Female jockeys take lead at Turf Paradise - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Female jockeys take lead at Turf Paradise

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PHOENIX -

Orb and his jockey, Joal Rosario, were the big winners at the Kentucky Derby and they're going for two next week at Preakness.

The valley has some derby stars of its own, and some of them are women.

At 5'2' and 108 lbs, Anne Von Rosen is pure muscle.

Five days a week, Anne exercises horses in the morning, then hits the track in the afternoon. More wins means a bigger paycheck, but that's not what drives this German transplant.

"Once you start doing it, the adrenaline rush...you're hooked. It gets into your blood, it's hard to quit," said Rosen.

Only about 10 percent of all jockeys are female.

Anne says her fellow riders are supportive, regardless of gender. But in a sport that's still very much a boys club, the girls get a kick out of showing the guys how it's done.

"Sometimes they don't like getting beat by us girls, I think, and we're like, 'Yes, you go, you go' you know, kind of cheer each other on--the girls," said Rosen.

A 12-year veteran of the track, Anne spends the cool months racing at Turf Paradise, then gallops to Minnesota when the mercury rises.

"A lot of trainers like using girls because we try harder because we have to try harder. We cannot get away with as much as the guys, we just have to prove ourselves more," said Rosen.

But no matter how hard Anne tries, she can't get to the winner's circle alone.

Meet Sue Colee, a professional race horse trainer and breeder with over 30 years experience.

One of Sue's race horses is named "She Can Roar." A few stalls down, fellow racer "Check out My Man" has no interest in playing with toys. She wants to run.

'That's a natural instinct, that's what they're bred for," said Colee.

Racing is in Sue's blood, too. She's the third generation to work at Turf Paradise; She even met her husband there.

And these horses are just as much a part of her family. Trainers are at their horses' sides from the moment they're foaled.

"They want your attention more than they want to do anything else," said Colee.

Giving these horses the attention they need isn't all belly rubs and carrot sticks. Sue coaches the horses and jockeys daily on the track, then rolls up her sleeves back in the barn.

"I'm the stall cleaner, I'm the brusher, I'm the foot picker, the poop scooper and the teeth brusher," said Colee.

And, in her own way, she's also the "mother," bringing up the next generation of racing superstars.

"You just treat them as individuals and do the best you can to make them happy," said Colee.


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