By Dottie Miller
In our newest installment of “Jockey Journals”, we head down to Louisiana to interview jockey Ashley Broussard. At just 24 years of age, she’s having a breakout year — capped off Wednesday night at Delta Downs, where she won six consecutive races on the card.
The Louisiana-native has ridden and won races in several states including Kentucky and Pennsylvania. Ashley became the leading rider several years ago at Penn National near Hershey, Pa., before taking some time off to welcome a wonderful little boy into her life.
In 713 starts this year, Ashley has hit the board 312 times with 121 of those being wins. Ashley has proven to be yet another outstanding female jockey here in the United States, and we look forward to watching her progress throughout her career!
Q. Ashley, you accomplished an amazing feat Wednesday night at Delta Downs, you won 6 consecutive races. Tell us how you felt in the moment and if you expected the result going into the jocks room for the night.
A. Wow, what an amazing night it was! I thought I was going to win a couple, but never in a million years going into the room Wednesday night did I think I would win 6. It still doesn’t seem real. I am very fortunate to get some really great opportunities and it just so happened that on Wednesday night everything was going my way!
At the beginning of the Evangeline Downs meet, I told my agent I wanted to win 4 races in one night and the last week we succeeded. Then last month I won 5 in one night and that was incredible. Well, after my 5th victory on Wednesday, I looked at my form and knew I had a chance in the last as well. The feeling is crazy. I have no words for it.
Q. Tell us a little about your background and what made you decide on being a jockey.
A. Well, I was raised on the back of a horse from the time I could sit up, which is exactly what I did with my little boy. I grew up in rodeo, and was really good at it. Then, when I turned 18 I told my dad I wanted to start on the track. He knew it was only a matter of time as he used to be a jockey (Clarence Broussard). I would gallop my barrel horse, which used to be an ex-racehorse, in the jockey saddle and would get in trouble for breezing him.
I galloped for about 3 years and then my journey took me to Kentucky. There, I was galloping for Steve Asmussen, and then Kellyn Gorder, which is where Rosie Napravnik took me under her wing. I followed her everywhere in the jocks room for a few months. Everyday that they had races I would watch race replays with her, and she would help me on the Equicizer. She continued to help me once I started riding there. Then she continued to help me once we returned to Louisiana for the Fair Grounds meet. From there, she sent me to Pennsylvania to ride at Penn National. I Started doing really well there and then it came to a complete stop when I found out I was pregnant. So I moved back home to Louisiana, where I raise my amazing baby boy Bentley Michael.
Q. You’re a mother now, how has the changed your life as a professional jockey?
A. As soon as the doctors said it was ok, I was back galloping, and 4 weeks after that I was back racing. I haven’t missed a beat since. My little boy is an amazing road warrior! I have great friends and family that help me raise him every step of the way.
Q. Take us through a normal day for you, what’s your normal routine?
A. A normal day in my shoes is waking at 5:30 am to work horses in the morning. spending time with my little boy (including our everyday nap) back at the track at 4:30 for races and I don’t get back home till about 10:30 at night to start back early in the morning. So, I definitely learn to live on a lot of coffee, but I love every second of it!
Then on my off days, me and my little boy give barrel racing lessons and try and barrel race a little when we can.
Q. If you weren’t a jockey what do you see yourself doing?
A. If I wasn’t a jockey I would probably say I would be doing something in the horse business. I don’t know what exactly it would be, but I know it would be with the horses.