By Dennis Miller
It takes athleticism, strength, determination and perseverance for a person to become a horse racing jockey.
It takes discipline, intelligence, determination, and well, perseverance for a person to master the eight years of school work to become a veterinarian.
Confused as to drawing parallels between being a jockey and being a vet? What if I told you there was someone in the process of being both? Hard to believe perhaps, but it’s true.
Meet Ferrin Peterson – a jockey in Northern California, as well as a fourth-year veterinary student at U.C. Davis.
Peterson is truly an amazing person, combining intelligence, determination, perseverance, as well as personality and charm in becoming adept at pretty much everything she does.
I have covered horse racing for over 30 years and one of the best things about the sport is the people are as down to earth and real as you can find. There are no pretenses and I’ve established a lot of good friendships.
Peterson is among the most enjoyable I’ve had the chance to talk with and that’s not to demean others but a testament to the type of person she has become.
How did she get to this point at 26-years-old?
Growing up in Roseville, Peterson was around horses growing up and rode, first English, followed by Dressage. After graduating from Oakmont High School, Peterson went to the University of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and took her horse with her so she could continue to ride in college while earning a degree in Animal Science.
Oh, I forgot to mention she was a pole vaulter at Oakmont, setting a school record that still stands. She took her track and field talents to Cal Poly where she competed as well.
But in the back of her mind she aspired to be a jockey, something that didn’t jive with family desires.
“The vet school option happened, and I decided I wanted to be a track vet,” said Peterson.
Ironically, it was while attending veterinary school at the University of California, Davis that her jockey dreams begun to come to fruition.
“I was working at the UC Davis Equine ICU and met Monica Romero who also worked there,” explained Peterson. “She told me her husband was a jockey and they had a farm 15 minutes away where they could teach me to be a jockey.”
After that, she went to work for trainer Ellen Jackson, helping break horses. An exercise rider for Jackson further helped Peterson learn the ropes of being a jockey.
The key for any jockey to get mounts, especially a new one, is to show up in the mornings to work horses for the trainers. Be seen and show them you have what it takes.
It’s a grind for jockeys that live in the area, but when you are in school in Davis and need to get to Golden Gate Fields in Albany daily, it gets a lot tougher.
“I wake up at 4:15 a.m. and am on my first horse (at Golden Gate Fields) at 6 a.m.,” explained Peterson. “I ride until around 7 a.m. then literally run back to the car and head back to Davis.”
Once back at school, she works at the Clinic until 7 p.m. or so. Sometime the shifts may go later and are followed by studying and then to bed before doing it all over again the next day.
Weekends are a time when students can get extra studying done and that’s the case for Peterson, but with a twist.
“Weekends I would stay (at the track) after working the horses and ride the races,” said Peterson. “Since I am a female, I had my own room, so I brought my computer and books. I study in between races. It’s the perfect study break! (Riding) is a great way to get your blood pumping.”
All the hard work has paid off, but not without some trying moments. School has demanded internships and Peterson has traveled the world learning.
She has spent time in Kentucky, New York, Japan, Hong Kong and most recently Dubai, working in the Dubai Equine Hospital, which is owned by Sheikh Mohammed.
Each time she has been gone, her jockey career took a back seat and with a lot of trainers living by the “what have you done for me lately,” creed, her riding suffered.
Trainer Aggie Ordonez stuck by Peterson and it paid off when she rode her first winner – Lovely Lioness at Golden Gate – on March 11.
“My schedule had gotten busier as I had a number of internships and I thought it would be hard to get many mounts after being away,” said Peterson. “And it was. But Aggie (Ordonez, a trainer) gave me a mount and we won. I just wanted to show trainers I was ready to ride.”
Ordonez then gave Peterson a dream – a mount at Del Mar on Chocolate Goddess.
“Aggie gave me that mount and it was awesome,” said Peterson. “I have to thank Aggie for a lot of what I have been able to do. I would have never thought I would ride a race at Del Mar. It has been a trip I never thought I would go on.”
One overlooked aspect of Peterson’s double life is how her riding portrays the sport. Animal rights organizations are always quick to condemn horse racing as cruelty to the horses.
Yet in Peterson we have a person set on saving animals competing in the sport.
“I am hoping my story is good for horse racing,” said Peterson. “To me this is a natural form of equine athleticism. (Horses) love to run fast and run in races. Those that don’t like to compete don’t – you can’t make a horse run if they don’t want to run.”
The sky seems to be the limit for Peterson as her credentials from her schooling and internships seem to call for success as a vet. But as to where she wants to be in five years….?
“I would love to be riding in the Triple Crown,” said Peterson. “That would be the best-case scenario. That seems unachievable, then again, I never thought I would be where I am now.”
by The Thoroughbred Daily News
Smiling Tiger has come a long way since his discovery as a yearling at the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Sale, or indeed since throwing his jockey three times before his debut in a four-furlong maiden at Golden Gate Fields. He won by daylight that day, promptly added a stakes win before sharing the podium with champion Lookin At Lucky (Smart Strike) at both the Grade II and Grade I level. With maturity he won three Grade I sprints–the Bing Crosby S., Ancient Title S. and Triple Bend H.. He was also beaten a nose in the GI Malibu S. and twice made the frame in the GI Breeders’ Cup Sprint, besides winning four other graded stakes.
Smiling Tiger also landed running at stud, as California’s leading first-crop sire in 2017, and last year his 32 winners included five at the black-type level–a tally surpassed nationally, in his intake, only by the stellar Violence (Medaglia d’Oro). These were crowned, in the final days of the year, by a breakout Grade I winner in Spiced Perfection, who turned herself from a $6,500 yearling into a La Brea S. winner.
Smiling Tiger‘s dam Shandra Smiles (Cahill Road) produced another Grade I winner by a son of Storm Cat in She’s A Tiger (Tale Of The Cat), winner of the Del Mar Debutante and Eclipse champion despite her demotion in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies; and it’s a bottom line loaded with Florida speed, the second dam being by Ta Wee’s son Great Above (broodmare sire of Housebuster).
So there’s both class and dash on the page; while Smiling Tiger was as terrifically sound and hardy as he was fast. All in all, the kind of commercial package many a Kentucky farm would be proud to offer.
Arcadia, CA (January 14, 2019)-Mr. Big‘s Big Score an upset winner of the 2017 GIII Transylvania S., hadn’t competed outside of stakes company since his successful debut at two. He was last been seen finishing a late-running fourth in the GIII Seabiscuit H. at Del Mar Nov. 24, and was 7-5 against a field in which every participant had most recently competed at the graded level.
In his usual spot at the back of the pack early, the dark bay advanced along the inside but found no running room as they entered the lane. Completely buried until mid-stretch, Joel Rosario finally worked him to the far outside and he responded with a rush to get up by a half-length over La Ken (Arg) (Easing Along).
The winner’s now 3-year-old half-sister Mucho Unusual (Mucho Macho Man) was second in a pair of Cal-bred stakes last season. He has a yearling full-brother and his dam was bred again to Mr. Big last term.
His lifetime record is 17-4-4-3, $635,372 and he was bred by his owner George Krikorian.
By Jeremy Balan
Arcadia, CA (December 26, 2018)-The Smiling Tiger filly’s connections decided to take their shot—or dared to dream—in the $300,000 La Brea Stakes (G1) with their multiple stakes winner in the California-bred ranks. And Spiced Perfection, a $50,000 purchase, rewarded them in spades.
A winner of three of her last four she has now earned $622,405 from her six wins in fourteen starts.
Owner: Dare To Dream Stable, LLC
Breeder: Premier Thoroughbreds LLC (CA)
Trainer: Brian J. Koriner
Jockey: Flavien Prat
With a four- and five-wide trip through the turn in the seven-furlong dirt sprint under jockey Flavien Prat, the Brian Koriner-trained Spiced Perfection hit the front at the top of the lane and inched away to win by 1 1/4 lengths over fellow Cal-bred Hot Autumn. The final time was 1:23.54.
Odds-on favorite Dream Tree, who came into the race undefeated, showed speed but backed up harshly in the turn and was eased in the stretch by jockey Drayden Van Dyke. Dream Tree was being pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) earlier this year but was knocked out of consideration when she had to undergo surgery for an entrapped epiglottis.
Desperate Times and Freedom Quest enjoying success as jumpers in the show world
Desperate Times (a.k.a “Hashtag”) an 8yr. old gelding By Redatorre out of the High Brite mare Don’t Despair is showing great potential under the care of new owner Courtney Gharibeh, earning several ribbons at the local shows, the partnership jumped clean rounds and placed 3rd in the Columbus Day Classic Mini Prix at W&KRP Open Show in Sanger, Ca. this past November. They also did well at the Almaden Farms Horse Show held in Watsonville, Ca. placing 3rd in the C &N Tractor Class, 1st in the 2’7 jumper class, and also participated in the lead line class with her 3yr old daughter Addyson in the saddle. They are looking forward to a promising 2015 show season.(below)
Freedom Quest affectionately known as Quest is an 8yr. old gelding by Soft Gold out of the mare Northern Freedom. A winner at three in 5 starts had limited success at the race track, but has found his calling as a great companion and show horse. The promising partnership between Emily Colvard and Quest has shown potential competing in the 2’6 jumper classes and hopes to have a great 2015 show season. below
Both are working with trainer Rene Beggs from River View Farms located in Sanger, Ca.
Lisa Torres Antonsen
UPDATE: DETENTE HAS BEEN ADOPTED! Check back soon for other available adoptees.
|Detente||2016 gelding||Lucky Pulpit-Gumption||Lisa Antonsen – (559) 301-6751
Detente is ready to find his new forever home. View video and photos below:
Harris Farms Adoption Program Graduates
Desperate Times and Freedom Quest enjoying success as jumpers in the show world
Seen at the farm in the past few weeks are:
April 1, 2019-Debbie Winick, Kim and Sean McCarthy, Per Antonsen, John Harris and Dean Pederson
January 9, 2018-Sharon Pasko and Timely Bet vising at the River Ranch.
April 13, 2017-We were happy to have the owners of Smiling Tiger visit the farm yesterday along with some friends. We look forward to having them back soon.
Andrea Thatcher and her father, Warren Thatcher with Andrea’s drawing of Horse of the Year California Chrome.
Joe and Brandi Becerra touring the farm on their one year anniversary.
California Chrome’s Breeders/Owners Visit Harris Farms
May 11, 2014-Steve and Carolyn Coburn, the breeders and owners of California Chrome, with John and Carol Harris visited Harris Farms.
Jerry Hawthorne, John Harris and Gary Gray visiting the farm on April 8.
California Chrome’s Breeders/Owners Visit Harris Farms
February 12, 2014-Steve and Carolyn Coburn, Perry and Denise Martin the breeders and owners of California Chrome visited Harris Farms.
Team Unusual Heat Visits Harris Farms
January 8, 2014-Madeline and Harris Auerbach, Team Unusual Heat, visited Harris Farms this past Tuesday and Wednesday.
Charles Cooke Visits Harris Farms
November 19, 2013-National Review columnist Charles Cooke was a recent visitor to Harris Farms– shown here left to right Dave McGlothlin, Charles Cooke, John Harris, William Bourdeau and Steve Ozuna.
Farmers from England as part of Bay Farm Tours visit Harris Farms Horse Division while touring agriculture related industries in California October 9th.
September 18, 2013-Milas and Diana Russell visiting Thorn Song
July 11, 2013-John Harris, David McGlothlin, Ulises Olquin , Donald Valpredo, Per Antonsen and Dr. Jeanne Bowers-Lepore visit the Farm.
June 26, 2013-Dr Craig Shoemaker and Ken West from Boeheinger-Ingelheim are seen here with Dave McGlothlin during a recent visit at Harris Farms. They were here to introduce a new equine vaccine.
Ron Trentler/ Robomar Racing Stable came by the farm today to check on his broodmare Moonlight Tizzy and her 2013 Giacomo Filly
Harris, Robin, Allison and Jamie Auerbach visit the farm June 20, 2013
Terry Knight and Dru Rucker visit Harris Farms and the River Ranch on June 17, 2013.
Trainer Sean McCarthy, John Harris, and Ron Beegle visiting Harris Farms June 5, 2013.
Madeline Auerbach and Harris Auerbach visiting Gervinho.
A recent visitor to Harris Farms was Catherine Parke, who operates Valkyre Stud in Kentucky. She sold Harris Farms’ yearling by Unusual Heat-Freedom Dance, by Moscow Ballet at last year’s Keeneland September Sale for $400,000. She is shown here with resident Harris Farms vet, Dr. Jeanne Bowers.
Harris Auerbach, Madeline Auerbach, David McGlothlin, Catherine Parke, Dr. Mike Tannyhill and Sandy McGlothlin.
Don Valpredo, Michael Valpredo, John Harris and Doug Burge.