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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid