Dihigi Gladney, now the regular exercise rider of Dubai World Cup contender California Chrome, grew up riding bulls and mules in Los Angeles. When he graduated to Thoroughbreds and became a jockey, Gladney found some success and made his way to the winner's circle multiple times until a wreck sidelined him for five years, according to The National. Despite breaking all the ribs on his left side as well as four discs in his spine, Gladney returned to riding races in 2007.
Now 40 years old, Gladney last rode competitively in 2012. He has been California Chrome's morning exercise partner since last October, when the Lucky Pulpit colt returned to Art Sherman's barn from his vacation at Taylor Made in Kentucky.
“He is mature and strong and he knows it. They needed a cowboy aggressive rider for him and I'm it,” said Gladney. “You look at him last year and you think, ‘how much better can he be, he almost won a Triple Crown'? That's true, but had he been in this form and the way he is training now, you would have seen him get it done. He's whole mindset is now on it. He's so much more mature.”
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