Eclipse Award: Emma-Jayne Wilson, Apprentice Jockey

By Esther Marr
Emma-Jayne Wilson, who accepted the Sovereign Award last month for outstanding apprentice jockey in Canada, was awarded another well-deserved honor: an Eclipse Award.

Wilson wowed Canadian and American racing fans alike last year as she led a talented jockey colony at Woodbine during its 167-day meet.

Wilson set a Woodbine record by winning 175 races from 1,096 mounts in 2005, becoming the first female rider to lead the Woodbine meet. Overall, she won 180 races from 1,132 mounts and her runners earned $6.3 million.

The 24-year-old Brampton, Ontario, resident always wanted to be a jockey, and studied equine management at Guelph University. Upon teaming up with agent Mike Luider, Wilson learned the racing game quickly, demonstrating instant talent.

Her highlights of 2005 came with William Sorokolit Sr.'s Classic Stamp, who won the Bell Canadian Stakes (Can-IIT), and then with Our Madison in the Ontario Lassie Stakes.

"Winning the stakes with Classic Stamp, I was just so happy to be the one to do it with her," said Wilson. "All the races she had won (before), I was a part of them, but as an exercise rider. This time I was the jock."

Before settling into her career, Wilson considered it an asset to become educated in many different disciplines of riding, taking classes in English and Western horsemanship in addition to working and galloping Thoroughbreds.

Though she showed patience, style, and talent during her first full season on the job, Wilson admitted on Sovereign Awards night that she "has a long way to go."I am looking forward to this winter as it will give me the opportunity to fine-tune my skills as a jockey," said Wilson. "Always learning and being a student of this game is paramount in regards to ongoing success."

Voting for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey:
Emma-Jayne Wilson, 185; Channing Hill, 42; Justin Stein, 11; Kyle Kaenel, 3; Gerald Almodovar, 1; David Cohen, 1; Corey Fraser, 1; Voter Abstentions, 18.