By Michael Fenrich
The starting gate crew at racetracks are very important to the success of the Thoroughbred, especially at Churchill Downs for Kentucky Derby Day. Whether it is a maiden race during a weekday or the run for the roses, the crew helps the majestic horses.
“They are the unsung heroes; they are so important to having a great start and who wouldn’t want a great start,” said Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who became the 13th Triple Crown winner with Justify in 2018.
The crew is like the offensive line in football, they do all of the labor as the QB, RB and WR get the accolades. It is like that in horse racing as the starting gate crew works in the trenches as the jockey, trainers and owners are in the limelight.
The starter at Churchill Downs is Scott Jordan. Jordan has a regular crew and special day crews for the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks. Here is the crew that helps in the success of the start of the race.
The regular crew:
On Oaks Day Jordan has 16 extra crew members that arrive from all over and 26 extra on Derby Day.
This team works together to help in the success of the equine athlete, and they should be recognized and have their limelight.