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U.S. Olympic Committee

Rediscovering Kathy Kusner: The country's first licensed female jockey

Rediscovering Kathy Kusner: The country's first licensed female jockey

Although Judy Johnson received a steeplechase jockey’s license during World War II, no female had ever been granted a standard flat track jockey’s license from a major racing jurisdiction.

After a yearlong fight, however, Kathy Kusner was granted a jockey’s license in October 1968. To become the first female licensed jockey, she had to endure months of sexist criticism from officials at the Maryland Racing Commission, the press and some fellow jockeys. Through it all, she displayed remarkable dignity, poise and, with the help of her Laurel-based lawyer, the tenacity to endure.

Not your typical applicant

Kusner’s lifetime of riding led to her recognition as the...

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