Patti Cooksey, the first
female jockey to win 2,000 races, the first female jockey to ride in the
Preakness (in 1984) and at one time the leading female jockey of all time, will
return to riding briefly for the second straight year to accept a mount in
Friday’s Jockey Challenge at Arlington – one day prior to the 29th running of the
Grade I Arlington Million.
The Jockey Challenge race, now
in its second year, will be part of Friday’s third “Dining with the Dynasty”
program during Arlington Million week, and will feature five legendary retired
riders against the top five jockeys in Arlington’s
Cooksey, who retired with
2,137 career wins, has been director of public relations for the Kentucky
Racing Commission since September of 2005. She most recently rode
competitively last spring in an exhibition race at Pimlico during Preakness
week and also rode in Arlington’s
Jockey Challenge race last summer.
“My horse kept up for a little
ways,” Cooksey recalled of her mount last summer at Arlington.
“He was running underneath me. He just wasn’t running fast enough.”
While in Baltimore
last spring for Preakness week, Cooksey met Great
Britain’s top female rider Hayley Turner, who will be
coming to Chicago
to ride Mark Hawtin’s Irish-bred Wigmore Hall in Saturday’s Arlington Million.
“These girls these days are
really making a mark for themselves,” Cooksey said. “She’s pretty, she’s
smart, she’s a good rider and she has a nice personality.”
Cooksey, who also became only
the second woman to rider in a Kentucky Derby in 1984, still holds down the top
spot as Churchill Downs’ all time leading female rider with 213 career
victories at the Twin Spires oval.
‘BREAKFAST AT ARLINGTON’
RETURNS FRIDAY MORNING
Thoroughbred racing fans
throughout the world who are in Chicago for Saturday’s International Festival
of Racing are reminded that the Arlington Park will host an internationally
flavored “Breakfast at Arlington” program Friday morning from 7:30-9:30,
featuring interviews with top racing celebrities while also allowing fans to
watch morning training exercises.