Six years to the day after she rode her first winner, Joy Scott booted home a 75-1 longshot Friday at Santa Anita, becoming the first woman to win a race at the track since 1978.
Scott, 29, a Los Angeles native, rode Smooth Bid, a 6-year-old gelding, to victory in the first race. They finished a neck ahead of favored Doodlesack and Aaron Gryder.
The combination of a female jockey and a horse who had won just 1 of 18 starts apparently gave most of the fans at Santa Anita sufficient reason to avoid betting Scott's mount. Smooth Bid paid $153.60 for a $2 win bet.
The last woman to ride a winner at Santa Anita was Joanna Morgan in February 1978. Scott became only the seventh female rider to win at the track, joining Morgan, Robyn Smith, Tuesdee Testa, Vey Martini, Mary Bacon and April Ward.
Testa was the first woman winner, in 1969, and Smith, with 10 wins, and Martini, with 2, are the only multiple winners in the group.
Female jockeys have long met with frustration in trying to establish themselves at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park. Vicky Aragon, who set a national record for a woman by winning 232 races last year while competing mainly in Northern California and at Longacres near Seattle, came to Santa Anita last winter. But she couldn't get many "live" mounts and departed after a few weeks.
Scott evidently doesn't mind riding longshots, as indicated by her appearance on Smooth Bid Friday.
"If I chose my horses by their odds, I'd never get a horse to ride," she told Mike Marten of the Daily Racing Form a couple of years ago.
Scott grew up in the San Fernando Valley, riding match races locally when she was 15 and also in endurance races of 25 to 50 miles. She said she once rode bareback in a 50-mile race under hurricane conditions.
After getting her license during the Del Mar meeting in the summer of 1981, Scott rode her first winner on Oct. 9, 1981, at the Fresno Fair. The winning filly was owned by actress Bo Derek.
Scott remembers driving to that Fresno meet in a dilapidated 1957 Volkswagen bus, with $10 in her pocket.
"But I had made my decision to make my living as a rider," she said.
Scott has been exercising horses this fall at Santa Anita, and trainer Fred Wilson gave her the mount, her first of the three-day-old Oak Tree season, on Smooth Bid.
Scott had ridden 133 winners going into this year. Her best year was 1984, when she won 51 races and her mounts earned $278,215.