Clipped From Lansing State Journal

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 - 2 1. 0 . ". fx By NEIL HUNTER HAZEL PARK One of...
2 1. 0 . ". fx By NEIL HUNTER HAZEL PARK One of the nice things that happened to horse racing this year in Michigan Michigan was Mary Bacon, the pretty, pint-sized pint-sized pint-sized blonde jock-ette jock-ette jock-ette who beat the odds in a rough and tumble man's world. During Hazel Park's recent thoroughbred meeting, this 21-year-old 21-year-old 21-year-old 21-year-old 21-year-old beauty from Toledo, Ohio was not only one of the leading riders but she accomplished accomplished the feat after a serious spill. At 5:45 p.m. on Aug. 27 she was semi-conscious semi-conscious semi-conscious with a broken broken left collarbone, bruised ribs, a concussion and was bleeding internally. No Mary was not run down by a car, she was trampled by the pounding hoofs of a horse at Ellis Park in Kentucky. Two weeks after the spill, Mrs. Bcaon packed her bags racing tack and all and reported reported for work at nearby La-tonia La-tonia La-tonia Park, also in Kentucky. "I would have ridden the first day of the meet, but they scratched my horse," she rea-calls. rea-calls. rea-calls. "My collarbone was still sticking out but the doctor strapped me up with a brace so I could ride." At 97 pounds she is one of the hardest riding women jockeys in the business and is dead serious serious about riding as a career. She has ridden more than three times as many winners as any other lady jockey in the nation and was the leading rider at Finger Lakes Raceway Raceway in upstate New York. But Mary rides mostly in the midwest Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan saying, "I'd rather be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond." She rides every race to win while, she says, most of the other girls "have got a gimmick" gimmick" and are really in riding as a sideline. These include Diane Crump (who broke the barrier), Irene Osterlund, Sandy Schle-iffers Schle-iffers Schle-iffers (a B'ham. Mi. gal), Cheryl White (the first and only black girl jockey), Barbara Barbara Brown, Lois Meals, Kathy K u s n e r and Robyn Smith. Miss Smith, a onetime Hollywood Hollywood starlet, is riding well as an apprentice at the big New York and Florida tracks but that d o e s n 't impress Mrs. Bacon. She regards Robyn along with the other t jockettes as "weeklings." "I wouldn't want to be on the inside of her coming home if she had a horse lugging in," said Mary. "She's got a gimmick. gimmick. I'm no model or a movie star (though, for sheer looks and personality, she could be one). I'm a jockey and a good one. I'd like to see Robyn Smith ride seven, eight or nine horses on the smaller tracks." Married to jockey Johnny Bacon when she was 16, Mary says race riding to her is no fun thing but solely a business. "If your want to ride, you go out there and do it. Go out and win. It's a business. One girl in a million will make it in this business. I want it to be me. Nothing's going to stop me." She recalls the ill-fated ill-fated ill-fated day last August at Ellis Park when a horse directly in front of her dropped over. Her horse clipped its heels, crashing to Huiilcr on Horses Lady Jockey Beats Odds I J . , Kl H W i text MARY BACON the ground and sending Mary flying. That is the last she remembers remembers about the incident, but going ot the post, she recalls telling the outrider, "I have a funny feeling I don't think I'm going to make it this time." She almost didn't. Perhaps, Mary's most remarkable remarkable feat was riding while she was pregnant. Although there are doubts about the story, she insists it is true. "The day my daughter was born I rode at Raceway Park in Toledo," she tells. "I was on an old mare and we were dead last. I started laughing in the middle of the race because the mare was pregnant, too and her people didn't 'even know. She dropped her foal three days after I had my baby." Mrsl Bacon also survived two nightmarish experiences. The records show that in 1969 she was kidnapped at Wilkes Barre, Pa. but managed to break away from her assailant and then last May at Shively, Ky. her life was threatened. But she likes a jockey's life, regretting only that she doesn't get much chance to see her husband. Racing rules forbid their competing. - "We have to ride at different tracks and see each other only on weekends. "Johnny and I rode against each other around the bush tracks of Oklahoma.' He taught me a lot but he can still ride circles around me. He's the best. But if I had the chance to ride against him, he would just be another jock. "When I get up on a horse, I forget everything else. All I can think about is winning." She did her share of that during during the recent meeting here and promises to be back with the same purpose in mind when the action resumes in late winter. ALBIN BOAT MOTOR SALES M-78 M-78 M-78 Potterville Dealer of Johnson & Honda you UMyi& Vie Cad&ci TIRE SERVICE We Know Tires Best 329 River St. IV 7 5904

Clipped from Lansing State Journal24 Dec 1971, FriPage 14

Lansing State Journal (Lansing, Michigan)24 Dec 1971, FriPage 14
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  • Clipped by markgon – 12 Jan 2018

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