What it takes to be Champ

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Just finished writing a feature for Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred about Paddy Young winning his fourth championship. At 37, Young is winding down a stellar career. He became the first four-time champ since John Cushman won four in a row in the early 80s.

At 43 – and 13 years removed from my riding career – I’m amazed at Young’s longevity and desire. Talent is one thing, producing it year after year, is another.

At the Colonial Cup in Camden, Young broke a tie with Darren Nagle by winning the last race of the season. The win clinched Young’s fourth championship.

Here are two quotes I couldn’t seem to fit into the story (due out in January), but provide some insight into Young’s outlook and approach. 

“I thought the desire (to be champion) wasn’t there, then I was at Charleston and I thought Kittens In May would win the first, he didn’t. Then I didn’t ride the second and Darren won the second, I was like, ‘Nobody better talk to me for the next half hour.’ It’s not that I was mad that he won, but I was just like, ‘I’m going to lose like this…? Is that it?’ Then I go bang out two winners.

“No matter what happens, I’ll definitely be easing back because I’m fed up with racing around, the last four weeks have been exhausting, going to all these southern meets. The riding is not the hard part, it’s the traveling to the races that kills you. Obviously, I have a young family at home and the business at home, it’s definitely near time to take a step back, I’m not saying I’m stopping because I’m not, but I don’t see me rushing to Aiken or Block House. You can’t say you’re going to stop because then you shouldn’t be doing it. Over the winter, we’ll definitely take a think about it.”

When he does walk away, it will be the sport’s loss.

– Watch Young win the Lonesome Glory about Gustavian.