Lori Keith is a jockey I got to know briefly when she was riding at Phila Park. She is now riding at Turf Paradise and here is a phone interview I did.
FOTH: Lori the 1st question I have for you is where were you born and where did you grow up?
LK: I was born in London and grew up in Epson.
FOTH: At a young age did you know you wanted to be a jockey?
LK: I was involved with horse from the age of 9 and onwards. I used to show jump and cross county and did that sort of thing when I was a kid. When I was 9 years old did I want to be a jockey? No.
FOTH: Did it feel natural for you getting up on horses at a young age and stuff?
LK: Yeah. When your around them and you grow up with them and yeah it was pretty natural.
FOTH: What event or events actually led to you becoming a jockey? Was that like the next logical step after you were show jumping and stuff?
LK: No totally different fields. I went to collage and took my A Levels and I wanted to pursue a career in horses and in Epsen there was a lot of horse training yards so that is when I went to work for a horse trainer who is a jump and flat trainer.
FOTH: Did you end up riding any races over in England before you came over here to the US?
FOTH: Was that the plan all along for you, that you were gonna come to the US to be a jockey or did somebody call you and ask you to come over here to be jockey?
LK: No I was in England working over there and I worked for this trainer for 4 years and I got introduced to Gary Stevens (ex-jockey) and Gary got me hooked up with Neil Drysdale over in Los Angeles.
FOTH: How long were you over here before you started riding professionally?
LK: 2 years.
FOTH: Did Gary teach you how to ride and stuff?
LK: No, he just got me introduced to Neil.
FOTH: You have rode at a bunch of different tracks. What do you think of the US?
LK: Everywhere is different. From the East
Coast to the West Coast is different and I certainly
wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
FOTH: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
FOTH: Have your parents had a chance to see you ride live or on TV?
LK: They always watch me on TV and they got a chance to see my ride live at Arlington Park in Chicago.
FOTH: Tell me a little bit about your 1st actual race.
LK: It was in California at Hollywood Park.
FOTH: Were you nervous at all as Hollywood Park is a pretty well known track?
LK: Actually it was strange it went the opposite way, I was not nervous at all. By like my 5th ride I started getting nervous.
FOTH: Did you ride many races at Hollywood Park?
LK: I just rode a couple races and then I went to Arizona and Turf Paradise.
FOTH: Is that where you got your 1st win?
FOTH: How was the feeling jogging the horse back to the winner's circle?
LK: It was brilliant.
FOTH: Did the jockeys get you after the race and did you know it was coming?
LK: Yes. (we both laugh)
FOTH: After Turf Paradise, I know you were in Chicago and then in Maryland and that at Phila Park for a bit where I met you and now your back full circle at Turf Paradise. Why the jump to all the racetracks?
LK: Well Turf Paradise closed and I went to Chicago and I was there for 2 1/2 months and when Churchill Downs closes all the jockeys from there come to Arlington Park so it became more difficult and as you know there has been people that have been in Chicago for like 15 years riding there and they are with big barns and if you don't get in with the big barns, your not in you know. So that is when I went Phila Park and did Delaware Park, Monmouth Park and Saratoga, Penn National.
FOTH: Did you get a chance to ride up at Saratoga while you were here?
LK: Yes I did.
FOTH: A lot of jockeys dream about riding there. How was it for you riding up there?
LK: It was fantastic. Arlington Park, Santa Anita, they are fantastic top notch tracks and it was brilliant I had a 4th Saratoga.
FOTH: Since you have rode at a bunch of tracks, do you notice a big difference in them or there is just a small difference?
LK: Every track is different.
FOTH: Did you feel you were treated pretty fairly at all the tracks you have rode at so far?
LK: Yes I was.
FOTH: How much longer would you like to ride for?
LK: I have no idea.
FOTH: Have you had any injuries so far in your racing career?
LK: I have had torn ligaments.
FOTH: What do you do to prepare for a race? Do you look over the racing form or do you wait and listen to what the trainer tells you to do in the paddock?
LK: I look at the form and listen to the trainer as well.
FOTH: Now your riding at Turf Paradise for the 2nd time around. How is that going for you so far?
LK: It is going great and I am having a lot of fun out here.
FOTH: What do you plan on doing after T.P. closes?
LK: I have no idea, too far away.
FOTH: Do you miss England a lot and would you want to go back there and live or are you happy here in the US?
LK: I have been back to visit and I will certainty plan on visiting there again.
FOTH: Take us through what you do in a typical day and how many horses you work out in the morning, etc.
LK: It all varies like any other jockey, some mornings you can be getting on 7 and some mornings you can get on 2. Every single day is different. Normally get up around 5 am and I am work by 6 am and I usually just get on however many horses I am scheduled to get on that day.
FOTH: Do you ever get recognized outside the track at all?
FOTH: Have you ever been over to Las Vegas yet?
LK: Yes, I went there a yr and a half ago. It is not my sort of thing, lotsof casinos and stuff like that.
FOTH: Do you have any hobbies or things you like to do when your away fromthe race track?
LK: I like to cook.
FOTH: Do you ever have any problems with your weight at all?
LK: No I am natural.
FOTH: Do you feet your improving with each race and do you ever watch the replay of your races and watch how you rode and stuff?
LK: I always watch the replays and always learn something new and can always improve.
FOTH: If a young girl came up to you and wanted to become a jockey, what advice would you give her?
LK: To go ahead and good luck.
FOTH: Looking back was becoming a jockey easier or harder than you thought?
LK: I always thought it would be hard and it was.
FOTH: How hot does it get out there at T.P.?
LK: In the winter it is in the 60's and in the summer it gets up to 120 degrees that is why we don't race here in the summer.
FOTH: Lori I am out of questions. Best of luck with everything and it was great meeting you at Phila Park when you were there those couple months. Any last words and thanks for doing this interview.
LK: Your welcome for the interview
and it was nice meeting you too.
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