Magali Mascarte is a jockey I knew a bit about when she was riding at Suffolk Downs a few years back. I recently got back in touch with her when she was down at the Tampa Bay Downs meet and here is the interview:
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FOTH: Where were you born and where did you grow up?
MM: I grew up in France and I came to America 2 weeks after my 18th birthday.
FOTH: When you were young did you know you wanted to come to America?
MM: I came to America to ride races because in France it is very hard and I went to a jockey school when I was 13 and I graduated and I ended up working for somebody in NY and that is how I came to America.
FOTH: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
MM: I have 1 brother.
FOTH: When you came America was it like you thought it was gonna be or was it something completely different?
MM: I had no idea what to expect, I liked everything about it when I got here.
FOTH: When you were over in France did you ride any races?
MM: I rode a couple races in France when I was 16. They were apprentice races where you could not bet.
FOTH: When you came to America and were in NY, did you ride any races there?
MM: I rode at Aquduct only once.
FOTH: I know you rode up at Suffolk Downs. How did you end up riding there?
MM: I was looking for an agent in NY and I couldn't find anybody and an agent from Boston called me and 2 weeks after that I flew to Boston and started riding right away.
FOTH: What are some memories you have of riding up at Suffolk Downs?
MM: The people were very friendly and I had a really good time and won most of my races while I was there.
FOTH: Did you have a special horse or trainer that you rode for while you were at Suffolk?
MM: I loved the horse named 'Sno Luck"
FOTH: After you left Suffolk Downs where did you go cause I sort of lost touch of where you were riding?
MM: I rode at Rockingham and I am married now and I met my husband at Rockingham and is he was going to Tampa Bay Downs. So I ended up doing Rockingham and Tampa Bay Downs.
FOTH: Are you still riding now or are you just exercising horses now?
MM: I have not exercised any horse for a couple months now. Actually right now I am working in the money room at Tampa Bay Downs.
FOTH: When you were riding did you get a lot of injuries or were you pretty much injury free?
MM: I broke my shoulder up at Rockingham Park. I have had some other minor injuries, but I can't think of any right now. (laughs)
FOTH: Do you miss riding a lot nowadays or is something you did it and your over it and it was time to move on?
MM: Well I would not say that I am retired. I may go back to riding someday. I also wanted to tell you when I rode down at Tampa Bay Downs I was the leading apprentice rider one year and Tampa Bay is a really nice track and I have built a house here. I may go back to riding and I am trying to make my life here.
FOTH: What was the actual last race that you rode up until now and did you
know that was gonna be your last race?
MM: No I didn't know. I rode my last here (Tampa Bay Downs) like a year and a half ago.
FOTH: Did you win?
MM: (laughs) I wish I did, no I didn't.
FOTH: What was the big difference you noticed about riding at Tampa Bay and Suffolk if there was any big difference.
MM: The difference for me was in Boston I rode for the same people all the time and here at Tampa it is different cause every year cause you have different jockeys that come to town and you have to pay a little more attention.
FOTH: I know there is always a lot of jockeys that ride there, do any of the girl jockeys impress you much.
MM: Jill Jellison is a great girl to ride with up in Boston and she is down here and also Tammi Piermarini.
FOTH: When you were riding did you feel you gotta a pretty fair shake being a female jockey or do you think you had to work that much harder to prove yourself?
MM: I had to work hard and in France I had to work a 100 times harder.
FOTH: Do you think another female rider can win one of the Triple Crown races?
MM: I don't know, but I sure hope so.
FOTH: If a young girl came up top you and wanted to become a jockey, what advice would you give her?
MM: I would tell her it is a lot of hard work and she needs to mentally be ready for that and it is very tough and being a jockey is tough mentally as well as physically.
FOTH: Do you have any plans on going back to France or are you pretty set on staying here?
MM: Yes I am here to stay. I may go back to visit and actually my parents are here visiting right now for 3 weeks and this is my life here now.
FOTH: Did you ever have any problems with your weight while riding?
MM: No and sometimes I was too light. (laughs) I am really small too.
FOTH: Do you think you would become a trainer and that you will be involved in horse racing all your life?
MM: I am pretty sure I will not be a trainer.
FOTH: Was there any one track while you were riding that you wanted to ride, but never got the chance to ride.
MM: Saratoga would be one and another one where I hear the girls do well at is Canterbury Park. I almost went there a few years ago and now I regret that.
FOTH: I am out of questions anything you want to say to wrap this up?
MM: I just want to say your site is great I go on it almost every day.
FOTH: Thank you.
MM: Your doing a great job.
FOTH: Thanks again and it was great to finally interview after all this time.
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