Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Newcomer Gandia makes splashy debut

Irish apprentice won two races on opening day at Downs

  • Print

In recent years, apprentice female jockeys have found Assiniboia Downs a very friendly place to kick-start their careers in thoroughbred horse racing.

In 2008, Janine Stianson, of Yorkton, Sask., rode only a partial season at the Downs. On opening day that year, she won the first four races, then went on to win the Jockey Club of Canada's Sovereign Award as Canada's top apprentice jockey.

 

And who could forget last season, when Jennifer Reid, of Melfort, Sask., battled British rider Paul Nolan all the way to the last race of the year before losing the jockey title by only one victory. Reid had 75 wins in 351 rides, while Nolan had 76 victories in 359. For her final season as a bug rider, Reid was named a finalist for the Sovereign Award.

'I am pretty happy with my record so far. You can't expect it all to come overnight. You've got to take the time. I was happy to ride bad horses (at Hawthorne), because it gave me a chance get stronger'

-- Tory Lynn Gandia

When the track opened for another season last Sunday, Tori Lynn Gandia, an apprentice rider from Dublin, Ireland, by way of Hawthorne Racetrack in Chicago, served notice that she would be a force to be reckoned with.

In her first meet at the Downs, Gandia set a personal milestone, winning her first "double in one day," aboard Unbridled Thoughts in the fourth race and Hello Beautiful in the seventh. The only other rider to win two races was Reid, on Freaky and Daydream Dancer.

She recently attended a jockey boot camp in Ireland, where she finished in the top three in her class. The camp, says Gandia, is run by the Racing Academy and Centre of Education in Kildare Town, Ireland.

"It's just a really, really intense week of pushing ourselves to the limit," she said. "There were 300 applicants, 90 were selected for the trial and 32 were selected for the actual program. Of them, only 28 finished."

Although her career as a professional rider has been short (100 starts with seven wins), she had shown some prowess even before last weekend's double wins. At Hawthorne last October, she won her first race on 14-1 longshot Direct Breeze. When the meet ended, Gandia thought about returning to Ireland, but a call from jockey agent Tim Gardiner convinced her to come north.

"A friend of mine (former ASD jockey of the year Nicky Goodwin) knew Tim, and told me he was looking for a rider," said Gandia. "Hawthorne was really tough. There were a lot of riders, and you were lucky to get two or three rides a week. But if you can't make it at Hawthorne, you won't make it in Ireland. So I needed to go somewhere else.

"Nicky called me from the Vinery (Training Facility) in Ocala, Fla., and asked me to take her book," said Gardiner, himself a three-time jockey of the year at the Downs. "She has real quiet hands, and she looks beautiful on a horse. I think the sky is the limit for her."

One of the horses Gandia won on Sunday, Hello Beautiful, is trained and owned by Shelley Brown, last season's trainer of the year. "Her work ethic is amazing," Brown said. "She's at my barn at 5 o'clock every morning, willing to help out with anything. Her attitude is phenomenal, and she looks fantastic on a horse. She tries her guts out, and what more can you ask from a young rider coming up?"

"I am pretty happy with my record so far," said Gandia. "You can't expect it all to come overnight. You've got to take the time. I was happy to ride bad horses (at Hawthorne), because it gave me a chance get stronger. Yes, the winners are nice and it would be nice to have some more."

Looking at this weekend's program, it would appear she has also impressed just about everyone in the back stretch too, since she has a total of 18 rides. Six today, six on Saturday and six more on Mothers' Day Sunday. Post time today and Saturday is 7:30 p.m., while on Sunday it is 1:30 p.m.

petto@shaw.ca

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 10, 2013 C5

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Gary Lawless & Tim Campbell on the Jets' inconsistency - Jets This Week Oct. 16

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A goose comes in for a landing Thursday morning through heavy fog on near Hyw 59 just north of Winnipeg - Day 17 Of Joe Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge - May 24, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • KEN GIGLIOTTI  WINNIPEG FREE PRESS / July 23 2009 - 090723 - Bart Kives story - Harry Lazarenko Annual River Bank Tour - receding water from summer rains and erosion  damage by flood  and ice  during spring flooding -  Red River , Lyndale Dr. damage to tree roots , river bank damage  , high water marks after 2009 Flood - POY

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Who has been the biggest disappointment on the Jets to start the season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google