Traci Baird is a retired jockey who saw our website and I asked if she wanted to be part of it so here is an email chat I did with her.
FOTH: Where you born and where did you grow up?
TB: Beaumont, Texas, I grew up mainly in Louisiana.
FOTH: Any brothers or sisters?
TB: 2 Sisters
FOTH: What sort of kid were you growing up?
TB: I was into barrel racing at a very early age. I rode nearly every weekend. I was to busy to ever be into trouble.
FOTH: What event or events led to you becoming a jockey?
TB: I started galloping at 16 for David Nelson. He is now the president of Purina Mills. Inc. He had a few racehorses in Shreveport. I got my jocks license in 1991 at Delta Downs.
FOTH: Any female riders you liked back then
TB: Yes, I had some of the best female jockeys to look up to, Tami Purcell, Kim Stover and Jerri Nichols.
FOTH: What do you remember about your first race?
TB: The horse was Reason to Swing. I was in the 5 hole, 6 furlongs. I finished 5th.
FOTH: What do you remember about your first win? Did they cream you with stuff?
TB: Oh my gosh, the horse was Northern Searcher. I was a long shot. I was on the lead the whole race and when I turned for home the velcro on silks came undone and air got inside and blew my shirt up like a parachute. It was so funny!! They got me so good. They threw ice water on me and drug me through the dirt. Vaseline in my hair and shaving cream all over.
FOTH: What tracks did you ride at?
TB: Delta Downs, Evangeline, Louisiana Downs, Fair Grounds.
FOTH: What was your proudest moment as a jockey?
TB: My first stakes win on Fabulous Force.
FOTH: How long did you ride for?
TB: 5 years
FOTH: What event or events led to you retiring?
TB: I broke my leg twice within a year. I had a six month old daughter who needed me in one piece. My family bought several barrel futurity colts and I thought it would be safer for me to go back into barrel racing.
FOTH: Any female jockeys you admire?
TB: Tami Purcell, Kim Stover, Jerri Nichols, Karen Kaiser, Darbie Coco.
FOTH: Do you still follow the sport much?
FOTH: What injuries have you had?
TB: I broke my leg twice, dislocated my hip, front teeth knocked out, broken ribs
FOTH: Did you have a favorite track or horse you rode?
TB: Delta Downs, Mister Boto
FOTH: What advice would you give a young female who wants to ride?
TB: Listen to the older riders, be humble and forgiving, Attitude is everything!!!
FOTH: Looking back was being a jockey harder or easier than you thought it would be?
TB: Hard Life period!!!!
FOTH: Any last words? Thanks for doing this interview with us.
TB: Good Luck to all the girl riders out there. Stick together and stay safe.
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