1.1: Starting Gate
You know, for one horrible moment this show reminded me of The Fast and the Furious...just without Vin Diesel and illegal street racing. Which reminds me of the time I accidentally found myself within an impromptu street race, but that was on a highway about two miles from New Jersey (where I'm sure this happens all the time...because it's New Jersey) and it was sort of awesome. People should always drive gaudy yellow cars at 100+ miles per hour on the freaking shoulder of insanely busy highways. Right?
Anyway, I make this comparison because of the music selection in Jockeys. Because I'm pretty sure those people in the gaudy yellow cars listen to similar crap while they're street racing in New Jersey during rush hour.
Never fear! Jockeys is not about illegal horse racing in the streets of New Jersey. It's about legal horse racing on the synthetic race track of Santa Anita, in Los Angeles. We have the following jockeys to follow during the Oak Tree Meet, which all took place last year:
Joe Talamo (18, arrogant, probably will get punched in the face eventually.)
Mike Smith (The really, really, ridiculously talented one.)
Jon Court (Looks really, really familiar, but fails to jog my memory.)
Kayla Stra (Girl. Prefers racing horses to having sex.)
Chantal Sutherland (Girl. Probably prefers having sex to racing horses.)
Aaron Gryder (Family man. Also looks familiar, but again I fail to remember him.)
We start off our program with the music and the montages, because if anything horse racing programs rely heavily on montages. Then, once I am thoroughly convinced that horse racing is dangerous for everyone, we skip to Aaron and his kids. Aaron plays with his kids, totally not pandering to the camera crew, I'm sure. We learn that Aaron is riding at Pomona before Oak Tree, where Joe Talamo is surely going to be, acting like he has some rivalry with Aaron, who seems to not outwardly pay him any attention.
"When people ask me what my son does for a living, I tell them that he's a jockey," says Joe Talamo's mother, while my mother decides she's not a fan of this show, gets up and mutters, "I guess that's what you would have to say seeing as how that's what he does." Thanks, Mom! She took the words right out of my mouth. Like mother, like daughter.
Anyway, much is made of how Joe is "young, aggressive, cocky" while Joe shoots his mouth off and Aaron looks like he wishes someone else would walk over to the kid and smack him in the mouth. Aaron is currently too good to care much about him, but we'll see how that goes. The show continues to reinforce that jockeying is dangerous, okay, and considering the race footage to wreck footage ratio, a totally ignorant person would probably assume that something awful happens in every race run. Nice, Animal Planet.
To balance this out, Chaplain Pete is here to pray for everyone, just in case you didn't think race tracks had chaplains...and I actually didn't know that they did. This seems a little sacrilegious, given the whole point of horse racing is gambling, and, you know, I remember my Southern Methodist Bible school, unfortunately, well enough to find the humor here. People sort of put up with the prayer, and then they get out there to race some more in a big horse race, where Tice shows up. A horse I actually remembered immediately as Silverbulletday's 2002 foal, formerly named Duckornodinner. Just thought I'd throw that out there. The little guy was claimed last year to the trainer you see in this show, so let this serve as a reminder: sometimes a horse gets claimed and then winds up on a reality show! Happy endings do happen!
Well, anyway. Tice happens to suck in this race, finishing out of the money under Aaron, while Joe goes and wins on a horse called Booyah, probably inadvertently setting the scene for the rest of the series. I find this fitting because now we get to talk about Chantal Sutherland, the jockey who did that underwear photo shoot a few years ago. She is also Mike Smith's girlfriend, so she will be forever known in this show as "Jockey/Mike's Girlfriend." And she cries a lot about leaving Canada for Mike in Los Angeles, and spends most of her time this episode supporting Mike and taking over his closet space.
Another big race rolls around, in which it looks like Joe may or may not have fallen, because we go to credits and a preview of the next episodes, when Chantal continues in her girlfriend role by privately musing to Mike if she should go back to Canada and Mike calls her "man" and indicates he'll be just fine. Oh, Chantal, go get on a horse and stop supplying the romantic drama, okay? And Gary Stevens comes out of nowhere to play with fire. Yay Gary!
So I'm definitely going to watch more. If only because I can't wait to see someone punch Joe in the face.