‘Rough Year’ Ends On Winning Note For Brice Blanc At Santa Anita

Brice Blanc was born in France, but bent on a cosmopolitan philosophy, adheres to an old Mexican credo: Hope dies last.

It has helped him weather doldrums not uncommon in the Sport of Kings, where only the minority reigns.

Thus it was understandable that almost to a man, Blanc’s friends and cohorts rallied around him in celebration after he guided Midnight Crossing to a front-running half-length victory in Saturday’s Grade III Robert J. Frankel Stakes at Santa Anita Park In Arcadia, Calif., at a $47.60 win mutuel.

“It meant a lot in more ways than one,” said Blanc during a break from working horses Sunday morning, when it was back to business as usual. “I rode for Bobby for years, so winning a race named for him was more meaningful than most.”

Blanc, who turns 45 on Jan.16, couldn’t be happier to see 2017 ride off into the sunset.

“I had a really rough year,” said Blanc, currently sans agent and representing himself. “I started well, and then business got really, really slow, so ending it like this and winning this race obviously means a lot to me. The last month and a half, things really picked up.

“But I had such a slow and horrible summer, it was hard to keep my head up and stay focused. It’s hard to keep your confidence up without riding the right horses. I mean, 99 percent of winning is due to the horse, and if you don’t ride good stock it’s just very hard to make it.

“It’s even tougher nowadays on this circuit because only a handful of guys have all the horses and most of the good ones, and if you don’t ride for them, it’s hard to win races.”

But thanks to his unflagging resolve, Brice Blanc welcomes 2018 with newfound hope.

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