the first female jockey to win a pari-mutuel race against her male
counterparts and the first woman named to ride in the Kentucky Derby,
Barbara Jo Rubin has some pretty amazing memories of her time in the
Photo: Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club
her brief but memorable career ended in 1970, the 64-year-old Rubin
gets to relive those moments every May at Pimlico Race Course.
is one of five original participants in the Lady Legends for the Cure, a
race which returns for the fourth consecutive year on Friday bringing
together an elite group of eight retired female champion riders.
The Lady Legends for the Cure IV, presented by Wells Fargo, is a highlight of The People’s Pink Party,
a joint effort between Pimlico and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the
world’s largest breast cancer organization. The annual springtime event
was created in 2010 to help raise money and awareness in the fight
against the disease.
will match the on-track amount wagered on the Lady Legends winner and
make a contribution to the Komen Maryland Affiliate.
great. Everyone’s out there rooting for us, because we get back in
shape to do this for charity,” Rubin said. “It’s wonderful. It’s a lot
of hard work, but it’s for such a great cause.”
on the Friday card are eight stakes, including the $500,000 Black-Eyed
Susan (G2) for 3-year-old fillies, the $300,000 Pimlico Special (G3) for
older horses and the $34,000 Xpressbet Jockey Challenge, newly
formatted to feature a ‘Battle of the Sexes’ between four each of the
top male and female active riders.
Goo Goo Dolls headline the first-ever Preakness eve concert in the
Pimlico infield and will be joined by country music artists Rodney
Atkins and Rachel Farley.
inaugural Lady Legends event in 2010 was the first pari-mutuel race of
its kind, was profiled on NBC and filmed as the climatic ending to the feature-length documentary, ‘JOCK,’ chronicling the story of the first generation of lady riders.
fourth (post time 1:30 p.m. EST), this year’s Legends race is a $52,000
allowance on the main track at six furlongs that includes six
also-eligibles. The 5-to-2 program favorite is Grain, to be ridden by
event newcomer Stacie Clark-Rogers.
Joining Rubin as fourth-year Lady Legends are Patti
‘PJ’ Cooksey, a breast cancer survivor and one of only two women to
ride in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness; Mary Russ-Tortora, the
first female to win a Grade 1 stakes race; Cheryl White, the first
African-American female rider; and Jennifer Rowland-Small, the defending
Lady Legends winner who was the top pioneer female rider in Maryland
during the 1970s. Zoe Cadman, an on-air analyst for HRTV who won 311
races from 2000-04, was added to the group last year, finishing sixth.
are joined this year by Abby Fuller, who in 1985 became the first woman
to sweep New York’s Triple Tiara with Mom’s Command, a horse bred and
owned by her father, Peter; and Clark-Rogers, a Sovereign Award nominee
for top Canadian apprentice who rode 87 winners from 1993-96.
on Social Security this year. I said to myself, ‘I can’t believe I’m
doing this,’” Rubin said. “It’s the only time we get together with all
the girls, the old legends. We have a great time. We all wish each other
the best in the race and watch out for each other, but ride a good
race. It’s wonderful.”
best Lady Legends finish was a fifth in 2011, but she has enjoyed just
being back in a competitive environment. On Feb. 22, 1969, at the age of
19, she became the first woman to win a race against males at a
recognized track aboard the Bryan Webb-trained Cohesian at Charles Town
in West Virginia.
over two months later, she was named to ride Picnic Fair in the 1969
Kentucky Derby, but the horse was scratched prior to the race. Having
turned to riding horses as a form of exercise after contracting polio as
a child, Rubin was forced to retire due to injuries in January 1970
with 22 wins from 89 mounts.
think it’s very exciting to be able to get back to it,” she said. “When
somebody hits 64, you don’t think you’re going to be riding a race
anymore, so it’s a real thrill. The adrenaline rush you get when you get
back on the racetrack and are getting ready for it, it brings back lots
of memories. Everybody is wonderful to us here. We have a great time
getting to see all the jocks, getting to see all the new women that are
riding now and how well they’re doing, and seeing a lot of people that
we knew from 45 years ago. That’s a lot of years. It does go by fast.”
60, had her seven-year riding career ended by injury in 1977, but she
went on to breed Touch of Class, a winner of two gold medals for jumping
at the 1984 Olympics.
59, the 2012 runner-up, captured the Widener Handicap on Feb. 27, 1982
aboard Lord Darnley at Hialeah, becoming the first woman to win a Grade 1
race. She won 520 races and nearly $6 million in purses from 1980-94.
59, made her riding debut on Ace Reward, a horse owned by her mother
and trained by her father, Raymond White, who started two horses in the
Kentucky Derby. A winner of five races on Oct. 19, 1983, White was also
the first female steward at a California racetrack.
55, ranks third all-time among female jockeys with 2,137 wins, retiring
in 2004 with nearly $19.9 million in career purses. She is the first
woman to ride in the Preakness, finishing sixth with Tajawa in 1985.
54, who was forced to drop out of Pimlico’s all-female jockey challenge
last year following the death of her father, returns to the Lady
Legends after finishing second to Mary Wiley-Wagner in 2011.Originally
retired in 2002, she briefly returned to riding last year and shows 582
wins and $5.4 million in career purses.
from both the Lady Legends and the Xpressbet Jockey Challenge will take
part in an autograph session on the first floor grandstand starting at