I know I am not the only one who's noticed that horse racing has always been a male-dominated sport. What I didn't know is that women could not compete until 1968!
It was 50 years ago this year when Kathy Kusner successfully sued the Maryland Racing Commission for a jockey license. Shortly later, Diane Crump broke the gender barrier riding in the Kentucky Derby in 1970, 95 years after the first Derby was run. It was another fourteen years before another woman made it into a saddle at the Derby.
This year, Mike Smith will ride Justify for a shot at the Triple Crown at Saturday’s Belmont Stakes. He’ll compete with nine other horse/jockey combinations -- and all nine horses will be ridden by men.
Here's a really illustrious fact in the almost completely male dominated industry. Since 1970, over 300 jockeys have ridden in Triple Crown races, (The Derby/Preakness/Belmont) and only SIX have been women. The last time a woman competed in a Triple Crown race, Rosie Napravnik rode General a Rod in the Belmont in 2014.
Want to know more. I've linked to a really eye opening NBC report below. It's a great read. Mj