Kylee Jordan Hoping for Eclipse Award Nod

January 7, 2023

Kylee Jordan at Oaklawn in 2022. (Coady Photography)

Oaklawn Barn Notes by Robert Yates

HOT SPRINGS, Ark.—Jockey Kylee Jordan is named on four horses Saturday afternoon at Oaklawn. She’s in another type of race, too, one that will be decided hours before her first scheduled mount.

After a breakout 2022, highlighted by riding titles at Will Rogers Downs and Prairie Meadows, Jordan will learn Saturday morning if her resume was strong enough to be named one of three finalists for an Eclipse Award as the country’s outstanding apprentice jockey. 

Jordan’s father, trainer Todd Jordan, didn’t have a vote, but he does have an opinion.

“Think so,” he said. 

Kylee Jordan, 20, won eight races at the 2021-2022 Oaklawn meeting, with seven coming in 2022 after returning from a shoulder injury. Her career took off last spring when she rode at Will Rogers Downs on Oaklawn’s dark days. Jordan rode four winners opening day (March 21) and finished with 44 victories, including her first career stakes score, at the northeast Oklahoma venue.

Normally, Jordan would make the 4 ½-hour drive to Will Rogers following Sunday’s races at Oaklawn. She would ride Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at Will Rogers and return to Hot Springs Wednesday night.

“I get on a lot of horses over there in the morning,” Jordan said. “Like I was taking 15 horses out in the morning. But I just made a lot of good connections over there and they were all willing to give me the opportunity to ride their horse, so it worked out.”

With Kylee in the saddle Tyler’s Tribe Wins The 2022 Iowa Stallion Futurity By 12 1/2 Lengths

Jordan rode that momentum to Prairie Meadows in her native Iowa, where she topped the standings in victories (81) and purse earnings ($2,087,351). She lost her 5-pound apprentice weight allowance about two weeks before the meeting ended Oct. 2. 

Five of Jordan’s victories at Prairie Meadows, including four stakes, came aboard Tyler’s Tribe, the 2-year-old Iowa-bred sensation for co-owner/trainer Tim Martin of Hot Springs. 

“I’ve known her and her family, her dad, Todd, forever, from Prairie Meadows,” Martin said. “I’ve been there 20 years. I think she’s a good little rider. At the time she had the bug, she only got to use it one time with Tyler’s Tribe in a race because all the others were stakes races. She was doing great, so she hooked up with this horse. She gets along with babies real good. She’s really good about calming them down and relaxing them. She’s kind of laid back. I put her on him and left her on. I plan to keep her there.”

Tyler’s Tribe provided Jordan with her biggest racing moment to date when she rode the gelding in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1) Nov. 4 at Keeneland.

“That horse opened a lot of doors for me,” Jordan said. 

According to Daily Racing Form statistics, Jordan had 621 mounts as an apprentice in 2022. She rode 116 winners, with her mounts generating $2,505,635 in purse earnings. Jordan’s final day as an apprentice was Sept. 16.

“I’ve watched her on horses, galloping and everything,” said Todd Jordan, who has a small string this season at Oaklawn. “I guess I knew she kind of had it. But I think after the first five wins, I suppose, was when I knew it. She’s done good.”

Kylee Jordan recorded her first career Oaklawn riding double Dec. 9, opening day of the 2022-2023 meeting. One of the victories was aboard Wesleyan ($63.80) for Martin.

Tyler’s Tribe’s Jockey Kylee Jordan

Eclipse Awards finalists, three in each human and horse category, will be revealed at 10:30 a.m. (Central) Saturday during a live broadcast by FanDuel TV. The 52nd annual Eclipse Awards Dinner is Jan. 26 in Palm Beach, Fla. The three Horse of the Year finalists will be announced earlier during the ceremony. 

Eclipse Awards honor horses and individuals whose achievements in North America earned them championship titles in their respective categories. Voting is conducted by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (member racetrack racing officials and Equibase field personnel), National Turf Writers and Broadcasters and Daily Racing Form.

@Tracking_Trips nice call Jon

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