Maria Remedio, Parx Racing's third leading jockey in 2013, has juggling racing and single motherhood down to a science. Friends of the former tomboy, who started galloping horses at age 14, call her Superwoman.
More than 1700 jockeys ride at various tracks across the country every year. For just about every one of them, being a jockey is their full-time job.
Maria Remedio has two full time jobs: Full time jockey at Parx Racing in Bensalem, PA and single full time mother to two kids.
Maria grew up a tomboy with three brothers and a sister in Wilmington, DE. She attended Hodgson Vo-Tech High School where she wrestled for the boys JV Wrestling team; she wrestled in the 103 lb. weight class and logged a 9-3 record. She was also a key player on the boys’ lacrosse team. As a member of the US Girls Wrestling Association she won individual titles in Pennsylvania, Washington, DC and Virginia and declined an offer to wrestle on the varsity team.
The idea of becoming a jockey entered her mind at a young age. She had always lived on a farm and started riding as soon as she could sit in a saddle, competing in western gymkhanas, barrel racing and speed events. Her mother, Patti Remedio, remembers, "We knew we were in trouble when she would come out of the ring and say ‘I need a faster pony!’"
Her step-dad, a thoroughbred trainer, had her galloping horses at the track at age 14. For the next four and a half years she rode any horse anyone would let her ride. She rode amateur flat races, making weight (130lbs) by soaking her saddle towel with water and hiding rocks under her saddle for weigh in. She worked her way up from exercise rider to apprentice jockey.
Maria rode from 2004 till 2009, when she had her first child, Caleb Dominic. Shortly after he was born she went back to riding part time, juggling life as a mom and a jockey. In August of 2011, her second child, Arabella Danette, was born. She won a race at Delaware Park on her mom’s horse, King Kobe, just 39 days after giving birth by cesarean section.
She retired from racing in the fall of 2011 to raise her small children and moved to New York with her then-boyfriend David Cohen. After about a year she and David broke up and she moved back down to Bensalem, PA to resume her riding career. She knew it was going to be tough, but she had the full support of her mother, her family and friends.
In November of 2012, Maria began riding full time again, and in 2013 she easily had the best year of her racing career. She was the third-leading rider at Parx Racing. Out of 1,710 jockeys who rode in 2013, she ranked 97th in purse earnings. Out of all female riders, she ranked fourth in both purse earnings and wins.
Q & A with Maria
Just recently I got to ask her some questions on how she handles being a mom and a jockey and here is what she said:
CF: How tough is it for you in the morning to get up and get your kids ready and then head over to the track for morning work-outs?
MR: Thank god I don't have to wake my kids up in the morning. I have an amazing babysitter that comes to my house so all I have to worry about is getting myself ready.
CF: After coming out of retirement, a couple months in, did you start to realize just how much you missed riding?
MR: I realized how much I missed riding long before I came back to it. Riding is in my blood and I think I am pretty good at it but i had a family to put first at the time I quit
CF: I know you don't have much free time, but what are some things you like to do when you’re not riding?
MR: When I am not riding I try to spend as much time with my kids as possible. I like taking them places and doing things. I love being around friends and just having fun
CF: Looking back at 2013, what were some personal highlights for you?
MR: The biggest highlight of all is ending the meet third leading rider at Parx, also riding the horse Siete de Oreo in the Jerome Stakes in NY.
CF: At any point since you have come back to ride, have there been times where things have gotten so overwhelming that you thought about retiring again or do you just manage to juggle both and just go out and do what you’ve got to do?
MR: Retiring has never crossed my mind yet. I am pretty much non-stop…my friends call me super woman. I have the whole jockey/mom thing down.
CF: What is the hardest thing for you as far as juggling being both a mom and a jockey?
MR: Leaving my kids when they are crying or sad. I hate being away from them so much and it breaks me down sometimes, but then I have to stop and think if I was working a 9-5 job I would be gone just as much.
CF: What are some of your goals going into 2014 and beyond?
MR: My goals are to stay one of the top riders and ride in some stakes races.
Find more information on Maria Remedio on Facebook or visit www.slickpic.com/u/MariaRemedio