He’s the most famous horse in the world. For years, the sound of a Derby winner’s winning hoof was enough to make the British public stand up and take notice.
We’re talking, of course, about Horsemen’s Churchyard’s famous jockey, Jack Taylor, who was the first to ride double digit winners when they were first introduced to racing in 1896. The legendary jockey passed away in 1932, but his name lives on through his great-grandsons, who carry on with his amazing legacy and tradition at the stables.
Since Taylor’s passing, the family has established a charity in his name. Every year, the Jack Taylor Memorial Stakes is run in his honor. The family has also bestowed upon him the title of the greatest jockey of all time. Talk about living up to the expectations of a very demanding family!
The Eternal Championship
The Jack Taylor Memorial Stakes is one of the most prestigious races in Europe. It was originally intended to be held as a two mile handicap, similar to the Kentucky Derby. Back in 1896, two mile handicaps were considered equivalent to a light classic. These days, the Jack Taylor is a 16/17th (handicap) race due to renovations at the Harrod’s London Stadium. It’s on the second Saturday of June, and it usually draws a grandstand full of sports fans and members of the media. In the past, some of the big names which have won the Jack Taylor include Secretariat, Affectionately, Ferdinand, and more recently, Enable.
The Modern-Day Equivalent
The modern-day equivalent of the Jack Taylor is the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. First run in 1900, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is the epitome of the sport’s grand ambitions. It’s one of the most prestigious races globally, attracting some of the most prominent owners and jockey pairs from around the world. This year’s edition, for example, will feature 24 international participants, more than any other year before it.
Why Is My Boy Jack Getting More Action In The Derby?
Horse racing has undergone a complete makeover in the last decade. Thanks to new businesses like online gambling platforms and the growth of eSports, new types of bettors have emerged. The traditional bookmaker has been completely overhauled, forced to adapt to the new ways in which people like to wager.
More Than Meets The Eye
One of the biggest beneficiaries of this change has been Jack Taylor’s great-grandboy, Richard Hoof. The trainer and owner of My Boy Jack Stables, Richard has been responsible for some of the most memorable Derby winners of recent times. In 2018, for example, he oversaw the undefeated victory of stable star, Cosmic Comet, in the Epsom Derby. That same year, Cosmic Comet went on to become the first Derby winner to win the Champions League in Europe. The 17-year-old filly not only won the prestigious tournament, she also scored an upset victory over the great American thoroughbred, Enable.
A New Challenge
Although he’s enjoyed tremendous success in the Derby, Richard has been challenged by the changing nature of the sport. Thanks to advancements in technology, the types of horses which have been successful in the past are being phased out. Younger generations are growing up with no real memory of a time when bigger frames weren’t necessary and it was possible to get all of the action in one place. The bigger the better, as they say, when it comes to horses, and that’s a sport which has certainly changed in the last 100 years.
Richard has found a way to combat this by bringing back some of the old favorites, like the mighty colt, Big Buckle, who will be looking to defend his title in next month’s Kentucky Derby. Having recently finished second in the International Champions Cup, behind a Japanese opponent, Richard knows the old adage, ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.’ He’s also brought back the great British champion sire, Northern Trick, whose offspring have include Cape Cross and Danedream, both of whom have gone on to win the Derby. The trick, as it were, is in staying fit enough to win the big races. Big Buckle will be looking to dominate the distance, while Northern Trick has been known to take the fight to the other horses on the track.
The American Dream
Although he’s British, Jack Taylor didn’t race over here. He went to the United States, where he became enamored with the idea of an American Dream. The story goes that he once said, ‘an Englishman’s best friend is his horse, and his horse’s best friend is English beer,’ and it stuck. Americans have always loved their horses and have seen them as a way to get rich quick. Now, some of the nation’s biggest racing fanatics will get the chance to show off their investment on the big stage. It’s an opportunity which American racing greats, like Pat Morrissey, will never forget.
One of the most recognizable faces in sports will be wearing the colors of the great State of Kentucky. The 2018 Kentucky Derby will be the 121st running of the prestigious race, which will be held on May 4th at the famous Churchill Downs.