James Graham breaks down the tough life of a jockey - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

James Graham breaks down the tough life of a jockey

Lone Sailor finished second in the Louisiana Derby. James Graham rides Lone Sailor. Source: Nola.com Lone Sailor finished second in the Louisiana Derby. James Graham rides Lone Sailor. Source: Nola.com
LOUISVILLE, KY (WVUE) -

This is the pinnacle of a jockeys career, riding in "The Run for the Roses." It's a serious grind not only on the mind, but on your body just to make it to Louisville. Many walk away from the sport after a brutal fall, and others just keep fighting like James Graham. 

"I dislocated my collarbone at Keeneland. I went to the bathroom and pushed it back in. Road the rest of the card. I've broken some ribs, broken some toes. Broke my outside two toes on my right foot. Cracked three ribs on my left side. I was back racing that afternoon," said Lone Sailor's jockey James Graham.

Tape it up, put in a sling, or find a brace quickly for those injuries. Whatever it takes to get back on that track. 

"It's not like we have a contract that keeps us employed, even when we're out hurt, we don't. We get hurt we don't earn a living. It's tough on every rider. You get a bit lucky here and there," said Graham.

Now Graham might take a day off, but he's always not too far from scale. 

"The heaviest I get when I'm off is maybe 117, and that might be stretching it. That's eating three good meals a day. In general I'm pretty level between a 112-114 pounds."

Treadmill, yoga, bicycling, so many options for exercise. Graham has another idea.

"Have you ever tried to ride a horse," said a smiling Graham. "Now try to hold one going 40 miles an hour. That's going to burn plenty of calories."

So why does James Graham do it. Being a jockey is dangerous, and the hospital bills aren't forgiving. Growing up in Dublin, Ireland, let's just say he wasn't a big fan of school. 

"When I was in class I was disruptive. It wasn't that I wasn't willing to learn, they didn't cater to what I wanted to learn. I know every school has a program, I didn't fit their program. So they politely asked me to leave," said Graham.
 

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