On a sloppy track, jockeys wear up to 9 pairs of goggles


Jockey in the Mud
Jockey Nestor Maldonado, 28, of San Juan, Puerto Rico riding Win Jane's Heart at Suffolk Downs in East Boston, Massachusetts. "If its raining, I don't care. I need to ride. The mud is secondary. Mud is mud. It hurts a little bit. It feels like sand blasting. Sometimes you can't see. I have five goggles and I keep pulling them down over my face... Sometimes the mud comes in clumps, sometimes it comes like needles. I only like the way it tastes if I win." (Boston Globe Staff Photo) #

The track today for the Belmont Stakes is sloppy. I suppose that’s better than the 100 degree heat in New York earlier in the week but the wet conditions create a different challenge: mud.

When jockeys race in the mud they wear up to nine pairs of goggles, pulling them down as they go around the track so they can see well enough to steer. As for the horses? Some of them close their eyes! Luckily for them, horses have a “third eyelid” which is transparent and protects their eyes.

Calvin Borel on Mine that Bird in the 2009 Kentucky Derby
Calvin Borel on Mine that Bird in the 2009 Kentucky Derby.

It will be interesting to see how the horses handle the muddy surface and the mud in their faces. These conditions can really change the outcome of the race.

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