Low-Wage America: Keeneland Race Course

Training, 'Hot Walking' and the Love of Horses in Kentucky

James Graham, a horse exercise rider from Ireland.

James Graham, a horse exercise rider from Ireland. Noah Adams, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Noah Adams, NPR
Carlos Goadiana, a horse groom from Texas.

Carlos Goadiana, a horse groom from Texas. Noah Adams, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Noah Adams, NPR

NPR's Noah Adams continues his road trip north along the I-75 freeway from Tennessee to Michigan — this time stopping in Lexington, Ky., to visit the training stables at Keeneland Race Course.

He talks with three workers at the track — James Graham, an exercise rider from Ireland; Carlos Goadiana, a groom from Texas; and Maria (who asked that NPR not use her last name) a "hot walker" from Mexico.

All three jobs are seven days a week, without holidays. But despite the rigors of the track and stables — the pre-dawn muster, the long hours, the sometimes back-breaking labor and risk of injury — each finds a degree of satisfaction in the tasks, because of a shared love of horses.

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