George Luna: Being part of something big
Golden Gate Fields is Home for Retired Jockey George Luna. It wasn’t his goal to be a jockey, in fact George Luna wanted to be a landscape architect, but people kept telling him “Hey, you’re small enough to be a jockey,” and eventually he became one.
His days are full. He’s at Golden Gate Fields at four every morning, seven days a week, training and exercising horses. He says, “Riding’s dangerous, a bit like going to war. I’ve broken more bones than I care to think about, but it makes life more precious; you pay more attention.”
And he’s a man who pays attention. If you visit him at his tack shop — Superior Tack, on MLK — you’ll see he’s a craftsman, too. He can make or fix anything related to horses, including saddles, which are numbered like great works of art. His last saddle was 250.
He’s also made, among other things, a leather bagpipe belt and a harmonica case for a harmonica playing jogger! When he isn’t riding, or at the shop, he’s involved in Rotary Club activities because he feels strongly about helping other people. “Did you know” He enthusiastically asked “Every year we give dictionaries to every third grader in public school!"
How does he find time to go to the Y? I suspect he has more hours in the day than most of us; perhaps that comes with being at work so early, but he did tell me why. “I always wanted to be part of something big; I get that at the Y!”