We don’t pay much attention to holidays around here; horses don’t know the difference between Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid al Adah and any other day of the year, so the routine doesn’t change much. But New Year’s Day makes some sense as a holiday for me, providing a good opportunity, however arbitrary, to take stock of what’s happened over the past year and look ahead to what might be accomplished this year. This marks my first calendar year as a professional trainer. I’ve had five wins and 16 places from 61 starts, with total winnings of 90,930 euros. This has been accomplished with a string of horses that were all purchased for less than 16,000 euros each (some for a lot less), with the exception of Hard Way, who I bred. That’s not too bad. I’ve fallen just short of my goal of a win percentage at 10 percent, which is where it should be, but we’re finishing the year on a good note, with several new owners and some bright prospects for 2010.
My New Year’s list of resolutions and hopes is not long. For the yard, I hope to build a string of better-quality horses with the help of my owners, who I hope will have a lot of fun and a fruitful season of victories. I hope the horses who are still here stay sound, productive and happy, and I hope for a safe and accident-free year for me and my staff of riders. For racing in general, I hope France and the rest of Europe continues to hold firm against the use of any race-day medication, and I hope the United States, Saudi Arabia and South America will change their rules and end the use of race-day drugs. For the respect and health of the horse, and the jockeys who risk their lives to ride them, running sound, medication-free horses is the only acceptable way the sport can go forward.
For me personally, there are the usual resolutions: Keep the weight down (starting tomorrow!), be more organized and try to govern my passions (or else, as Mr. Spock once famously said, “they will be my undoing”).
Happy New Year to all, and best of luck wherever your horses take you.