Cheyanna Patrick

Cheyanna Patrick is a young jockey riding out in the Mid-West and here is her story:

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

CP: I was born in Garden City, Michigan. My parents were traveling while I was growing up so I lived in 6 different states.

FOTH: What sort of girl were you growing up and what did you want to be when you were growing up?

CP: I've always been really competitive. School was and still is my number one priority. I always wanted to be a lawyer.

FOTH: At what point in your life did horses enter your life and what did you think of horse racing the 1st time you saw a live horse race?

CP: My parents have always trained race horses and rodeoed.

FOTH: So what was your 1st job on a racetrack or farm and at that time did you know you wanted to be a jockey?

CP: My first job was as a groom at the farm and then at the track. I started galloping for my parents in the spring of 2013 and loved it, so I set out to get my jock's license. I thought it would be a great summer job to help pay for law school. I was riding races that summer.

FOTH: So how long did you exercise horses before you took out your jockey license and did anybody teach you how to ride and what was some advice you were given back then?

CP: I've rode horses all my life, but I only galloped for a few months before riding races. My parents helped me get started and trainer Leroy Hellman helped me get my license. Everyone told me I had to get more aggressive.

FOTH: So looking back what was the hardest thing about actually becoming a jockey and was being a jockey while you were riding what you thought it was going to be?

CP: The hardest thing for me was my age. I was only 16 when I went to Fairmount Park to get my license. With good reason, stewards are very reluctant to give a 16 year old girl a jock's license. Being a jockey is amazing for me because I get to ride for my family. I never knew how good it could feel to be the main rider for my Dad's stable. 

FOTH: What did you parents think about you being a jockey and have they ever see you ride yet?

CP: At first, my parents strongly disapproved. They didn't want racing to get in the way of college, but now they support me 100 percent. They watch every race I ride.

FOTH: Tell me all about your 1st race. What track it at and where did you finish? Were you nervous at all in the jock’s room and during the post parade etc?

CP: My first race was nerve-racking. It was at Fairmount Park. I was so nervous because I wasn't allowed to carry a stick and the horse was known to lug in terribly. I think I beat one horse.

FOTH: Tell me about your 1st win. What track was that at and what was it like jogging the horse back to the winner’s circle?

CP: My first win was at Fairmount Park for trainer Leroy Hellman. I was just happy that I didn't fall off or clip heels (both of which almost happened), the horse was the best by far in the race. I still laugh at the replay every time I see it.

FOTH: Did the jockey’s get you good after the race and did you know it was coming?

CP: Of course, it's tradition.

FOTH: You are currently riding out in Indiana Grand. For those who have never been there what is it like riding at that track and what tracks have you ridden at so far in your career?

CP: Currently I am at USF completing my second year of college, but I enjoy riding at Indiana Grand. I've also ridden at Fairmount Park and Tampa Bay Downs.

FOTH: Take me through what your life is like on a race day?

CP: I have to get up at 4am to get to the track for training. I usually gallop around 10 head a day for my parents. Then I go to the jocks room to rest and study the program.

FOTH: Now when your in the jock's room do you look over the program trying to figure out how your race will play out so to speak?

CP: Yes I do. My mom always tells me to remember the silks.

FOTH: What are some of the things you like to do when your not doing racing related things and do you follow any other sport teams or sports at all?

CP: I love to barrel race. Anytime I'm not at the track, I'm probably riding my barrel horses or at a competition. I also like to go to Lightning games here in Tampa.

FOTH: Do you think so far you have been treated pretty fairly as a jockey and was there anything that really surprised you as far as going through the whole process of actually becoming a jockey?

CP: I have been treated very fairly. I've been fortunate to have people like Leroy Hellman and my family to look out for me on the backside. I was surprised at how thorough the process was to get my license. Back when my mom rode, all she had to do was show the stewards she could break from the gates.

FOTH: If a young girl came up to you and said she wanted to become a jockey, what advice would you give to her?

CP: First I would tell her to finish school; you can't ride forever. I would tell her to work hard and get as fit as possible. Making connections is also vital.

FOTH: When your about to go in the starting gate with a horse you are riding, what thoughts go through your mind?

CP: I just think about getting a clean break.

FOTH: Have you had a favorite horse that you have ridden so far in your career?

CP: My favorite horse had to be Act Torrid. I rode him twice and won both. The second win might be the best race of my career. We came from about 20 lengths out of it to beat a horse trained by Tom Amoss and ridden by Jeremy Rose. 

FOTH: When you decide to retire do you see yourself staying within the racing industry such as becoming an ex-rider, an outrider, etc?  

CP: Since I am going to be a lawyer, I aspire to be like Maggi Moss.

FOTH; Are there some racetracks on TV that you have seen that you would maybe like to ride at one day?

CP: I would love to win a race for my dad at Churchill Downs.

FOTH; Are there many other female riders at where you ride races at?

 CP: Yes there are several.

FOTH: Thumbs up for doing this interview. Any last words to wrap it up?

CP: Thanks for the interview Chris.

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