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Is There A Place For Women In The World Of Horse Racing?

May 25, 2008
You might not think so, but history reveals otherwise. The world of horse racing may be dominated by men, but there sure are a handful of women who have made a mark for themselves and all other female horse racing enthusiasts.

Horse racing is a male-dominated sport, gaining for itself the title, "The Sport of Kings". But today, it might as well be called "The Sport of Kings, Queens, and Princesses" with the impressive number of women trainers, breeders, and jockeys!

Horse races is popular the world over, and it has been gaining more and more women enthusiasts over the years. Today, there are a large percentage of women, playing competitive and important roles at high level horse races and prestigious horse tracks.

It all began a about a hundred years ago when the world of horse racing was rocked by the emergence of women competitors. At about 1904, women started coming into sight, whether they were playing important roles such jockeys, or equally important backstage roles as trainers and breeders. The following are some of the most popular women horse race enthusiasts since 1904.

Well-known Women Horse Racing Owners

Laska Durnell - owned and entered "Elwood" in the Kentucky Derby in 1904. Also trained by a woman, Mrs. J.B. Prather, Elwood was the first starter and winner in a field of five.

Rosa M. Hoots - owned "Black Gold," who was one impressive thoroughbred. She had so much confidence in Black Gold, and rightly so.

Mrs. John D. "Fannie" Hertz - in 1923, she owned "Reigh Count", in 1943, "Count Fleet". Both horses were winners at the Derby.

Helen May Whitney - owned two horses - "Twenty Grand" in 1931 and "Shut Out" in 1942. Mrs. Whitney was called "The First Lady of Turf", having owned two horses winning the Derby twice.

France Genter - In 1940, Mrs. Genter entered the horse racing business at the age of 42. Fifty years later with her horse "Unbridled", she became the oldest winning owner.

Most Popular Women Jockeys

Diane Crump was the very first female jockey to enter a pari-mutuel race in North America.

Julie Krone was the first female winner of a Triple Crown Event. Also popularly known as the "all time leading female first", having won "Colonial Affair" at Belmont in 1991.

Tami Purcell won the most races with champion horses. Purcell is also considered to be the top female rider of her time.

Strong Female Horse Racing Trainers

Mary Hirsch - The daughter of a trainer herself, Hirsch was one of the first women trainers in the 1930's. According to professionals, she was the "pioneering woman trainer" of her day.

Mary Kein - She trained "Indian Maiden", who afforded her the privilege of being the only woman to win three consecutive Kentucky Oaks titles in 1959, 1960, and 1961.

Jenni Sahadi is a spirited, two-time winner of the 1996, Breeders' Cup Sprint.

If you want a comprehensive list of popular females in horse racing, you'd probably end up with hundreds, even thousands, of pages. As horse racing gets more and more popular, more women are making a name for themselves as jockeys, trainers, and breeders. They might be outnumbered by men, but who knows? With the determination and skill of women, they might dominate the sport in the next century.
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