Steeplechase trainer Keri Brion has made a name for herself in the world of horse racing. She, along with The Mean Queen, a mare she is training, are dominating the boys in the Steeplechase racing world.
Keri’s passion for riding began at the age of five. She loved riding and showing, but it wasn’t until she galloped her first racehorse at the age of thirteen, that she knew racing would be her career. She wasn’t initially interested in Steeplechase racing until she started exercise riding for Jonathan Sheppard. “I instantly knew it was something I would love,” explains Keri. “From there, I pursued being a jump jockey, always with the goal I wanted to train long term.”
“I wasn’t a spectacular jump jockey, but I won a few bigger races on the big days, which was very exciting,” Keri says. “My first winner came at Nashville, aboard Lune De Caro. After that, I won five races aboard a cool horse named Orchestra Leader and also rode AllthewayJose to win the feature race at Fair Hill, two weeks after finishing second at Nashville. As far as training goes, it’s been an unreal start to my career. Last year I won four out of the fifth-grade ones offered, and this season, I’ve won both the Carolina Cup and Temple Gwathmey.”
“I am only as good as my team, owners and horses. I’m lucky to have the best people in my corner, and without them, I wouldn’t be enjoying the success that I have,” she says. “It’s a ton of work, but if you put in the time and effort, you will be rewarded!”
For an industry that has been vastly made up of males, Keri doesn’t think it is as bad as it once was. However, she says there are always the owners that do not believe you are as qualified to train because you are a girl. “I dealt with many issues as a jockey where I was discriminated against as a female, but the best way to move forward from that is to let the results speak for themselves and I believe my training career is doing that,” she says. Keri says that there is nothing like watching a horse you train win a race. “I am lucky to have a barn full of really talented horses, it’s the dream of what they will all become that keeps me waking up at 4am every day.”
The Mean Queen has made a name for herself at Steeplechase. “She’s pretty special. She won her first race in April of last year and since then has been on a tear,” Keri says. “She is so competitive. Her name fits her. She’s mean in the stable and has a very cutthroat type of attitude…a true competitor inside and out.
Keri has a great relationship with the man from whom they got The Mean Queen. “I was in Ireland training at the time and took over training her, and actually made history with her as she won a hurdle race in Ireland and made me the first American trainer to win a hurdle race in Ireland,” explains Keri. “We brought her back to the states then and the rest has been history.”
Keri tells how the horses “are top class equine athletes, and many horses, who are nearing the end of their flat careers, find a new spark and lease on life when they try jumping. I have a group of horses running at the Iroquois Steeplechase: Historic Heart in the novice stake, Montmartre D’ Ange in the maiden hurdle, Kicking Myself in the filly stake and, of course, The Mean Queen, and Iranistan in the big race!”
See Keri’s talented lineup of horses and The Mean Queen at this year’s Iroquois Steeplechase at Percy Warner Park on May 14th. Learn more at iroquoissteeplechase.org.