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Breeders' Cup 2017

Ladies Day at Colonial Downs

With Skirt Ladies’ Day on schedule for Saturday, June 26 at Colonial Downs, a field of seven fillies and mares will go to post for race 3 with only female riders in the irons.


Sponsored by the Amateur Riders Club of America, the one mile claiming race on the turf is an opportunity for jockeys who are not dependent on racing for income to ride several times throughout the year. Because the riders are interested in the races purely for the competition and enjoyment of the sport, the ARCA riders’ mount fees and percentages revert to racing charities. Although they only ride a handful of times a year, ARCA riders must comply with all the rules of racing that pertain to professional jockeys with the exception of the weight restriction, with their conditions varying from 125 to 138 lbs.


The third race features seven female ARCA riders with varied backgrounds in the racing industry. Hayleigh Rayston, the newest member of the Amateur Riders Club of America, will be breaking from the first post on Stevie Woods. Rayston’s background is primarily in eventing and showing, although she has gained experience in point-to-points. She currently works for the Doug Fout Federation in Middleburg, Va and is a model for equestrian clothing.


In the second post position with Bold Crossing is Sandra Conner, who rode professionally for ten years and won approximately 200 races. She became a steward at Delaware Park after her professional riding career, and currently exercises horses at Penn National when she is not selling real estate. Sandee Beattie rode professionally from 1987 to 1996, with her wins totaling 596. As an apprentice rider, she won 198 races and now trains horses with her husband. She has the mount on favorite Langley Park.


Getting her start at the age of thirteen with galloping horses, Keri Brion continued to gain experience through pony races and chases. She has worked with Ronald and Bernard Houghton in the past, and currently works with Jonathan Sheppard. Brion will be riding Smoochie Hoochie on Saturday. Katelyn Avella, who will break from post five with My Pal Happy, is relatively new to the ARCA but is gaining experience, having hit the board multiple times last year. She currently works for Doug and David Nunn at Monmouth Park, and has aspirations of becoming a professional jockey.

Riding Funny Lolly from the sixth hole is Allison Juvonen, leading apprentice at Tampa Bay Downs in ’98-’99 and winner of approximately 100 races during her professional career from 1997 to 2000. She has ridden for trainers Jonathan Sheppard, Frank Whitely, and Billy Badgett. Juvonen, now a mother, currently exercise rides and is married to a trainer. Melanie Williams will break from the outside post on Awesome Fun. With experience in pony races and success with jumpers, Williams has ridden for Jazz Napravnik, Tom Voss, and Jonathan Sheppard. Her first win came at Colonial Downs. The female jockeys will partake in a meet ‘n’ greet with fans post-race.


The featured race for Saturday, the one mile inner turf $50,000 Brookmeade Stakes for fillies and mares, is headlined by heavy 4-5 favorite Giant Mover. Trained by Todd Pletcher and owned by Edward P. Evans, the four year old Giant’s Causeway filly has finished on the board in five of twelve lifetime starts and has earned over $100,000. Most recently, she finished second by a head in an allowance optional claimer at Monmouth. Horacio Karamanos will have the mount.


Second favorite at 4-1 is Imanheiress, a Rodney Jenkins-trained filly who has won three of five starts. The three year old filly most recently finished second in the Miss Preakness Stakes, and will be guided in her first turf race by regular rider Travis Dunkelberger.


John Salzman’s Huge is third favorite at 9-2. Having earned over $100,000 in her career, the four year old Meadowlake filly has run on the board in eight of twenty starts, most recently finishing fourth in this month’s Oakley Stakes at Colonial. Huge will be ridden by Rosemary Homeister, Jr.


Fur Lined, trained by Hamilton Smith, is the 6-1 fourth choice, with Patriot Miss, Over the Lea, Chalice Bearer, and Cobbley’s Breeze rounding out the field.

Activities for Skirt Ladies’ Day continue throughout the ten-race card, beginning with free admission for all ladies and a chance to participate in the Cupcakes and Diamonds event, where one lucky cupcake given to the first 1,000 women through the gate will contain a valuable jewel inside. In addition, all-girl group Tonic Jane will be performing between races and patrons will get to enjoy a fashion show from Dillards, a demo from the River City Rollergirls, and a ladies trackside marketplace. “Skirtinis” will be available, and fancy hats are encouraged.










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