There were female firsts in both the second and third races Friday night at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Jockey Cecily Evans
, a 10-pound apprentice jockey, won her first race as a professional in the second, a $10,000 claiming event in which Kristine Leahy, a sports anchor and reporter for KCBS/KCAL Television, became the first woman to serve as track announcer at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Some 30 minutes later, trainer Karen Headley
, daughter of Bruce Headley, earned the first victory of her career when 3-1 shot Keep Movin’ defeated eight other $20,000 maiden claimers in the third.
Leahy, who previously worked as a sports anchor and reporter in Boston, received some pre-race instructions from longtime BHP track announcer Vic Stauffer before taking the microphone. She also called the fourth race on the final Friday night program in track history.
Evans was 0-for-18 at the Spring/Summer meet before guiding Wrinkle Room, a 4-1 shot in the 6 ½-furlong Cushion Track affair for older fillies and mares, to a neck victory over 3-5 favorite Rossi Reserve.
Cutting back in distance after trailing against $12,500 claimers June 7, Wrinkle Room, a 4-year-old daughter of English Channel trained by Matt Chew for owner Matthew Nicolas, pressed the pace while inside of the eventual runner-up and prevailed in 1:18.96.
A native of Milwaukee, Evans, 27, had experienced the thrill of victory once before, but that 2010 win came in a race restricted to amateur jockeys.
“I came out here from Maryland last year during Del Mar and I was just going to gallop horses for the summer and then go and try to ride back there,’’ said Evans. “I loved it so much out here I stayed. I’ve done nothing but learn here.
“I never even expected to start riding here and I’m so glad I did. At the quarter pole, I was just waiting for someone to come up to me. I really didn’t have to ask her that much.
“I kept thinking, ‘Are they coming, are they coming?’ I expected to have to get into her a lot harder, but she just kept going nicely for me. This was just so great. I’m so happy to get a win here.’’
Keep Movin’, who finished eighth of 14 in his debut at 6 ½ furlongs May 25 when trained by Bruce Headley, was only the second horse Headley had started under her name. The 5-year-old Cyclotron gelding was claimed out of the Friday night victory by trainer Peter Miller.
“This is what I’ve wanted to do since I was in the second grade,’’ said Karen Headley, who has worked for her father for a “long time.’’ “I just figured why not now. I’ve got a few babies coming up, nothing spectacular.’’