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Girls now make their
mark as jockeys
_ . i _>.-J.J._1.1_i_ n «Anl *«V> o vn nf mi Unwo fihnm of IWa rt i cnn fni'Mian I'll n/»J-i-miriior «mn
SOMEWHAT to the horror of con-
servative turf men, increasing numbers of women are literally climbing into the saddle in Ameri
can horse racing.
Wealthy women such as Elizabeth Arden, Mrs. Dodge Sloan, and' Mrs. Oliver Iselin have for long dominated the thoroughbred sales rings and by lavish expenditure, built up
their own racing stables.
Other women, such as Elizabeth Danger- field, Elsie Morris, Judy Johnson have been actively training racehorses for years. But recently the girls have been hammering loud- ly at racing's last barrier against them-the door to the jockey's room.
Regulations at most major racecourses still forbid women to ride in races. By the look of things those regu- lations may not last much longer, particularly if a mili- tary call-up depletes the ranks of jockeys.
Women jockeys are already riding with great success on half-mile tracks in the south-west United States and in so-called "quarter-horse" racing, popular with Ameri-
Wanda Davis, pretty young mother of two ohildren, is America's leading quarter-horse rider.
Johnny Longden can render rueful evidence of Wanda's
_â Last year she beat Long
Hon haniÍQnmaln in a end
by George McGann
cially arranged match race at Mexico's Agua Caliente racecourse, a mile and a half track just over the border from California.
That triumph over Ame- rica's leading jockey was no novelty to pert, pretty
Wanda, who stands 5ft. 2in. in nylons, and weighs a well
distributed 7 stone.
Wanda, who has survived several bad spills as a jockey, won't let her 10-year-old son ride horses. She says it's too
Although girls are forbidden to don racing silks on America's "big time" tracks, they can, and do, take every other kind of jobs in the stables.
An early morning visit to New York's Jamaica track this week revealed a surprising number of shapely girls galloping horses, dressed in blue jeans, cowboy boots, and checked shirts, their hair tied up in colored- ribbons.
Girls are now employed as exercise "boys," as strappers,
and as assistant trainers.
And despite the traditional racing male's bias against them, they're employed by men trainers as well as women
In fact, Lonnie Copenhaver, prominent New York
owner-trainer, says his best "horseman" is pretty Mar- garet Griffin, who rides Copenhaver's string at. every morning's workout.
"Margie can gallop horses better than most boys," says Copenhaver.
"What's more, she does more than her share of grooming and other stable
Margaret, who holds a plane pilot's licence and was educated at an exclu- sive New England's girls' school, became interested in horses when she was given a pony for her birthday in
Since then she has never been far away from horses.
A NOTHER attractive
figure pounding around Jamaica's dirt racing strip by dawn's early light is 20-year-old Joyce Goldschmidt.
Joyce, a pretty blonde, doesn't mind rising at 4.30 each day.
"It means no night-club
hine," .7f»vcp admitted "hut
I like horses better thaw boy friends anyhow."
In one field-trotting women have really come into their own.
This rapidly mushroom- ing sport has let down the sex barrier, and girls are swarming all over it.
Perhaps part of the rea- son for the sudden public interest in harness racing lies in the fact that there is no distinction made be- tween women and men drivers.
Girls have shown them- selves at least equal to men in harness driving, where the emphasis is more on skill, patience and judg- ment than on physical strength and stamina, as in flat racing.
Best - known harness driver in America is 61 year-old Mrs. Forrest Bur right, known affectionately and accurately as "Grand- ma" to thousands who , crowd New York's arc
lighted Roosevelt Raceway each night.
"Grandma's" youngest daughter. 24-year-oid Joyce, frequently races against
But "Grandma's" arch- rival in public appeal is Aleathe Nichols, a 22-year old beauty, who won more than 100 dashes last season, to become second-ranking driver of both sexes in the
Aleathe, a slim, raven haired girl with the cool
courage of a real champion, was brought up on a farm, has an instinct for handling highly - strung standard
Like all leading harness women, Aleathe can rub down a horse, doctor him when he sneezes, and even shoe him if necessary
She is regarded as a great judge of pace, knows just what extra speed can be demanded of a trotter and -when to demand it.
Another girl headliner in trotting is Alma Shappard, who, at the age of 13, pilot
ed her father's great stal- lion, Dean Hanover, to the world's record mark of 1 min. 58i sec. for trotting stallions-a record unex- celled for many years.
bered numerically 60 to ], women harness driv- ers hold at least 5 US track records, and 4
Grandma Burright, who has been driving on coun- try tracks for more than a quarter of a century, first drew the spotlight to wo- men drivers in 1943.
That year Grandma met Sep Palin-renowned as the great trainer-driver of the world's trotter, Greyhound -and another top driver. Slim Shilling, in the same
It was a two-out-of-three heat event, and Grandma and her. two male competi- tors each won a heat.
Accordingly the 3 winners were called back for a race off. To the amazement of the crowd Palin did not appear at the starting line.
Instead, after the second race, Palin turned his wilt- ing horse back to the stable, declaring "That's enough. I couldn't beat Grandma in a field of 13 horses in the first race and I'm sure I cannot beat her in a field of 3."
The following week Grandma did it again at Keeneland Racecourse, Lex
ington (Kentucky), the
centre of standard-bred ! breeding.
Kentucky colonels, who love trotting nearly as much as they do mint juleps, hung over the railing shouting, "Come on, Grand- ma," as she again whipped Palin over a mile distance in a photo finish.
Since that day Grandma Burright has been a great favorite with trotting punt-
Largely because of her success hundreds of girls have been attracted to the sport, and the number of women drivers has doubled each year.
Women riders jumped an- other big hurdle this year in the swank National
Horse snow at madison
For the first time in his- tory women were permitted to compete for places on the US riding team which performs at the Show against skilled foreign teams from England, Ire- land, Canada, Chile, Mexi-
Carol Durand, 32-year-old mother, and 27-year-old Norma Matthews, a Cali
iomian rancn-owner, won
2 place "on the six-man
The Mexican team, com- posed entirely of Army rid- ers, for the first time also included a woman, Lieuten- ant Eva Valdes.
Lieut. Valdes upheld her sex nobly on the opening night by winning the intri- cate 12-jump hurdle compe- tition against the top men riders of six nations.
Í*1 didn't believe him when he said they were the _best seers in the house"_._
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