Day At The Track

A perspective on the passing of Mike Jeannot

04:40 PM 09 Feb 2014 NZDT
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Michael Jeannot Tribute
If you didn't know Mike Jeannot, I'm sorry you missed the opportunity.

Mike served in various leadership capacities at The Meadows for over two decades until ovetaken by the one foe no one in racing, or in life, can withstand in the stretch -- death -- when he succumbed to cancer last week at age 61, a very young, vibrant, and humorous 61.

The horseshoe of trainers and drivers in their colors, often with a led horse ahead of an empty sulky parading in front, along with family and other friends, forming in front of the grandstand in tribute to a departed member of the extended racing family, is, for me after 35 years working in the business, still one of the most moving sights in all of racing -- and believe me, I've seen far too many of them.

But The Meadows, headed by the matchless Roger Huston, video wizard Jeff Zidek and coworkers, and track chaplain Pastor Joe DiDonato, may have put together one of the most moving of such ceremonies -- and certainly a world-class video -- when they honored Mike, his memory, and his legacy before their card on Friday.

I'm supposed to be a writer, and I have many memories -- every one of them positive -- of Mike, but for once I will agree that "a picture is worth a thousand words." The entire 10-minute ceremony is attached with this story, and nothing I could say could capture the man and the moment as this video of the ceremony does.

Mike, I'm glad I can do one last thing for you -- to "introduce" you, through the link to this video, to many people who otherwise may not have known what a very good racetrack manager, and even better human being, you were, and always will be to those you touched.

Pastor Joe got it right: "Mike modeled behavior he wanted to see in others." When I cash in, if I could have something 1/10 as complimentary said about me, I'd considered my life well worthwhile.

Mike Jeannot's life was extraordinary.
by Jerry Connors for


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