You'd be surprised how sensitive and smart horses really are. As humans were pretty egocentric. We think the world revolves around us, but guess what horses are pretty much the same way. They know you by your tone of voice, your motion, your demeanor and they can sense when a person is relaxed, uptight, happy or sad. When a horse gets to the point where he's super fit and competing, a change in the groom or a change in his jockey can make a big difference. I know midwinter when Rectify got a new groom and a new exercise rider, his demeanor, appetite, and form changed for the better. Today were hoping for a change for the better for his half-brother, Sanctify, in the 7th at Beautiful Belmont Park. The last time Sanctify ran he did not have his regular jockey Mr. Manny "I'm finding the finish line a lot lately" Franco. Manny has won consistently on the horse and seems to know what his likes and dislikes are. I also think Sanctify knows when Manny is up on his back. Different riders use their hands, their knees, their arms and center of gravity differently. The combination of the use of your hands on the reins, your knees against the saddle and your feet in the stirrups create different degrees of pressure on different parts of the horse.
Every jock has a different balance, a different combination of those pressures and each Jock is consistent with his seat on every horse he rides. That doesn't mean that the horse likes what he feels when they get up on his back. Horses get used to certain signals and become comfortable with those signals and if you alter or change the pressures, which translate into signals, that can confuse a horse. It may upset him or her. Essentially the horse is saying, "Why are you telling me this? I'm doing it already." or "What the hell are you doing up on my back? Stop!" Then the horse loses his focus.
So today will tell the tale. Sanctify likes to sit back and come from off the pace even though it's a sprint race and Manny knows that. They make a good team and we're hoping the team comes through for us today. If you can get 8 to 1, 10 to 1, or 12 to 1 on Sanctify today, I'd say it's probably worth a bet and definitely worth putting him in your exotics.