Samantha Perry is a young jockey riding out in the Mid-West and also has a business as well and I asked her some questions and here is what she said to them:
FOTH: Where were you born and where did you grow up?
SP: Born and raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma!
FOTH: So did you have a love for horses or horse racing as a young girl or did that come later on in your life?
SP: Before I could hardly walk I was up on horses backs. I show jumped and rodeoed and then as my mom would take me to the racetrack as a kid I developed the passion for horse racing.
FOTH: So did you know you wanted to be a jockey then when you were growing up?
SP: Most definitely, it was a huge dream for me, it was the only thing I wanted to do.
FOTH: So did at the time, did you have any idea how to go about how to become a jockey?
SP: Not a clue, I had no connections or family/friends in racing!
FOTH: So take me through the steps you took to become one.
SP: I had some mutual friends in the horse world that had a small race farm, I began grooming and doing barn work there and started learning to gallop on an older race horse!
FOTH: Looking back how easy was it learning how to ride?
SP: Almost anyone can ride a horse, but riding a race horse and learning to ride them is a whole different world! Some things come easy but others not so much.
FOTH: So tell me about your first race. What track was it at and where did you finish in it? How nervous were you in the jock’s room?
SP: My first race was at Remington Park in Oklahoma City, it was going 870 yards in the slop from the 8 hole aboard a horse named “Hey Hey Hey Hey”. I did not finish on the board but it was still fun! I was so nervous and there were no other females in the room with me and I had no idea how to even put the rubber bands around my wrists for my silks!
FOTH: Too funny. Now tell me about your first win. What track was that at? Did you win in a photo or by a lot? What was it like jogging the horse back to the winner’s circle?
SP: My first win was at Remington Park, it was my 3rd ever race, a week after I graduated from college! It was on a horse named Big Winner. She was a huge grey mare and we were going 440 yards. She broke on top and stayed there! I was smiling ear to ear on the way back, it was so nice to see all my family and friends there in the winner circle.
FOTH: Did the jockeys get you good after the race and what did they get you with? Did you know it was coming?
SP: Of course I knew it was coming! It happens to all of us! They got me with buckets of ice water! I remember it being a pretty hot day so it felt like a nice cool off!
CF: Now you have mentioned some quarter horse races you rode early on in your career. Have you rode in many thoroughbred races as well and which go you prefer?
SP: Yes, I started out with quarter horses and have stayed there! I enjoy both breeds and have worked for Steve Asmussen exercise riding for him for a few years but I really just enjoy galloping/working TB’s more than racing them. I have only raced a handful of TB races and have just 1 TB win.
CF: Now with the speed you come out of the gate in these quarter horse races does the thought of injury ever cross your mind?
SP: Not at all, obviously, no one wants to get injured but it’s not a matter of if but when and how badly. You can get hurt any day in any occupation just by operating a vehicle, cars kill people more often than horses. We can’t live life in a plastic bubble, you have to be willing to take a chance that at any moment your life can change and must make the most of what you can, while you can!
CF: So I have never been to Remington Park. Tell me a bit about the track. Do they get good crowds for the races?
SP: Remington Park is beautiful! It’s right in in the Oklahoma City metro and free admission. It gets a pretty decent crowd on larger races days, I would definitely say the Quarter Horse meet gets a bigger turn out in the spring.
CF: So what is a typical day like for you on a race day?
SP: I gallop at the track in the morning, head home and take a nap, wake up and head to the gym to do something light and stretch in the sauna some, and head to the races!
FOTH: Now what are some things you like to do when your away from the racetrack?
SP: I sleep quite a bit to rest and recover! I enjoy seeing movies and going to the gym, hanging out with friends and family!
FOTH: Now horse racing has taken quite a few bad hits lately. What are some ideas we could do as a horse racing industry to change that?
SP: I don’t speak on things I don’t know the whole story about and there are two sides to every story. People have their reasons for being angry at the sport and vice versa! Every sport has its light side and dark sides.
FOTH: So are there any other female jockeys out at Remington Park these days?
SP: Yes! During the quarter horse meet we have Nakia Ramirez and Justine Klabier!
FOTH: Now before we go any further, please tell everyone about this website your doing and what will people find when they click on it. I will post the link at the end of the interview.
SP: So Galup is the name of the business I started! I started Galup to bring an overall awareness to females in the horse racing industry, whether it be track photographers, groom, jockeys, etc. I want to spotlight these females and shed some light that there are a lot more females in the racing industry then others would think! Another thing that is in the works with Galup is simple betting techniques or general tips or information to make peoples trip to the races a winning one!
FOTH: So looking back was becoming a jockey what you thought it was going to be and how hard was it?
SP: Looking back- becoming a jockey was better than I could have imagined. Any goal you work toward in life can be a challenge, but you have to surround yourself with people who believe in you and even more importantly believing in yourself and that can make all the difference.
FOTH: Do you have any goals for yourself as a jockey?
SP: Goals for myself that I have as a jockey includes winning a few more races and bringing more awareness to the amazing women in this sport, but the most important goal for me is finishing safe each day I sit on a horse. We can really take for granted how lucky we are each day when we get home safe!
FOTH: What is a typical race day like for you?
SP: Going to the track on the morning to get on horses and going to the gym to do something light and sit in the sauna to loosen up some and head to the races! I am all about routine and keeping the same routine each day.
FOTH: If a young girl came up to you and said she wanted to be a jockey, what would you tell her?
SP: I would tell her to live her dream but to finish school first and always have a back up plan!
FOTH: Samantha many thanks and thumbs up for being part of my website, any last words to wrap this up?
SP: Footboy, I fully expect you to be kissing many more female feet in the future and I better see it so don’t let me down! Thank you for featuring the amazing women in racing throughout the years! It’s so great to learn about all they have accomplished and get to know more about the female jockeys racing all over the world! Readers- be sure to show your support to all the women in racing and visit my website www.galupgirl.com or on Instagram @galupgirl !!!
Since the interview was conducted Samantha is now a public-facing paddock host and handicapper at Monmouth Park.