The Breeders' Cup is not just another day at the track. The two-day event at Santa Anita Park has big purses on the line, and owners have come from all over the world to see their horse in the winner's circle.
You can imagine that the competition between owners and trainers to get an elite jockey to ride their horse is overwhelming. I spoke to NBC Sports analyst and Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens about the Breeders' Cup.
Have you ridden multiple horses during your many times as a jockey at the Breeders' Cup?
Stevens » "Yes, I did on multiple occasions. ... This year John Velazquez has 11 mounts, Garrett Gomez 10, Joe Talamo 10 and Joel Rosario 10, so there are multiple jockeys that have several opportunities. ... The Kentucky Derby is a one and done, and if you have high hopes and you are beaten it's a little harder to take. Whereas in the Breeders' Cup, since you have multiple chances or opportunities for the day, if you get beat on one you have the luxury of saying forget about that one -- it's [history]. Going out and focusing on the next race, and it's actually a great feeling."
How do you prepare for riding 10 different horses over two days?
Stevens » "You prepare no differently for any one of the races than you would prepare for the other ones. ... Those jockeys have done their homework, and it's just an exciting day, especially if you have multiple chances or opportunities. It's an exciting day as a jockey, and one that comes with great risks by riding in so many races, but also great rewards if you are fortunate to win some races."
How do you see this year's Breeders' Cup playing out?
Stevens » "There are a number of horses that have outstanding chances. Billy Mott, three runners in this year's Breeders' Cup Classic. Then there is Bob Baffert with the likely favorite Game On Dude. He's undefeated on this race track. But, as I've said before, you can make a case for seven or eight horses in there. If they bring their 'A' game to this race, I think we're in for a great treat to close out the Breeders' Cup, and I'm truly looking forward to it."
Examiner columnist Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter @wordmandc.