Wednesday, September 19, 2012 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, Ky., Sept. 19, 2012 – Apprentice jockey Crystal Carman, currently riding at Turfway Park, has been invited to compete in the Campeonato Internacional de Jockettas, an all-female international jockey competition held at Hipódromo de Monterrico in Lima, Peru. Scheduled this year for Sept. 23, the competition is organized by the Association of Race Horse Owners of Peru.
Twelve female riders invited from around the world will compete in four races, with the winner determined by points. Carman is the only rider from the United States to compete. Others hail from Canada, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Chili, and Switzerland.
Carman, 24, began riding hunter/jumpers at the age of 17, later than most equestriennes take up the sport. Her foray into riding was a serendipity of sorts; as she was recovering from a lengthy childhood illness, her doctor recommended she find an outlet for stress. A family friend taught riding lessons, so Carman chose riding as her prescription. Carman's small stature and natural ability led her trainer to suggest she try race riding, and in 2008 she left her home in upstate New York to enroll in the North American Racing Academy (NARA) in Lexington, part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. She graduated in 2010 with an associate’s degree in Equine Sciences.
Riding Thoroughbreds at 35-plus miles per hour might not meet most definitions of stress relief, Carman acknowledged. "But riding horses is one of the biggest passions of my life," she said. "I love learning, I love horses, and I love going fast—the faster, the better."
Carman began her career at the Thoroughbred Center in Lexington as an exercise rider for trainers Akiko Gothard and Paul Garcia, for whom she still works. She took out her jockey’s license in the summer of 2011 and rode her first races at River Downs. In 277 career starts, she has 37 wins, 28 seconds, and 35 thirds.