Great-Grandmother Rides $53 Winner At Tampa Bay Downs - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Great-Grandmother Rides $53 Winner At Tampa Bay Downs

Jockey Sue Martin

Equibase credits Sue Martin with riding her first race in 1976, but it actually happened in 1973, at Les Bois Park in Idaho. She notched her first victory the following year at the Coeur d'Alene Turf Club in the Gem State.

“That was kind of before computers,” she explains of the records discrepancy.

It was also around the time she married trainer Wayne Martin, and the duo teamed for a huge upset in today's fourth race when 62-year-old Sue (she'll be 63 in about a month) rode owner James Hester, Jr.'s 5-year-old mare Blue Haze of Fire to a maiden victory.

It was the first victory in the irons since 2014 for Martin, who only rides a handful these days but did post a second in a Quarter Horse race on Tuesday at the Ocala Training Center.

Blue Haze of Fire paid $53.80 to win in her third start of the meeting, despite moving up in class to the $12,500 claiming level.

“I didn't know how she would like going a mile (and 40 yards), but she's been training really well,” said Sue, who has seven children, 18 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Sue and Wayne were joined in the winner's circle by daughter Tasha, son John and a bunch of their friends. Sue noted that the sun finally broke through the clouds at about the precise moment Blue Haze of Fire flashed under the finish line.

A devout woman, she credits her personal relationship with Jesus Christ for enabling her to keep competing.

“The Lord keeps putting me together – I've broken every bone in my body, I have a titanium leg and I have a plate and screws in my arm,” she said. “I just follow the lead of the Lord and try to be obedient.”

And, she added with a smile, “I don't want to retire, and I think I have the mount back on Blue (Haze of Fire).”

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