Thursday Thoughts with Jason Beem: Jockey Madeline Rowland

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January 20th, 2022

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Madeline Rowland in the jockeys room at Tampa Bay Downs (Photo: Mike Henry/Tampa Bay Downs)

One of my favorite things about horse racing is seeing people get their first wins.  Whether it’s a jockey, a trainer, an owner, or a horse player taking down their first big bet, it’s such a cool part of racing.  They’ll remember that race the rest of their lives.  

This year at Tampa Bay Downs we’ve had a new rider join the colony named Madeline Rowland.  Madeline is just 18 years of age and rode a few races at Delaware Park this past summer before coming to Tampa Bay Downs.  Back on December 10, 2021 she scored the first win of her career on a horse named Sancocho, who she has ridden twice since to two very good second place finishes.  One thing I’ve noticed so far watching Madeline ride is that her horses are often put in very good spots in the early and middle stages of the race, allowing them their best chance at a good finish.

So I’m happy to get to ask 10 questions to Madeline Rowland! 

  1. What are your first memories of horses and horse racing? 

MR: My first memories of horses and horse racing was riding my first pony, a small welsh pony that would drop me every week when I rode him. I used to go to the barn all the time with my father when he trained. 

  1. Did you grow up wanting to be a jockey or did you have other ambitions? 

MR: I have always wanted to be a jockey. I did think about joining the army but mostly just wanted to be a jockey. 

  1. You grew up around Fair Hill, I've talked to so many people who say it's horse heaven, what are your favorite parts of growing up/living around there? 

MR: It is horse heaven. My favorite parts about Fair Hill is that horses get to be horses. They get to turn out, they can go out in the fields to train or even go for a trail ride. 

  1. You rode your first race at Delaware Park in October, what were you feeling and thinking as you were going into the gate that first time? 

MR: I was really only thinking about my dad. I was asking him to look out for me from heaven. 

  1. Was the experience of riding in a race what you expected or not?

MR: I rode in a couple flat point to point races. Those gave me great experience like being in a race. So when I rode my first one on the track it was not scary or really difficult. 

  1. You won your first race aboard Sancocho here at Tampa Bay Downs a couple weeks back. From calling the race, it looked like you had kind of a perfect trip just in behind the speed and pounced on them turning for home, take us through that first win

MR: It was really awesome. Juan (trainer Arriagata) gave me some instructions but nothing crazy. I just did what he said and it really all went perfect. I learned a lot from every race including that one. It was really amazing to ride my first winner for Juan because he has been so kind to give me rides and help me out with being a jockey. 

  1. Did you know the jockey ‘first win’ celebration was coming afterwards from your fellow riders?

MR: Yes I did know and I wanted it so bad. 

  1. Sancocho and you came back and ran two very game seconds in his next couple of starts, tell us about him as a horse? 

MR: He is a very sweet horse. He loves cuddles in the stall and is really classy at the races. He is pretty easy going. 

  1. What are some of your hobbies outside of racing?

MR: I am still in high school. My senior year so usually I ride out in the mornings and do school in the afternoon. If I have a race in the afternoon I bring my laptop with my school on it to the jocks room. Other than that I eat, sleep, and breathe horses. 

  1. What are your racing plans and goals for 2022? 

MR: I plan to go to Delaware Park in the spring time. I might go elsewhere but I am not sure yet. My main goal is to win my 5 races in 2022 and start my apprentice year. I do not want to rush it though. I really want 2022 to be my year of improvement. I have a lot to work on and I am motivated to work on it. 

Thanks Madeline!