Laurel Apprentice Keiser Gets First Victory
Photo: Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club
Chelsey Keiser is 'congratulated' after her victory.

Apprentice jockey Chelsey Keiser won for the first time when she guided Smileforthecamera to victory March 29 in the fourth race at Laurel Park (VIDEO).

Keiser is the third bug rider to win her first career race at Laurel during the 2013 winter meeting, joining Natasha Coddington (Feb. 9) and Mallory Standberg (March 22).

On her first opportunity to ride Joan Everett's $15,000 claimer, the 7-5 favorite, Keiser allowed 5-year-old Smileforthecamera to drop out to the rear of the five-horse field before guiding him outside for a run at the leaders. The son of Eddington   veered in but was able to avoid trouble and reached the front with a sixteenth of a mile to the finish line.

The Jason Egan trainee won by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:27.31 for seven furlongs and paid $4.80.

"I am living the dream," said an emotional Kesier. "I feel like all the hard work has paid off and I have to thank Joan Everett and Jason Egan for giving me the opportunity. I get a chance to gallop him (Smileforthecamera) in the morning and he can be a handful."

The 21-year-old from Ohio was ambushed by her fellow riders on her walk back to the jockey's quarters with a dousing of water and eggs, the traditional hazing after an apprentice breaks her maiden.

"My younger sister is here today so this is really exciting," added Keiser. "It is all a rush right now. I know it is just a $15,000 claiming race but it means the world to me. I am looking forward to getting to Pimlico. Hopefully this is just a start of things to come."

Apprentice riders Yomar Ortiz and Trevor McCarthy will finish 1-2 in the jockey standings at the conclusion of the 50-day stand March 30.
 

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