About the Author
James A. Vena is a student of the human condition, wielding the written craft to enrapture the mind much like an artist wields a brush. The pages are a blank canvas on which to draw from a talent heralded by many and matched only by an imagination that rises to the task. Excuses, Excuses! is the first in a series of recent pursuits, with work progressing quickly on the follow-up.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Excuse # 1 "Needed the Race"
My jockey was telling the trainer - confidentially - however loud enough for me and the `new' owner entourage to be able to overhear the excuse. It sounded perfectly reasonable. The horse was coming off a lay-off of 17 days and the jockey thought the encouraging word of "needing the race" would soothe my ego as an owner.
I jumped to the conclusion that the Jockey was telling us the next time out we would be in the winners circle. The horse needed a couple of minutes to work out the kinks and that seemed to have been accomplished - today!
The Jockey actually told the trainer - in a stage voice - "make sure I get to ride this horse next time, he is sitting on a win."
I was excited - we were going to be in the winners circle. After what I heard from the Jockey I never looked at the facts. The horse has been in training under the best of trainers available for $85 per day. Why would I care if the horse needed to race rather then train. I was going to end up in the winners circle next week?
The next race - a week later - the trainer dropped the horse for a claiming tag. The rider - who I thought was making a date in the winners circle with me had a previous commitment to ride another horse in the same race. Wow - I thought, what a guy - he would rather lose a race to keep his previous commitment to another owner to ride his horse.
We ended up with a `bug boy' and the horse finished somewhere up the track. After all, everyone knew that it was a clear sign that the race the horse needed was to prove that we didn't give him enough time to heal his injury. Well almost everyone knew - I didn't.
I thought we were in for a win so I invited family members and friends to come take a picture of us in the winners circle. However, to this day I wonder how the Jockey knew that he would still be in the winners circle that day. He won the race on the mount he had `previously' organized.