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Lady Legend Event Ends In A Thriller
Seefeldt, Zuerstgold rally to win Lady Legends for the Cure V
BALTIMORE, 05-16-14---Zuerstgold, ridden by Maryland’s own Andrea Seefeldt Knight, came flying on the outside to win the Lady Legends for the Cure V, presented by Wells Fargo, on Friday at Pimlico Race Course.
Trained by Pimlico-based Frannie Campitelli, Zuerstgold splashed home a neck in front of Graced in a thrilling conclusion to the event, created in 2010 as a way to celebrate the women who blazed a trail for future female jockeys as well as raise awareness and funds in the fight against breast cancer.
In its debut, the event was the first ever pari-mutuel race showcasing retired female jockeys, profiled on NBC and filmed as the climatic ending to the feature-length documentary, ‘JOCK,’ chronicling the story of the first generation of lady riders.
This year, it was held in conjunction with ‘The Ultimate Girls Day Out,’ a partnership between Pimlico; Susan G. Komen for the Cure, global leader of the breast cancer movement; and Baltimore-based Suited To Succeed in a day supporting issues important to women.
Sent off at 6-1, Zuerstgold paid $15.20 to win on a $2 bet, running six furlongs in 1:12.70 on a sloppy main track.
“I had so much fun prepping and getting ready for it,” Seefeldt said. “The media interest has been great. There’s been a lot of good coverage, and to get people to the races is great. It was a lot of fun.”
Seefeldt, 51, is one of the three original Lady Legends who competed in Friday’s race, along with Patti ‘PJ’ Cooksey and Cheryl White. Cooksey and White are the only Lady Legends to take part in all five races.
Defending Lady Legends champion Jennifer Rowland-Small, the pioneering female rider in Maryland in the 1970s, and Barbara Jo Rubin, the first woman to win a pari-mutuel race against males at a recognized track, both missed the event for the first time with injuries. All 10 women participated in a morning autograph event at Pimlico.
Retired since 1994 with 604 wins and nearly $8 million in purse earnings, Seefeldt returned to the event after a two-year absence. She dedicated Friday’s win to her sister-in-law, Danica Roki Seefeldt, who is battling cancer.
“I just found out yesterday that she went for a lumpectomy, so this is for her,” Seefeldt said. “I saw the overnight and I was in the one hole and it was sloppy. I knew I wanted to close with the horse, but that’s really hard to do, to let the other ones go and be back there and be in traffic. If you’ve ever been on the highway with two semi trucks on either side of you, it’s really hard to make yourself go up in there.”
After being outrun early, Seefeldt steered Zuerstgold to the far outside at the top of the stretch and closed steadily for the 5-year-old Candy Ride gelding’s third win in six races this year. In her two Lady Legends starts, Seefeldt was second in 2010 and third in 2011.
“It’s a muddy day and everybody wants to send because you want to be in front,” said Seefeldt, her face caked with mud. “I wanted to be in front, but I had the one hole and if I sent him I’d probably just have enough speed to be in trouble. If I rode the way I rode in the old days, I’d let the other guys go and make a late run. I knew that’s what I needed to do; I just didn’t know if I had the nerve to do it, but I did.”
Stacie Clark-Rodgers, a 1994 Sovereign Award nominee as Canada’s top apprentice who was making her second appearance in the race, was on the lead with Graced in mid-stretch but eased up about 40 yards from the finish and got beat at the wire. She also finished second in her debut last year.
“He was awesome and did nothing wrong,” Clark-Rodgers said. “Everything was going great and I just screwed up and misjudged the wire. It’s been a while since I hit the wire first. It was fun for all the connections. We always have a lot of fun every year. It’s kind of sad it’s not happening anymore.”
Tami Purcell Burkland, the only female jockey to win the All American Futurity (G1) Quarter Horse race, was third with Big Blue Talent in her Lady Legends debut.
“My colt ended up being a little rough going into the gate,” she said. “He didn’t get off very well. Then [Rojo Perfecto] left in front of me, and my horse grabbed a quarter really badly. I was just trying to find a spot, but he got stuck down on the rail coming out of the turn. When we finally got through, he came again. It’s really nice to be a part of this day. Everyone at the track treats us real nice.”
Finishing fourth on even-money favorite Big Lute was another event newcomer, Sharon Gunther, who won 274 races and nearly $1.3 million in purses and now works as the horse identifier at Delaware Park.
“He broke good and I had perfect position,” she said. “I was right where I wanted to be. He took the lead around the turn on his own. Turning for home, I thought we were going to win it. It was a nice clean trip. He is a nice horse to ride.”
Abby Fuller, 55, the first female to sweep New York’s Triple Tiara for fillies with Mom’s Command in 1985, was fifth with It’s My Perogative.
“He broke super, but they said he doesn’t have that much speed,” she said. “I thought he was going to give me a really good run midway on the turn, and he did, but then some dirt hit him. I don’t think mud is his preferred surface. He didn’t slip or slide; he just didn’t extend. This is always great fun though. I’ll miss it.”
Cooksey, 56, herself a breast cancer survivor and one of two females to ride in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, was sixth with Rojo Perfecto.
“I was fitter this year than any other year,” she said. “I thought it would be better to come off the pace. We ran good and rode hard. It’s sad that this is the last year for the event. It’s all about awareness.”
Cheryl White, 60, the first African-American female rider, was seventh aboard Macho Spaces.
“My horse was too far back to be competitive,” she said. “It felt great to ride. I've ridden in every one of these. This is a great event. This is the last one. I don't know why, they didn't tell us, but I'm sorry to see it ended."
Kaymarie Kreidel, 42, an outrider in Maryland who won 190 races and $3 million in purses between 1992 and 2012, was eighth on Clowning Around. It was her first time as a Lady Legend.
“I had a blast. The horse was a perfect dream,” she said. “[Trainer Crystal Pickett] said he didn’t like mud so I chased him out of the gate, dropped over toward the rail and saved as much horse as I could. I thought I was going to hang on for third, but inside the eighth pole he was just done. I enjoyed my trip. I just wish the race was five-eighths; I might have had a shot to get some money.”
About Pimlico Race Course
Historic Pimlico Race Course, home of the Preakness® Stakes, the middle jewel in horse racing's famed Triple Crown, first opened its doors on October 25, 1870, and is the second oldest racetrack in the United States. Pimlico has played host to racing icons and Baltimoreans have seen the likes of legendary horses such as Man o’ War, Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Affirmed and Cigar thunder down the stretch in thrilling and memorable competition. For more information on Pimlico, visit www.pimlico.com.
Pimlico Race Course is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world's largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horse racing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America's premier supplier of virtual online horse racing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.