Saturday, January 5, 2013

Brittany Rhone, Jockey/ Blacksmith


At California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Brittany Arterburn Rhone competed on the rodeo team. She breaks young horses at the Ocala farm of her parents, trainer Lonnie Arterburn and Doris, and enjoys shoeing her own horses – which, from all accounts, does not create a conflict with her husband, farrier Scott Rhone. In addition to managing the family’s string of runners at Tampa Bay Downs, 27-year-old Brittany has won 114 races since becoming a jockey in 2006. Her horses are almost like family members, and riding them soothes the soul of this energetic, dyed-in-the-wool horsewoman. But she is no one-trick pony: she and her sister, Jamie Rocco, just returned from an audition for the CBS reality show The Amazing Race.
HOMETOWN: Castro Valley, California.
BEST HORSE I’VE EVER RIDDEN: Our 8-year-old mare, Monstrip. We bred her, and I started riding her when she was 2. She has won 13 races and I’ve been on her for every win. She’s a nice, smart mare with a lot of attitude, and that’s what makes her so fun.
HOW I GOT STARTED IN RACING: When it comes to Thoroughbreds, my family tree has almost too many branches to count. My father was a jockey before he started training, and his father was a jockey. My dad’s sister is married to (all-time wins-leading jockey) Russell Baze, and my sister, Jamie, is married to a jockey, Joe Rocco, Jr. Plus, my husband Scott’s father, Bernell Rhone, is a trainer, and Scott’s sister is married to jockey Dean Butler. I hope I didn’t leave anyone out.
MY BIGGEST INSPIRATION: I love being around these horses and I love to work. If I’m not working, I’m actually miserable. I don’t like to quit until the job is done, and done right.
ONE CHANGE I WOULD MAKE TO RACING: Go to year-round racing at Tampa Bay Downs. We have a nice home here, and I’m getting tired of shipping all over.

 MY FAVORITE SPORTS TEAM/ATHLETE: The Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team and right wing Martin St. Louis. I like him because he’s small, he’s not a quitter and he’s always in the mix.
NO. 1 ON MY BUCKET LIST: Compete in The Amazing Race. It’s something Jamie and I love watching and have wanted to do real bad for three or four years. We auditioned at Gulfstream on Dec. 27 and had to go in front of the camera, tell who we are, where we’re from and why we should be in the race. It was very nerve-wracking. If we don’t get it this time, though, we will continue to try out.
WHAT ELSE I’D BE DOING IF. … If I wasn’t into racing and horses, I’d be a high school chemistry teacher.

 FAVORITE TV SHOW: The Amazing Race.
FAVORITE THING ABOUT TAMPA BAY DOWNS: The round pens for horses. Most tracks don’t have them, and they allow the horses to relax, roll in the sand, sunbathe and just be horses. It gives them a mental break and is really a fun time.
ADVICE TO SOMEONE STARTING IN RACING: Even when you’re doing well, work like you’re broke. As long as you’re a hard worker, there will be a slot for you at the racetrack.

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