Retired Horsewoman Alma Spence Dies

Alma Spence, a retired jockey, trainer, and blacksmith, died March 26 at her home near Cottonwood, Ariz. She was 87.

An accomplished rider, Spence trained at tracks nationwide, and galloped and ponied her horses up through the time of her retirement. Her last stint as a conditioner came at Penn National in 1994.

Spence was a natural in the saddle. She captured a three-day pony express competition in Alberta, Canada, and twice won the powderpuff derby at Agua Caliente in the 1940s. She and her husband, Everette, were stunt jockeys in the 1943 Abbott and Costello movie It Ain't Hay. In the late 1940s, she rode against her son, Richard, in races at bush tracks in Oregon and Washington. He went on to become a licensed jockey.

Spence is survived by Richard and another daughter, Roberta, plus a stepdaughter, Connie.