Horses Jockeys And Trainers

The History of Women in Horse Racing

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"The History of Women in Horse Racing"
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Perhaps the "Sport of Kings" should be renamed to "Sport of Kings and Queens"! The history of horse racing is no longer a male-dominated sport. Women are now known as not only owners of winning horses, but breeders, trainers and jockeys. The sport of horse racing is a world-wide event and more and more women are playing an important, competitive role at major and prestigious horse racing tracks.

At the turn of the last century in 1904, big and exciting changes began to take place in the world of horse racing. Following are a few of the better known female owners, trainers and jockeys that have emerged as competitors during the last one hundred years!


Laska Durnell - in 1904 she entered "Elwood" in the Kentucky Derby. Elwood was the first starter and winner in a field of five. (He was also trained by a woman Mrs. J. B. Prather).

Rosa M. Hoots - in 1924 was so sure of a win by her horse "Black Gold", that on her deathbed she had a box of cigars purchased to give to the owner of the Kentucky Derby Racetrack.

Mrs. John D. "Fannie" Hertz. She owned "Reigh Count" in 1928 and 1943 owned "Count Fleet", both were winners at the Derby.

Helen May Whitney - 1931 owner of "Twenty Grand" and 1942 owner of "Shut Out". She was known as the "First Lady of the Turf" having both horses win the Derby twice!

Frances Genter - entered the sport of horse racing in 1940. At age 92, she became the oldest winning owner with her horse,"Unbridled". (how exciting to have a winner after 50 years of owning race horses)!


Mary Hirsch 1937 - considered to be the "pioneering woman trainer" by professionals of her day. Her father was the famous trainer Max Hirsch.

Mary Kein 1965 - the only woman trainer of a Kentucky Oaks winner to win three consecutive times in a row. "Indian Maiden" won in 1959, 1960, and 1961.

Jenni Sahadi - two time winner of the Breeders' Cup Sprint in 1996


Diane Crump - first female jockey to ride in a parimutuel race in North America

Julie Krone - all time leading female first to win at Belmont on "Colonial Affair" in 1991
Also the first female to win the Triple Crown event.

Tami Purcell - considered the top female rider of quarter horse to win the most races with champion horses.

To sum up, women have made winning (strides) in all areas of the great world of horse racing!

More about this author: Victoria Rose Perkins

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