Kim Grews wins first career start

Sometimes it pays to be patient. That’s exactly what transpired with apprentice jockey Kim Grews at Indiana Grand Wednesday, Aug. 1. Her first career mount was scheduled for the third race Tuesday. She was dressed and ready to go out when racing was canceled just before the third, so the South African native had to wait until the next day to ride, securing the mount aboard Allidoisdreamofyou for 2017 Leading Trainer Genaro Garcia. The timing was perfect all around as Grews scooted home to a victory in her first ever start.

Kim Grews has a smile on her face as Allidoisdreamofyou strides out for the win in her first career start as a jockey at Indiana Grand Wednesday, Aug. 1. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Growing up in Capetown, South Africa, Grews accompanied a friend to a riding lesson at the age of four just to watch. She came home as a new riding student and was hooked on horses. She competed in show jumping, eventing and even Grand Prix show jumping before relocating to the United States 11 years ago. Her career path took her to William and Mary in Virginia where she received a degree in applied math and worked for five years in corporate America doing data analysis in the Ocala area. Although the pay was good, Grews missed the horses and purchased a show jumping horse that she imported from Denmark. Soon, connections led her to Carl Keegan’s barn, who gave her a shot to get on Thoroughbreds.

“If you are not around racing, you don’t realize the amount of jobs there are in racing,” said Grews. “I was very fortunate to have a really good mentor in Carl (Keegan) and was there for nine months. He told me I needed to get more experience at a racetrack, especially if my goal was to become a jockey and he set me up with Eddie Kenneally at Churchill Downs. Eddie took a chance on me too.”

Kim Grews stops for a photo with her husband, jockey Angel Moreno, prior to her first career start as a jockey.

Racing took Grews to Florida where she hit another jackpot, meeting her now husband jockey Angel Moreno. They have now been married for one and one-half years and have worked side by side since that time. Grews accompanied Moreno on his regular routine to Monmouth Park for the winter and she acquired a job with Chad Brown galloping before going back to Florida for the winter with Kenneally. This past summer, Moreno got the call to try out Indiana Grand and Grews decided it was a good place and the timing was right to launch her career as a jockey. Both Moreno and Grews are represented by the same agent, Don Cespedes.

It didn’t take long for both Moreno and Grews to catch on at Indiana Grand. They caught the eye of several trainers and Grews credits Garcia, Tony Granitz and Tony Duran for giving her a shot to ride.

“I only knew Angel (Moreno) from paper but I saw them both in the mornings working so hard,” said Garcia. “I said she needs a chance and they both started getting on horses for me. They both look really good on a horse and have done a super job for me. And, when I see them leave my barn, I see them working for other barns.”

Kim Grews looks back at her husband, Angel Moreno, who was cheering her on from the paddock for her first career race. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Moreno was waiting on Grews as she came out for her first race in the sixth at Indiana Grand aboard Allidoisdreamofyou. The one mile 70 yard race was taken off the turf and scratched down to a three horse field. Grews sat third most of the way before making a move in the final turn on the six-year-old son of Street Sense and rolled home to the win over Layin Low and Sammy Bermudez by one and one-half lengths. The time of the race was 1:42.51.

It was the second win of the year for Allidoisdreamofyou. Claimed by Southwest Racing Stables and Steve Lewis last fall at Churchill Downs, the veteran racehorse now has five career wins in 40 starts and pushed his career tally over the $200,000 mark with the win. It was one of two wins on the card for Garcia, who moved into second place on the trainer standings with the double.

“It was great to ride and I got really lucky with this horse,” said Grews. “There were only three of us so it was nice and relaxed in the gate. I carried the horse a bit wide, but he is really a sweetheart. When I was coming down the stretch, I could hear Angel cheering me on from the paddock. He has been so supportive of me this entire time.”

Crews had Moreno close to her when she rode. She had a pair of Moreno’s jock’s pants on to signify his support, which proves they have a strong supportive relationship.

Grews mother, who is an oncology nurse in North Carolina, has also been behind Grews 100 percent. She was at work when the race was run, but she taped it and will get to see her daughter win her first career start later in the day.