Lady legends race for breast cancer research at Pimlico

Jocson wins charity race against seven other retired female jockeys

May 15, 2010|By Brent Jones, The Baltimore Sun

Gwen Jocson couldn't help but notice the symmetry when she reflected on her first competitive race in more than a decade.

Jocson, 43, began her relatively brief but highly successful career with a victory in 1989, then capped it with a win in a race Friday afternoon.

"Well, I won my first race and I won my last race. If I hadn't won this race, I'd have to go back to riding and get back even. It felt great because it was for a cause," Jocson said.

Injuries prematurely ended Jocson's career. Raising money for breast cancer research put her back on the saddle, if only for a day.

Jocson won the inaugural Lady Legends Race For The Cure at Pimlico Race Course on Friday afternoon, joining seven other retired female jockeys in a six-furlong race.

The ride was fairly competitive, with Jocson taking the lead for good at the top of the stretch atop Honor In Peace. The horse then held off a late rally from Chapel of Love, ridden by former Maryland-based jockey Andrea Seefeldt.

Ages for the female jockeys ranged from 43 to 60, and many trained months in advance for the race.

"I can relax now," said Mary Tortora, jockey for Rasher, who finished third. "My sister died of breast cancer, so this was very dear to me."

Jocson said outside of mild trouble coming off the eighth pole, where she nearly fell off the horse, the ride was exhilarating. Her 376 victories in 1991 was a women's record.

She finished with 763 wins in her 10-year career before retiring in 1999.

"I felt like I was on a rocket," said Jocson, who suffered neck, ribs and back injuries during her career. "When the gates opened, all I felt was horse. He broke sharp, and it felt so good to have that much power underneath you to where you can just move it where you want. It makes me want to come back to riding."

Calvin 'Bo-Rail' no more

If Calvin Borel is to be believed, you won't see him riding Super Saver along the rail for victory as he did in the mud at the Kentucky Derby.

For Borel, a different track means a change in strategy.

"I wouldn't ride it like I ride Churchill, to stay on the fence," Borel said. "I think it's a little heavier here on the fence from my racing and working Street Sense [in 2007] on it. I think the fence is a little deeper than Churchill. I'm not going to ride him like I did the last time, on the fence, I don't believe."

Schoolyard Dreams arrives

Schoolyard Dreams was the last in the 12-horse field to arrive at Pimlico, reaching the stables about 7:30a.m. Friday from Monmouth Park, a day earlier than originally scheduled.

Stable mate C C's Pal, who ran in the Black-Eyed Susan, and Ponzi Scheme, who is scheduled to run in today's James Murphy Stakes, accompanied Schoolyard Dreams.

brent.jones@baltsun.com

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