Excerpt: "I don’t need a thermometer."

An excerpt from Better Lucky Than Good: Tall Tales and Straight Talk from the Backside of the Track

Some people get up in the morning and have to wait for the boss to tell them what to do: "Today, you have to do this. Tomorrow, you have to do that." Here, you don't have to wait for anybody. You get up in the morning and start working with your horses. Every day, same horse, and I love that. I love to have the same horses all the time.

My alarm is set for 2:00 in the morning. I drink coffee, shave, clean up, and I start at 3:00 with the horses. Some old timers do the same thing, but not many. Everybody else starts at 5:00 and finishes before I do.

Horses don't like to be in a dirty house. They're very clean animals. As soon as I clean the stall, they're going to lay down for another hour. The reason they're there is because we put them there, not because they want to be there. So you have to treat them the best you can.

When you pull all your feed tubs out, you might find out a horse didn't eat; something's wrong. You have to figure out why it left the feed. You have to watch them very close. You have to find out. Sometimes it's training too hard. Sometimes you put medication in the afternoon feeding and the horse didn't like it. If your mom gave you a big plate and you didn't finish it, you don't want to fill it up again. You have to change it, clean it out. That's the way I do it. You find out if everything is filling up, if the horse is doing good.

After I clean my feed tubs and water buckets, I check temperatures. A two-year-old horse is supposed to have a temperature of 101 degrees; any more than that, it's a temperature. But I have so many years on the racetrack that I don't need a thermometer. A mom knows there's something wrong with her child when they're sick.

— Cristobal Resendiz Trejo, Groom