There is a perfect place to spend a glorious spring day. Santa Anita Park beckons me every spring with the sound of hoof beats and the colors of the sprightly jockey’s rainbow silks. In March or April, you can find me leaning against the white railing at the track cheering on limber thoroughbred race horses as they leap for the wire, all hard muscles and ligaments. The little guys on their backs cheer them on with a whisper in furry ears. Whether I’ve just hit a two under dollar trifecta or I’m tearing up yet another losing ticket, a day in the sunshine at Santa Anita, San Gabriel Mountains green and so lush in the distance, is a phenomenal day.
I only worked at the John Sherrif’s barn a week. I don’t think I ever even met John Sheriff’s in person. I only talked to his assistant. Every day I regret leaving that job, it was a hard decision. This was what I had always wanted to do with my life. When I was a little kid, instead of wanting to be a teacher or a doctor like my peers, I always said I wanted to train race horses. Now this was really my dream job, working in any way with race horses. Now here I was, having a job hot walking horses, literally at the very bottom of the food chain; it was tough. I was making eleven dollars an hour and would be for a very long time to come. I was the only hot walker who spoke any English. I had almost no expedience with horses. These horses were huge and bully’s. I was 100 pounds a pushover and they knew it. The gutsy stallions were walking all over me, trying to rip my arms out of the sockets it seemed while I was trying to control them. I started to think to myself after just a few days, why am I doing this? I’d gotten a job an hour from my home with a trainer who wasn’t well known. The kicker was what got to me as I was spending twelve hours a day at the track.