Jockey Maria Thornton won for the first time of her career in the second race July 27 at Arlington International Racecourse, when she guided Stephensclassygal to a 6 1/4-length victory.
The 25-year-old Thornton, younger sister of Arlington veteran Tim Thornton, accepted her first mount four days earlier, and was riding in just her third race when she broke her maiden.
"It feels great (to win). It was very unexpected," an excited Thornton said afterward. "There's no feeling like it - none at all. You get chills like crazy. Tim told me it was 13 (rides before he won) but this was just my third one."
The breakthrough win came for trainer Scott Mullins in the 1 1/16-mile Polytrack race with a 3-year-old filly owned by Larry Bingham and John Conforti. Sent off at odds of 5-2 in the field of six $7,500 claimers, Stephensclassygal pressed the pace before taking over and drawing off through the stretch.
Though she only recently took out her license, Thornton has been working horses in the morning over the last year and credits conditioners John Haran, Frank Kirby, Moises Yanez, and Mike Stidham—in addition to Mullins —for helping her career. Employed by Stidham prior to the Arlington meet, she has been working many of his quality horses.