Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races will welcome back and honor Barbara Jo Rubin on February 22, which marks the 50th anniversary to the day of her historic ride when she became the first female rider to win a race against men at a nationally recognized racetrack in the United States. Rubin will attend the races with family members and be recognized in the winners' circle.
“I am so thrilled to be honored at Charles Town,” said Rubin. “Charles Town has a very special place in my heart. Everyone at Charles Town welcomed me, and it was so very memorable for me.”
On February 22, 1969, the then 19 year-old jockey piloted Cohesian to a half-length victory at Charles Town, which led to appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and To Tell the Truth. Rubin subsequently became the first female to win a race in New York when Brave Galaxy found the winners circle at Aqueduct with her aboard later that year.
“We're incredibly happy that Barbara Jo wanted to come back and help us celebrate such a historic event that happened here in West Virginia”, said Erich Zimny, Charles Town's Vice President of Racing and Sports Operations. “We certainly hope the fans come out to honor her as well and we encourage them to do so.”
In fact, despite some not being receptive, it's the fans from the night of her win aboard Cohesian that remain some of Rubin's fondest memories from the event.
“The cheer of the crowd overwhelmed my hecklers. It was a cold night when I rode in 1969, but the fans were awesome in the most part. I cannot wait to see Charles Town once more.”
After developing polio at age 6, Rubin began riding shortly thereafter as a form of exercise to help strengthen her legs. After overcoming those physical obstacles and progressing on to local match races and exercising horses, Rubin made her competitive debut at the Hobby Horse Hall track in Nassau, Bahamas. Despite winning at a 25-percent clip in her rookie season, Rubin saw her burgeoning career cut short by injuries after just 89 mounts.
Despite an early ending to her career as a jockey, she hasn't strayed far from the equine world having competed as a driver, endurance rider, and in dressage. Rubin currently resides in Illinois and owns Classic Acres in Troy – a horse boarding and training facility – along with her husband, Gordon.
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