She's paid her dues as an exercise rider every morning during the five-month long meet at Monmouth Park for the past three years. On Saturday, Lindy Gott finally gets to ride in the afternoon.
"A little bit," she replied candidly when asked on the eve of her debut of becoming a professional jockey if she's jumping out of her skin. "But I am trying to keep calm. I'm as ready as I'm ever going to be. It's time to see what I have."
The 19-year-old sophomore at Monmouth University, where she is a dean's list student majoring in business with a concentration in marketing and management, chose the school because of its proximity to the racetrack. She's also been schooled at Monmouth Park, where she has studied reels of film with the stewards and gotten pointers from some current and former riders in the jockeys' room while working on the Equicizer, which simulates a live Thorougbred's action and movements in a race.
Gott, who began riding at age nine and got her first pony at 13, has long dreamed of being a jockey. She's been working horses for trainers John Forbes and Pat BcBurney for a long time, and this past summer she also got on one named Jack Taylor for Danny Lopez in the morning. In Saturday's sixth race, Lopez will give her a leg up on Jack Taylor.
"Lindy is a pretty good rider," said McBurney. She's tough, too, despite her size. She's very confident on a horse's back."
Gott, who is named to also ride a horse on Sunday's card on the live meet's closing day, got her start working for Joan Milne's Sterlingbrook Farm near Pittstown, New Jersey when she was 16. Her mount on Sunday will be aboard Celtic Blessing, a mare she broke at the fam when the horse was a baby.
"I loved her and was very attached to her. When she went off to the track, it was the hardest day of my life because I couldn't go with her," said Gott, who stands five feet tall and weighs 100 pounds. "I would come to Joan's barn at Monmouth just to visit her and pet her and give her treats. I was the first one to sit on her back, and now I get to do it again, and for Joan, but it will be in a race this time."
Has her story come full circle?
"No, because it isn't over yet," said the young jockey. "It's only beginning."