The familiar phrase, "Eddie Arcaro up," says in horse racing what "And batting third, Ruth," once said in baseball, or "In this corner, Dempsey," said in boxing.
In next week's issue SPORTS ILLUSTRATED begins the first of a five-part series by Arcaro on The Art of Race Riding. The millions who go to the tracks each year would have no trouble in accumulating a five-foot shelf of written advice on how to bet their money when they get there—and, chances are would be no better off than when they started. But up to now they would have a hard time finding a single work which explains clearly what they are seeing as they watch the horses run. In his series Arcaro analyzes the actual mechanics of riding a horse race, mechanics which are so intricate and highly developed that the only right word for them is "art."
On the project Arcaro collaborated with our turf editor Whitney Tower and Artist Robert Riger. The idea for it began more than a year ago when Riger went to Hialeah to do a portrait of Arcaro on Nashua (SI, Feb. 27, 1956). Riger wrote to Tower: "Fans at the track look at their programs and charts, look at the horses, place a bet and then watch. They cheer in the stretch and pray at the finish. But how did the jockey ride his race? And how did he win on that horse? How does Arcaro win a race? Can we show how a great jockey does it? As simple as that. From beginning to end stay with Arcaro up close, in front, on the side, from the rear—show his every position, his entire style."
When he saw Tower's outline for the series, along with some preliminary sketches by Riger, Arcaro accepted the idea enthusiastically. "There's never been anything like this anywhere—wonderful," he said. "It really should help the spectator understand. And I was sure SPORTS ILLUSTRATED would do this right."
Part I will be Arcaro's reflections and commentary on racing as a profession and sport from the perspective of his 25 years in it. The following four installments take up a theoretically typical race as Arcaro breaks it down—the Pre-Race, The Start, The Whip and The Finish—and take the form of drawings by Riger (more than 90) with captions by Arcaro, detailing his actions and reasons for them.
So for the next five weeks, with Eddie Arcaro up, it's off to the races!
EDITOR TOWER, RIDER ARCARO, ARTIST RIGER