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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid