Horsepower Proves 'Cure' for Gwen Jocson

Horsepower Proves 'Cure' for Gwen Jocson
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Gwen Jocson won the first Legends for the Cure race for retired female riders.

Gwen Jocson, who last rode in 1999, made her return to the races a winning one with a victory aboard Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Honor in Peace in the “Legends for the Cure” race for retired female jockeys May 14 at Pimlico Race Course.

Jocson was one of eight to compete in the $30,000 allowance race on which wagering was permitted. The race benefited the Susan G. Komen for the Cure fund, which provides money for breast cancer research.

Honor in Peace broke alertly in the six-furlong event, chased front-running Mass Destructionand Mary Wiley Wagner, bid for the lead turning for home and drew away to win by 2 3/4 lengths over Chapel of Love, who rallied for second under Andrea Seefeldt Knight. Favored Rasher, with Mary Russ Tortora, finished third.

“It was like I was on a rocket when the gate opened,” said Jocson, a leading apprentice and journeyman rider at Philadelphia Park in the early 1990s. “I had horse. It feels so good to have that much power underneath you. It makes me want to come back and ride.”

Jocson won her first career race and final race before retiring. She said she had to win the Legends event—or else find a way to come back again.

Honor in Peace, a son of Peace Rules trained by Wesley Ward for owners Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey, won in 1:11.46—racehorse time on the fast track. He paid $8.60 as the co-second choice.

Patricia Cooksey, who retired about six years ago and is the third-leading female rider of all time, finished an even fifth with co-second choice Cleric.

“It seemed like every time I would call him, he’d spin his wheels,” Cooksey said. “But it was a great experience; a wonderful promotional idea. I had a great time, and it was great getting my strength and fitness back.”

Cooksey admitted the race was a workout, but said: “That’s OK. I’m supposed to blow a little bit.”

“It felt great,” said Barbara Jo Rubin, the first woman to win a pari-mutuel race in the United States in 1969. When asked if the experience was exciting, she said with wide eyes: “Yeah, it was.”

The Pimlico race will serve as the ending to a feature-length documentary called “JOCK,” which relates the story of the first generation of female riders.

The Maryland Jockey Club said it would match the amount of money wagered to win on the winner of the race and give it to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure fund.

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