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US Jump Racing from a US jump jock

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  • #2951
    USJumpJock
    Member
    • Total Posts 12

    Hello all those from across the pond. I have been asked to join the forum so that any questions about jump racing in the United States. My name is Jamey Price. Im 19 years old and I am an amatuer steeplechase rider in the US. I started riding when I was very young. I did dressage as a young boy but grew tired of the repetitive nature of "horse ballet." In 2003 I started galloping race horses with my dad at a nearby training center. I rode my first flat race in March of 2005 and I have since ridden over 15 flat races and several point to point jump races. I have a myspace page which you can find at http://www.myspace.com/therealjock I have a few blogs which may also help you understand a little more about me and what I do.They havent been updated recently so bear with me. I would be happy to answer any questions anyone has for me. As well as an apprentice rider, my family also owns several steeplechase and flat horses. I would also just like to say that I have always loved Jump racing in the UK. It is totally different than what I experience at home and have always been a fan. I doubt I would ever reach a point where I would have the skill to ride in the UK but life throws some wierd curve balls so maybe one day you’ll see me on ITV running the Grand National hahahaha. Also congratulations to all you Jenson Button fans. Im a big F1 fan as well and I know he deserved that win :D…..so any and all questions…lets hear them.

    #76220
    GreenGreenDesert
    Member
    • Total Posts 127

    Hi Jamie and welcome. One thing I have noticed from myspace is that the US jumps scene seems quite vibrant….quite a few people on there who are quite passionate about it. I was amazed to read on your excellent myspace that George Washington was once an amateur steeplechase jockey!!! <br> Sadly we do not hear a lot about US jumps  here, apart from when Morley Street ran there; though Dai Williams sends a runner next month.<br>My questions would be:<br>Here we notice a definite difference in terms of more enthusiasm and atmosphere in jumps racing next to flat. In your region is it the same? Also is it confined to the East ? And what sort of crowds do you get..are they knowledgeable and supportive? Our jumps jockeys get a real buzz from the entusiasm of our crowds in sometimes horrendous weather, and wondered if it is the same there.<br>The Timber races seem to get big crowds…have you ridden in them?

    (Edited by GreenGreenDesert at 5:35 am on Sep. 2, 2006)

    #76221
    cormack15
    Keymaster
    • Total Posts 8799

    Hi Jamey and welcome to the forum.

    Two questions :-

    Steeplechasing seems to enjoy a much higher profile in the UK than in the States. Is jumps racing on the up or in decline overe there?

    Second question – just looking at your blog – how do you manage to keep all those burds happy (sorry, Scottish expression there, I mean Gurls!)?<br>

    #76222
    Racing Daily
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1364

    Welcome to the forum Jamey.  Your input on the US jumps scene will be appreciated.  Please feel free to initiate some chat about your flavor of the game, as I don’t pretend to be up to speed on it (apart from that hurdles are a big part of the game over there)

    #76223
    Zoz
    Member
    • Total Posts 703

    Hi Jamey and welcome to TRF.

    I admit to knowing very little about the American steeplechasing scene, although I am aware a horse from these shores, Hirapour does very well out there.

    As Cormack mentioned, I wonder how healthy the sport is in America, there have been a number of foreign horses trying National Hunt racing over here in recent years but their results haven’t been great in comparison with international flat racing.

    What’s the prize money like over there? If Hirapour can do so well as a chaser in America then I wouldn’t be surprised if there are other horses in training here who could do well if they were aimed at some races in the USA, and I wonder if prize money is the reason that few seem to have tried this.

    Hope you enjoy the forum :)

    #76224
    USJumpJock
    Member
    • Total Posts 12

    Hello everyone,<br>As far as fan support and the way steeplechasing is viewed in America is sadly far different than the respect it recieves in the UK. In general our sponsored steeplechase race meets would be closer to your version of the point to points. Our "hunt meets" run from October to November and then March through May.  These hunt meets would be lucky to have an attendance of 15,000 fans. Of which maybe 10% of those would know a horses ass from its head. Steeplechasing in general over here is more about having fun with your friends in a grassy field and occasionally looking over the rail to watch 15 horses run by then back to partying. It is not about the horses and not about the racing, like I imagine it is in the UK. Part of the problem is that gambling is banned in many of the states where we race. So that includes, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia. But there are also many races held in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and a few in Kentucky, and New York. But the farthest west a jump race has ever been held was Chicago. But they now dont go farther than Lexington Kentucky. In answer to Cormack15, I would say jump racing is on the decline. Sponsorships are harder to find to support the usually not for profit race meets and the jockey pool is growing ever smaller. I am one of the youngest. There are maybe 3-4 teenagers riding over jumps this year. So in GENERAL I would say jump racing is unhealthy.

    I guess I will speak for all the jump jockeys I know in the US and say that the crouds do give us a buzz. I have alot of fun out there. To me, Im not in this for the money. I love it b/c its fun, and its dangerous and it does give me a great sense of pride. The money is a perk. Speaking of money. The purses here are awful. Claimers run for $10,000, the average rump race may get $20,000 for a purse and the high stakes races would get on average about $100,000 but there is not usually any middle ground. Horses run out of conditions quickly here. Either hes going to win Lots of money, or nothing at all. Unfortunatly they dont write races for those horses that fall in the middle purse area. Hirapour is an amazing horse and he is very successful on our jumps as is McDynamo and Sur La Tete but generally, the American horses that convert to English racing are Timber horses. The sheer size of the jumps in the UK seem to fit our timber boys better (Jay Trump for example).<br> <br>As far as the actual racing goes, it is far different then what I have seen from the UK. It is generally held that American jump racing is faster. The jumps being made of plastic brush and a foam launch roll. They are 4’4 feet in height (no idea what that is in meters) and all the same height weight, and length. They have plastic wings that stretch out several meters before the actual jump to help guide the horses into the jump and give the jocks more depth perception.

