From Hoosier Park
Tara Hemmings won two of the five legs of the Female Jockey Challenge to earn 13 points and the title in this year’s event, held Nov. 10 at Hoosier Park. The native of England edged fellow Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack rider Maria Charles by five points to win the seventh edition of the contest.
Hemmings took the lead from the start with a win in the first leg of the challenge with True Hearted from the Jackie Christenson barn. She used a patient trip and moved the 4-year-old filly widest in the turn. The pair rallied and got up just in time to win by a neck.
In leg two of the challenge, Hemmings finished second behind Charles, who rode Beach Please to an 8 1/2-length win. The second-place finish gave Hemmings eight total points and a firm place atop the event standings.
Entering the final leg of the event, Hemmings needed a second-place finish to secure the title. She went one step further, leading Dixie Colors from the George Leonard barn to a win. The overwhelming favorite drove off in the stretch to give the Female Jockey Challenge its first international winner.
Jane Magrell and Janice Blake finished in a tie for third with six points each. Jenna Joubert, Jordan Springer, and Liz Morris each had five points. Magrell and Joubert each won a leg of the event.
Hemmings began her riding career in California exercising horses that included 1997 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Silver Charm and 2001 Horse of the Year Point Given. She currently rides at Philly Park, primarily for her husband, trainer Steve Krebs.
Brinda Robbins, the 2006 Female Jockey Challenge winner, presented the trophy to Hemmings following the eighth race. Robbins retired from riding last fall after a career-ending injury and now serves as a jockey’s agent at Hoosier Park.
The Female Jockey Challenge event also included a silent auction for local charity Alternatives of Madison County. The organization provides shelter for women and children affected by domestic abuse. The auction raised more than $1,500 for the organization.