Jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr., who retired from Thoroughbred racing in November 2004 to set off on a career as a real estate agent, has decided to return to her lifelong love: horses. Homeister, who turns 34 on July 5, started galloping race horses at Calder last week and expects to be back in competition by as early as June 17. The jockey has 1,726 winners."I missed the action of the races, the fans, the excitement. Racing is awesome," said Homeister on Friday. "One day recently I asked my mom (trainer Rosemary Homeister) what she would think if I started back galloping. She was ecstatic. I've been getting on horses for Phil Gleaves and Manny Tortora. Marty Wolfson said he'd like me to ride his horses, too."Homeister has retained the services of her former agent, Tito Fuentes.During her career as a jockey, Homeister, Jr. was one of the top female riders in the country. She was the first female rider to win the Eclipse Award as an apprentice, which she did in 1992. As an apprentice, she led the standings at Tropical at Calder during the 1992/93 season. She was the leading jockey at Hialeah Park in 2001. That same year, she became the first woman to ride in the Clásico del Caribe at El Comandante Race Track in Puerto Rico, which she won.In 2003, Homeister achieved the dream of every jockey - to have a mount in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). She counts the experience of riding Supah Blitz in the "Run for the Roses" as the best experience of her racing career."The first horse I got on, I shedrowed (walked under tack in the barn)," she said. "Then I galloped one on the training track and my legs felt good. I go to the gym every day, which I've always done, but getting on horses in the morning is what is going to get me fit for racing. I broke out of the gate on a two-year-old today, and it was great.
"My goal is to do as well as I did before," said Homeister. "I did really well in the real estate business and I still have five listings, but my main focus is on horse racing. My desire and passion are with the horses."