Strandberg's Laurel Win First of Her Career

The Washington native is a graduate of the North American Riding Academy.

Jockey Mallory Strandberg won the first race of her career March 22 when she guided Light Of Truth to victory in the first race at Laurel Park in Maryland (VIDEO).

Strandberg sent the Stephen Casey-trained runner to the lead from post 1 in the 1 1/16-mile event for $5,000 claimers. The 4-year-old Birdstone gelding disputed the pace with Moonlight Gin to the far turn before falling back to third, then came on again in the stretch to win by 2 1/2 lengths.

Owned by Stephen Ferguson, Light Of Truth completed the distance in 1:50.29 and paid $5.80 as the second choice in the wagering.

Strandberg is a recent graduate of Chris McCarron's North American Racing Academy in Lexington. It was the 13th mount for the 22-year-old native of Danville, Wash.

"I am happy and am ready for more wins," Strandberg said. "Horses have been part of my life forever. I was in college (Central Washington University) and it wasn't going anywhere. We had to write a paper on our career choice, and I decided right then to drop out of college and find a jockey school."

The first professional jockey school in the United States, NARA teaches students the fundamentals of professional race riding and horse care with courses in nutrition, finance, communication, rules of racing, and technology. Founded in 2006, its graduates have won more than 1,800 races.

"Mallory is fearless," said McCarron, who ranks sixth on the all-time win list with 7,141 career victories. "She was barrel racing all her life, so she loves speed and has great balance. She learned a technique that I teach as far as a way I got horses to run quicker than any person in her class."

Strandberg is one of two NARA graduates in the Maryland riding colony. Kristina McManigell ranks eighth in the rider standings with 17 victories from 93 mounts.

The 24-year-old, who is in her fourth year as a professional rider, took the second race aboard No Conflict March 22.