VOA TV – Women Jockeys – Horse Racing

The announcer begins at 0:12.

Stephanie Korger may be new to horse racing, but she is already showing that she has what it takes to win.

STEPHANIE KORGER: “It is an absolute exhilarating rush. I mean there’s no feeling like it. When those gates open, I mean it’s … there’s nothing else in the world that you can compare it with.”

Stephanie Korger is the top apprentice rider at the Pimlico racetrack in Maryland. Pimlico is famous for the Preakness, a race held each spring.

On this day, she won two races. In the first, she and her horse took the lead early.

STEPHANIE KORGER: “She actually worked really good today. She did everything I asked her to, and very cooperative for the win.”

Dane Kobiskie trains horses.

DANE KOBISKIE: “Stephanie as a rider, to me, is just [a] very smooth rider.”

Sarah Rook is also an apprentice. Today she was competing in her first professional race.

SARAH ROOK: “That was extremely exciting.”

She knew she would get the same welcome that all first-time racers get, whether they win or lose. But all she could talk about was her horse.

SARAH ROOK: “She just went right though and kept going. She relaxed. She was perfect.”

Getting to the top is not easy.

STEPHANIE KORGER: “There are 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 prove to them that you’re just as good as any other guy out there.”

Jonathon Joyce is a jockey who says women have more to prove.

JONATHON JOYCE: “I think they just have to overcome a lot as far as, you know, trainers and competitiveness between the guys and trying to be accepted in the game that’s been so much known as a man’s sport for so long.”

Jockeys have to work their way up.

STEPHANIE KORGER: “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, and we do that for free. And in exchange, we get to ride the horses in a race.”

Last year, Korger broke her shoulder when she fell off a horse during a race.

STEPHANIE KORGER: “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 also a really dangerous sport.” Forest Bryce was one of the top apprentice riders in the United States last year. Now, she races horses for a living.

FOREST BOYCE: “Most of the time, you know, when they’re supposed to win they don’t, and when they aren’t, they do. You just try to give the trainer the best advice you can, like the way you feel about the horse after the race.”

Gina Clay loves horse racing, and wanted a picture with Boyce.

GINA CLAY: “And I saw her and she just, she kind of hung in there with all the big boys, you know, and I thought it was great.”

The only woman to race in the Kentucky Derby this year was Rosie Napravnik. Stephanie Korger says Naprovnik is a model for her.

STEPHANIE KORGER: “It’s really exciting. It’s definitely going to open up a lot of doors for female riders, I think.”

Like other women riders, Korger wants to be in the big races, including the Kentucky Derby. I’m Christopher Cruise.