Jockey Queen: Lillian Jenkinson Holder, Horse Racing’s Fearless Lady

Rowman & Littlefield. Feb. 2024. 192p. ISBN 9781538181577. $34. BIOG
Peach (Swamper Tales) captures the remarkable life of Lillian Jenkinson Holder (1909–92), a trailblazing woman jockey. With more than 10,000 rides and more than 3,000 wins, Holder’s remarkable skills made her legendary in the rugged bush track racing circuit. Drawing from interviews with Holder’s surviving relatives and fellow jockeys who competed against her, Peach provides insight into Holder’s life. He captures her spirit as a fearless and determined rider who was unafraid to stand up to her counterparts, who were men. Her persistent efforts to challenge the status quo, compete at elite pari-mutuel racetracks, and endure repeated failures of these attempts, all highlight the systemic hurdles women riders faced. In a similar vein to Mark Shrager’s Diane Crump: A Horse-Racing Pioneer’s Life in the Saddle, Peach’s book exposes the absurd excuses and obstacles that the world of horse racing conjured to keep women out of the spotlight.
VERDICT An amazing story of a woman jockey’s unwavering passion and talent, coupled with a refusal to be limited by societal constraints. Will appeal to readers interested in horse racing, women’s history, and stories of perseverance in the face of adversity.
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