, with the exception of pulling my shoulder a bit trying to hang onto the horse – unsuccessfully. So as I watched the backside of my next Tierce horse galloping full tilt down the backstretch thinking “oh, f*ck,” the sirens went off, the barriers went down, and the track announcer fired up the loudspeaker: “Loose horse! loose horse!” He then proceeded to give a play-by-play: “The loose horse is now galloping up the home stretch. I repeat: The loose horse is now galloping up the home stretch.” I stayed where I was, knowing Spidello would come back around, which he did (and that was confirmed by the announcer). But we were unable to stop him, and he took off for a second lap (again, with play-by-play). He finally pulled up at the main track entrance (of course), where the ground crew picked him up. “The loose horse has been caught. I repeat: The loose horse has been caught.” Thanks for that. So I cut across the infield to go get him, enduring all of the “you all right?” inquiries.
By the time I got back on, trotted him out on the main track and headed home, 20 people must have commented, including a few trotter drivers. Shinko, meanwhile, gave Fabien quite a circus once he realized he was on his own. Fabien stayed in the saddle, but it was touch and go for a bit. Spidello is no worse for wear, and he probably needed the work, so it all ended well. I’m sure there will be quite a few more remarks made at the cantine tonight. So far, everyone I know has come off at least once, with the exception of Big Kate and Fabien. Considering the circumstances, it would have been a minor miracle if I hadn’t fallen off at some point down here. Lucky the only thing hurt was my pride.