An Interview With Hastings Apprentice Rider Marlo Dunn

I first met Marlo Dunn in 2009 when she was working as a groom for Mel Snow and living in a tack room in the Hastings backside.  Last fall, she started as an apprentice rider (or a “bug”—a term first given because of the way asterisk that appears besides a new jockey’s name).  This past Saturday, she won her second race of the season on an eight-year-old gelding named Forceful Intention.

OTB: How did you get into horses?

MD: I started riding horses when I was five.  I saw a horse when I was four and told my dad, “I want a pony.” You know, like every little girl. And he told me I needed to finish a year of gymnastics to prove that I could commit to something.

OTB: What’s the biggest transition been to being a jockey?

MD: Commitment.

OTB: Has there been anything that’s surprised you about racing a horse versus just exercising it.

MD: Just everything it takes to run a perfect race.  When I used to watch a race, I used to call out the jockeys for making mistakes; I regret doing that now.  Everything happens so quickly.

OTB: How have the other jockeys been around you?  Have they been helpful or nice?

MD: Definitely.  I thought they would be angrier at me when I screwed up, but that hasn’t happened.  I’m getting a lot of advice from all the riders.

OTB: Do you have any favourite riders across North America?

MD: I like the way Mike Smith rides.  I liked how Rosie Napravnik, who’s the same age as me [born in 1988], rode in the Kentucky Derby.

OTB: You worked with horses in Australia a couple of years back.  Do you have any plans to ride in any tracks outside of Hastings?

MD: Vancouver is my home, and I don’t make plans so far ahead, but I’d like to ride in a winter track during the offseason.  I wouldn’t want to go four or five months without racing.

OTB: Have you been able to make a living solely as an apprentice rider?

MD: No, I’m still exercising horses in the morning.  I haven’t quit my day job.


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