    Yes, George Washington was an avid fox hunter and rode several jump races. It was more of a hobby back in those days and not the racing that we see today but more of a friendly challenge with a friend.

    And lastly, it is unusual for men to ride at my age in America. So when the girls realize that, they flock. Hence my 500 some odd friends of which 95% are women. But I do have a GF and she takes priority over everything hahahaha you know how that goes. Did I get all those questions and explain them clearly? If not, just let me know and I will reword.

    #76225
    USJumpJock
    Member
    • Total Posts 12

    One more thing of interest….I have a personal website that may be of interest. It has several videos I have made of various things. Of which include a helmet mounted camera I wore in a flat race this past spring. It is very cool. I also attended the United States Grand Prix for you F1 fans so I have a weekend recap video of that. As well as some pictures and other stuff. The USGP and Jockeycam video are under podcasts. Enjoy!

    My webpage

    #76226
    cormack15
    Keymaster
    • Total Posts 8799

    Most interesting Jamey. Thanks and hope to see you around the forum plenty in the future.

    "So when the girls realize that, they flock. Hence my 500 some odd friends of which 95% are women." – My application to the BHB Racing School is in the post, along with my US Visa application.

    #76227
    Venusian
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1665

    Good stuff, Jamey, keep it coming.

    #76228
    Zoz
    Member
    • Total Posts 703

    Cheers Jamey, interesting stuff there :)

    #76229
    Happy Jack
    Participant
    • Total Posts 515

    [br]ITV running the Grand National <br>

    <br>God help us all

    #76230
    Zoz
    Member
    • Total Posts 703

    Fair point that.

    Presented by Ant & Dec, one would have to assume?

    #76231
    GreenGreenDesert
    Member
    • Total Posts 127

    Thanks Jamey; some illuminating answers.

    Last year the first International steeplechasing convention was held and Edward Gillespie of Cheltenham has been brilliant in supporting an international dimension to steelplechasing.

    We have had one or two American horses run at Cheltenham a few years ago; but these examples are few and far between.

    Do you think that the profile of American jumps racing will be encouraged by this, or do you think that the distance and cost would be offputting for raiders in either direction?<br>How could it be viewed by the jumps racing fraternity that Dai Williams sends a horse for example, next month? It is a useful horse by the way. I know Jimmy Frost when he rode Champion Hurdle Morley Street there in the US was quite surprised by the media attention he got….he was even on a chat show!

    I think it is great that you have attracted so many girls to your myspace and are doing a great PR job for jumps racing. I would think that the British and Irish jumps boys will soon be on there when they see the following you have among the girls!!!

    Do you think you will ever come to the UK for a stint?

    ps by the way, Jocks comment about the Grand National…it is on BBC thankfully!!! ITV is dross and doesn’t cover racing at all any more!!!

    (Edited by GreenGreenDesert at 7:48 pm on Sep. 2, 2006)

    #76232
    USJumpJock
    Member
    • Total Posts 12

    I think most people view American jump racing as a step down. The flat trainers and race tracks all view steeplechasing as a bit of a circus. The betters dont really know how to bet on jump racing b/c it is so unpredictable so its not really looked upon as legitimate racing i suppose. I know for a fact that most steeplechase riders, owners and trainers in America view steeplechasing across the pond as a HUGE step up. The rider pool is bigger and quite frankly better over your way. So unless a trainer thought his horse could run over damn near anything in its way, then Im not sure that many american trainers would ship to the UK. On the flip side, I cant really say how successful a European horse would do over here. Obviously there are exceptions to every rule but in general, Ive heard that American jump racing is more of a crap shoot than UK racing. I cant speak from experience b/c Ive never ridden in the UK but Ive heard that our jump racing is faster and just more wreckless I suppose.

    One of our biggest problems is the lack of riders. The running joke around the barns is that America’s best is Englands worst. Many english riders that couldnt quite make a name for themselves came over here and are some of our best jockeys. So it is generally accpeted (whether or not its true is debatable) that English riders are better horsemen then the American riders. All I know is that our jock pool is small and getting smaller.

    I would actually LOVE to ride over jumps in the UK. Obviously, I want to get more of a base under me here first and just learn more over our jumps…but I would certainly, if ever given a legitimate chance, love to ride in the UK.

    My mistake about ITV. They actually dont broadcast it here anymore so I havent seen it LIVE in MANY years. We have a friend of ours mail us a tape every year so we can watch it :D

    (Edited by USJumpJock at 8:34 pm on Sep. 2, 2006)

    #76233
    Zoz
    Member
    • Total Posts 703

    Jamey, just out of curiosity what kind of distances do steeplechasers run over in America? Do you have the full spectrum from two miles to major staying races over 4 like we do here?

    Obviously on the flat the European superiority for middle-distance turf horses over 1.5 miles is there to be seen, so I wondered if the emphasis is on speed on the jumps circuit as well.

    (Edited by Zoz at 8:38 pm on Sep. 2, 2006)

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