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SHOULD HE STICK TO THE STICKS?
Robert H. Boyle
January 29, 1973
Sandy Hawley is unknown around big-time racetracks, but he could be the best bet of 1973. Last year he won more often than any other jockey riding in North America
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January 29, 1973

Should He Stick To The Sticks?

Sandy Hawley is unknown around big-time racetracks, but he could be the best bet of 1973. Last year he won more often than any other jockey riding in North America

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In Hawley's experience, horses react differently upon gaining the lead. "Oddly," he says, "some wait for the rest of the field to catch up. They think the race is over because they're in front. This may have something to do with the way they've been trained. There are other horses that just keep on running in the lead because they don't want mud or dirt thrown in their face."

Going into the stretch drive, Hawley gives a shrill whistle like a doorman calling a cab. He might bellow "Yah! Yah! Yah!" Because of their own roar, the bettors in the stands cannot hear the jocks at this dramatic moment, the smacks of the sticks and the clattering of hooves. At this instant, Hawley begins bouncing up and down on his mount in rhythm with the horse's stride. Because he bounces, he uses a soft-backed saddle so he will not bruise his own backside. "I feel that bouncing moves a horse up near the finish, that it will make his front end stretch out a little better," Hawley says. "Some horses really will respond to that, especially since I sit back on their kidneys."

Barring lengthy suspensions or accidents, Hawley is convinced that using this technique he can ride those 500 winners in 1973. "Riding could get to be a bore," he says, "but if you've got a goal, you've got more to be enthused about."

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