Jordan Charkoudian

Jordan Charkoudian rides out in the Kentucky area and I got her on the phone recently for this chat and here is what Jordan had to say to my questions:

FOTH: Where were you born and where did you grow up?

JC: I was born in upstate New York in a town called Kinderhook. I was born and raised there till I am came down to Kentucky.

FOTH: Do you have any brothers or sisters?

JC: I have 1 younger sister?

FOTH: What do your parents and your sister think about you being a jockey?

JC: They love it and everybody has been very supportive. FOTH; Have the ever had a chance to see you race live?

JC: My 1st race at Churchill Downs they all came down and surprised me and saw me ride my first race there.

FOTH: When you were a young girl growing up, were you a tomboy like most of the other female riders?

JC: I wasn't a tomboy, I just rode and took dance lessons.

FOTH: Did you know at a young age you wanted to become a female rider or was that like the farthest thing from your mind?

JC: No I was into the hunter jumpers and show horses. I did get into the thoroughbreds until college.

FOTH: What event or events actually led to you becoming a jockey?

JC: I went to college at SUNY Morrisville (hope that is right-chris) and they had a thoroughbred program there. I started galloping a horse there and we got a thoroughbred fit enough to run and with heart rate monitors and stuff and we got him fit enough to run, so we started racing him and it just went from there.

FOTH: Did it feel natural getting up on a horse and stuff?

JC: Oh yeah. I had been riding for so long.

FOTH: Did you notice a big difference in getting up on a thoroughbred horse for the 1st time?

JC: Yeah there is a difference.

FOTH: Did you have anybody teach you how to ride or did you learn a lot on your own?

JC: I took Equestrian and I took lessons and all that stuff growing up.

FOTH: You said you grew up in upstate NY. Did you ever get a chance to go to Finger Lakes or Saratoga while you were there?

JC: I started galloping at Finger Lakes and we always went to Saratoga every summer.

FOTH: What made you make the move down to Kentucky?

JC: My husband at the time got a job at the Thoroughbred Times so we moved here.

FOTH: Did you go to Churchill Downs at all before you began riding?

JC: Just galloping. I was galloping at Churchill and Keeneland and I was able to ride my 1st race at Churchill.

FOTH: When you were galloping, did you know then that you wanted to become a jockey?

JC: Yeah. As soon as I started galloping I knew I wanted to race ride.

FOTH: Tell us about your 1st race and were you nervous at all?

JC: You know I wasn't. I was more excited than anything. The horse's name was "Untamed" and it was for trainer George Mcarty and I think it was one of the last races of the day, so I had to sit around and wait, but being at Churchill Downs, it was pretty amazing.

FOTH: Is the jockey colony at Churchill Downs pretty tight knit and were they helpful towards you at all?

JC: They have some of the best riders there and everyone has been very helpful towards me everywhere I have been, Tampa Bay Downs, Belmont, Churchill Downs.

FOTH: What do you think of the recent retirement of Pat Day?

JC: It is sad and the end of the era. There will never be another Pat Day. At least he is walking away healthy and it was his decision and that's important.

FOTH: Where was your 1st win.

JC: 1st win was January 2nd of 2005.

FOTH: What made you decide to leave the Kentucky area and go ride down at Tampa Bay Downs?

JC: Well, Richard Depass, who is a jockey agent set me up with another jockey agent at Tampa and he said that would be the best spot for me to get going and that I would be able to ride a lot.

FOTH: Did you notice a big difference riding at Tampa?

JC: It is very different. The horses and the riders. You can learn a lot from getting on the lesser class of horses too.

FOTH: Your 1st win, did you win by a lot or was it close?

JC: The horse went wire to wire and I won by like 2 or 3 lengths.

FOTH: What was it like galloping back to the winner's circle for the 1st time?

JC: It was pretty amazing. I couldn't stop smiling. It was defiantly an achievement.

FOTH: Did you get pelted with stuff after the race?

JC: I got water buckets and eggs, the whole thing.

FOTH: Did you know that was coming?

JC: I knew, but I pretty much forgot and wasn't ready for it.

FOTH: DO the trainers down at Churchill Downs, are they pretty open to using female riders much?

JC: It is split 50/50. A lot have given me a shot, but you have to prove yourself.

FOTH: So your doing the Kentucky circuit now.

JC: Yeah I'll do Ellis Park and Turfway Park and then I'll go back down to Tampa Bay Downs.

FOTH: Do you feel with each race that your improving as a rider?

JC: I hope so. I can feel the difference and I am getting stronger and trying to think better and finishing stronger, that is what I have to work on.

FOTH: Do you mind riding in the colder weather?

JC: I hate the cold that is why I am going to Tampa. (we both chuckle) I grew up in upstate New York and I have had enough of the cold weather.

FOTH: How long would you like to ride for?

JC: As long as I am able to ride that is what I want to do.

FOTH: What are some of the other riders your friends with?

JC: Patricia Cooksley helped me out a lot. Donna Barton gave me a lot of help too.

FOTH: If some young girl told you she wanted to become a jockey like you, what advice would you give her?

JC: I would tell her it is a long road and it tough and you will need a lot of determination. You will pay your dues and she should gallop a long time before she starts race riding.

FOTH: Do you think another female besides Julie Krone will win one of the Triple Crown Races?

JC: I'd like to think so, but it is so tough.

FOTH: Do you have any fear of injury?

JC: That is something you can't think about. You know it is a possibility, but I don't think about it.

FOTH: Take us through what you do in a typical day?

JC: I get to the track between 5;30 am and 6:00 am and walk around and work horses and that keeps me busy all morning and after that if I can I'll go home and take a short nap and then go to the jock's room and I hope to have 4 or 5 mounts that day. If it is a dark day (that means no live racing-chris) I'll go run 4 or 5 miles and then I am in bed early. (laughs)

FOTH: Do you have any hobbies or things you do away from the track? What do you do to relax?

JC: I like movies, but I like to go dancing. I grew up riding and dancing so those are the 2 things I like to do.

FOTH: Is there any track you would like to ride at one day?

JC: I got to gallop at Saratoga and I'd love to ride a race there and also Delmar.

FOTH: Do you have any problems with weight?

JC: I am lucky and if I eat healthy I stay right around 105.

FOTH: When you get to the jock's room do you look at the racing form and stuff or do you pretty much what the trainer tells you to do?

JC: I always get a form and look at it to see where the horse should be during the race and see who I should follow or be in the front and try to figure it out before I get out there.

FOTH: Jordan I am out of questions, anything you want to say to wrap this up?

JC: I don't think so, just thanks for the interview.