The beaming smile on Lindy Gott's face told the story of the third race at Turfway Park Friday night, as the young jockey entered the winner's circle for the first time in her career.
Gott, a 20-year-old from Clinton, N.J., booted the 4-year-old filly Prom Theme out of the gate first and never looked back, racing on the lead and drawing away to win by seven lengths for owner/trainer Dale Huber.
The win was the fulfillment of a dream that began when Gott watched Big Brown's Triple Crown run in 2005. She had grown up riding show horses, but over that spring and summer she fell in love with racing, and Big Brown's Belmont Stakes was the first race she saw in person. Years before, her mother, Kim, had worked for breeder/trainer Joan Milne, and in 2008, on the day she turned 16, Gott went to work on Milne's Pittstown, N.J. farm. She broke babies and learned to gallop on the farm, and when Milne sent a promising 2-year-old to trainer Pat McBurney at Monmouth in 2010, the promising gallop girl went along.
Gott galloped a couple of years for McBurney and qualified for her jockey's license last summer at Monmouth. She came to Kentucky last weekend at the invitation of agent “Bones” Wirth.
“Bones was looking for a bug rider to take to Indiana (Downs, which opens April 23),” Gott said, “and he said to get here as soon as I could. He's still in Tampa so right now John Herbstreit is helping me here at Turfway.”
Whoever her agent happens to be, Gott's number one fan is her mom. “She hasn't missed a race yet,” Gott said. “She left home this morning at 4 a.m. and drove 640 miles from New Jersey to watch me race tonight.”
Prom Theme was Gott's 35th mount overall but just her first since the apprentice arrived in Kentucky last weekend. Before tonight's win she had earned five seconds and three thirds.
Turfway's jockey colony was happy to help her celebrate the win:
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