Surrounded by quiet storm of rainbows hung above her, jockey Connie Doll sits in the “color room” at Emerald Downs race track in Auburn. She has been a professional jockey since her first race at age 14, in Canada.
“The horse was so good, it ran off with me and won, and made me look good,” she said.
Every racehorse owner chooses and supplies his or her own silk blouse in a tradition that goes back, if not to chariot riders in ancient Rome, then to the Newmarket race course in England, in October 1762. Minutes of the Jockey Club meeting that month record a resolution that riders would wear colors to distinguish themselves from one another.
“I feel like a part of history,” Doll says. She also says she has “made a lot of history after 39 years.”
With those 39 years under her whip, she claims to have the longest consecutive career of any female jockey in the country.
And of all the silks she has worn over nearly four decades, she does have a very favorite.
“The ones I win in,” she says. “I love those.”