News / USA

Women Jockeys Keep Up with the Men

Apprentice jockey Sarah Rook
Apprentice jockey Sarah Rook

The premier horse race in the United States takes place Saturday in the southern U.S. state of Kentucky.  This year, there will be a woman jockey in the Kentucky Derby. She's only the sixth woman to ride in the annual race since it began in 1875.  Other women jockeys are hoping they will eventually make it to the Kentucky Derby. At the Pimlico racetrack in the eastern U.S. city of Baltimore, Maryland, women jockeys are showing they can win races in a male dominated sport.


It was the first of ten races at Pimlico Race Course recently, and 22 year-old Stephanie Korger and her horse took the lead early on, crossing the finish line first.

"She actually worked really good today. She did everything that I asked her to and very cooperative for the win," Korger said of the horse she rode.  

Korger's horse was trained by Dane Kobiskie. "Stephanie, as a rider, to me is just a very smooth rider," Kobiske said.

Korger says there’s nothing she’d rather do than be a jockey. "It is an absolute exhilarating rush.  I mean there’s no feeling like it.  When those gates open, I mean there’s nothing else in the world that you can compare with," she said.

She's the top apprentice rider at Pimlico, where the prestigious Preakness race is held two weeks after the Kentucky Derby.  When her year- long apprenticeship is finished, she will become a professional rider or journeyman.

A man named Walt comes regularly to the track to bet on the horses. He says the women jockeys keep up with the men.  "Women riders have a different touch, generally, than male riders, in my opinion in that they tend to be more patient," Walt said.

Sarah Rook is also an apprentice rider and competed in her first professional race today.   She saw an opening between two horses and slipped through to cross the finish line first.

"She just went right through and kept going.  She was perfect," Rook said of her horse.  

Korger says getting to the top isn’t easy. "There’s some trainers who won’t ride you specifically because you’re a girl, and the only thing you can really do is go out there and be determined and beat them in a race and prove to them that you’re just as good as any other guy out there," she said.

Jonathan Joyce has been a jockey for six years. He says the women have more to prove. "I think they just have to overcome a lot as far as trainers and competitiveness between the guys and trying to be accepted in a game that has been so much known as a man’s sport for so long," he said.

Korger says, like the men,  the women have to work their way up. "We race four days a week, Thursday through Sunday, and we get on the horses in the morning and we work them, make sure they’re fit and exercised.  We do that for free, and in exchange, we get to ride the horses in a race," she said.

Last July, Korger broke her shoulder when she fell off her horse after it stumbled during a race. "It’s a very physically demanding job.  Jockeys are some of the most fit athletes in the world and at the same time it’s a very dangerous sport," she said.

Twenty-six-year-old jockey Forest Boyce was one of the top apprentice riders in the United States last year.  Now a journeyman, she says winning is hit and miss. "Most of the time, when they’re supposed to win they don’t, and when they aren’t, they do," she said.

Gina Clay, a horseracing fan is impressed with Boyce. "I watched her race and I saw her and she kind of hung in there with all the big boys, you know, and I thought it was great," she said.

The only woman in this year’s Kentucky Derby is Rosie Napravnik, who began her career in Maryland in 2005.  Korger says Napravnik is a role model. "It’s really exciting.  It’s definitely going to open up a lot of doors for female riders, I think."

Like other women jockeys, Korger wants to be in the big races, including the Kentucky Derby.

You May Like

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Russia’s Prosecutor General to Review Legality of Baltics Independence

Move, announced Tuesday, has alarmed Baltic States and strained even further their increasingly tense ties with Moscow More

US Urged to Keep Up Pressure on Cuba Rights

Communist government continues to hold dozens of political prisoners, tightly restricts freedom of expression, uses threats, intimidation to discourage critics, according to activist groups More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs