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Why there's 'no love on the racetrack' for jockey Sophie Doyle in Remington Park's Springboard Mile

Veteran jockey Sophie Doyle has 40 wins during this year's thoroughbred meet at Remington Park. [PHOTO PROVIDED]
Veteran jockey Sophie Doyle has 40 wins during this year's thoroughbred meet at Remington Park. [PHOTO PROVIDED]

British-born jockey Sophie Doyle has been enjoying the Oklahoma outdoors when she has not been racing at Remington Park during this year's thoroughbred meet.

She and her 6-year-old Labrador mix, Sandi, have spent their downtime traveling and hiking in places across Oklahoma such as the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and Roman Nose State Park.

"I would rather do that than spend my time being cooped up and shopping online," Doyle said.

The veteran jockey had never been to Oklahoma before accepting race horse owner and Poteau native Danny Caldwell's invitation to ride at Remington Park for the 2020 thoroughbred season.

The 34-year-old jockey has won 40 times at Remington Park in 240 starts and is fifth in the jockey standings entering the final weekend of racing.

"It's been really, really good for me," Doyle said of racing in Oklahoma for the first time. "I have been grateful for the opportunities, not just with Danny Caldwell, but all the other owners and trainers have given me chances on their horses."

Doyle will be aboard Red N Wild for owner and trainer Terry Eoff in Friday night's Springboard Mile, Remington Park’s richest and most important stakes race for 2-year-olds.

The $200,000 Springboard Mile is one of the fastest-growing Kentucky Derby prep races in the country. Although it’s not a graded stakes race, the Springboard Mile has been rising steadily in prominence, producing five Kentucky Derby starters over the last decade.

The winner of the Springboard Mile earns 10 points toward qualifying for the Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs. The odds on Red N Wild is 12-1.

Doyle lives in Lexington, Kentucky, although she is rarely there. A jockey's life often results in moving from track to track throughout the year.

"I bought it [her home in Lexington] almost five years ago, and this will be the first Christmas I have spent in it," she said.

After she finishes racing at Remington Park, Doyle will return to Kentucky for the holidays, then it is off to Houston for a winter meet.

She rented an apartment for her four-month-plus stay in Oklahoma City and found a farm for Jazz N Tap, the horse she rode at Churchill Downs to her first American win. She bought Jazz N Tap after his racing days were over and takes him with her everywhere she can.

When Doyle retires as a jockey, she hopes to care for old race horses.

"I would like to set up a training center for off-the-track thoroughbreds to support and find new homes and new careers for them," she said. "We need as many places like that as possible around the country. I got a plan in mind for what I would like to do when the time is right."

After spending seven years as a jockey in England, Doyle moved to the United States in 2013 for more opportunities and bigger purses. Doyle grew up around horses, as her mom was a horse trainer and her younger brother, James, is a successful jockey in Europe.

"I think I could probably ride a horse before I could walk," she said.

She's proven herself since coming to America, posting 349 career wins in the United States and almost $10 million in earnings. She is one of three female jockeys competing during this year's thoroughbred meet at Remington Park.

She's succeeded in a male-dominated profession. According to The Jockey Guild, the union that represents more than 95 percent of all North American jockeys, just over 8 percent of its members are women.

Doyle thinks female jockeys have to work twice as hard as their male counterparts, especially trying to stay physically fit as they age. Some women pause their careers as a jockey to have a family, which makes it even more difficult, she said.

Doyle is single but began dating fellow Remington Park jockey Lindey Wade after arriving in Oklahoma.

"I haven't dated a jockey since I was 19," she said.

The couple have battled each other on the Remington Park turf, at times finishing first and second in races.

"We've got plenty of pictures (from the finish line) to hang on the wall in the future of our races together," she said.

In fact, the two jockeys are side-by-side in the starting gate for Friday night's Springboard Mile.

"It's going to be interesting," Doyle said. "There is no love on the racetrack between us, that is for sure."

Reporter Ed Godfrey looks for stories that impact your life. Be it news, outdoors, sports — you name it, he wants to report it. Have a story idea? Contact him at egodfrey@oklahoman.com or on Twitter @EdGodfrey. Support his work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.

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Remington Park's Springboard Mile

What: Kentucky Derby qualifying race for 2-year-olds

When: Race 12 on Friday's 13-race day card, approximately 10:28 p.m. First race is at 5 p.m.

Purse: $200,000

Related Photos
<strong>Red N Wild (6), with Sophie Doyle aboard, wins an allowance event on Nov. 21 in the horse's final start at Remington Park before Friday's $200,000 Springboard Mile. [PHOTO PROVIDED]</strong>

Red N Wild (6), with Sophie Doyle aboard, wins an allowance event on Nov. 21 in the horse's final start at Remington Park before Friday's $200,000 Springboard Mile. [PHOTO PROVIDED]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-315c7815e5d2842d2adca2752b1005d0.jpg" alt="Photo - Red N Wild (6), with Sophie Doyle aboard, wins an allowance event on Nov. 21 in the horse's final start at Remington Park before Friday's $200,000 Springboard Mile. [PHOTO PROVIDED] " title=" Red N Wild (6), with Sophie Doyle aboard, wins an allowance event on Nov. 21 in the horse's final start at Remington Park before Friday's $200,000 Springboard Mile. [PHOTO PROVIDED] "><figcaption> Red N Wild (6), with Sophie Doyle aboard, wins an allowance event on Nov. 21 in the horse's final start at Remington Park before Friday's $200,000 Springboard Mile. [PHOTO PROVIDED] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-d59aa07dd14796181666962576d03d2e.jpg" alt="Photo - Veteran jockey Sophie Doyle has 40 wins during this year's thoroughbred meet at Remington Park. [PHOTO PROVIDED] " title=" Veteran jockey Sophie Doyle has 40 wins during this year's thoroughbred meet at Remington Park. [PHOTO PROVIDED] "><figcaption> Veteran jockey Sophie Doyle has 40 wins during this year's thoroughbred meet at Remington Park. [PHOTO PROVIDED] </figcaption></figure>
Ed Godfrey

Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more... Read more ›

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