07/19/2013 11:54AM

Fort Erie: Strandberg enjoying success as apprentice


FORT ERIE, Ontario – Apprentice jockey Mallory Strandberg began her riding career only a few months ago, following a two-year training stint at the North American Riding Academy in Lexington, Ky., under the stewardship of Hall of Fame rider Chris McCarron.

The 23-year-old Strandberg has been very busy since her graduation, competing at nine different racetracks in the span of five months, credits McCarron for her enthusiasm.

“I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed my two years in Lexington, learning to be a jockey,” Strandberg said. “Chris McCarron is very special, a wonderful person and a great teacher, and I cannot stress how much I learned from him.”

Born in Grand Forks, British Columbia, Strandberg was raised by her parents on a ranch south of the border in Washington, and that is where her fondness for horses began.

“I wanted to be jockey from my pre-teen days, so when the opportunity came to intern at the Riding Academy, I jumped at the chance,” Strandberg said.

The formal training that Strandberg received paid dividends almost immediately as she wasted no time in chasing her dream.

“I wanted to begin my career in New York,” Strandberg said. “But as fate would have it, I had my first official ride at Laurel in Maryland, finishing third on March 7 of this year. Two weeks later, I rode my first winner at that same track.”

Not exactly one to settle down and ride at one track, Strandberg, in a short space of time, traveled from Laurel to ride races at Turfway Park and Penn National and then returned to Maryland, competing at Pimlico with a few side trips to Charles Town. Spring 2013 found her with a total of seven wins.

“I had a death in the family and had to go back home for a while, and it was not until June that I was back galloping at Woodbine in Toronto,” she said. “My first mount in Canada was on June 21, aboard a longshot, and we missed the board.”

Following a short stay at Woodbine, Strandberg’s agent, Al Raymond, arranged a number of mounts at Fort Erie.

Since her arrival here, Strandberg has compiled a solid record of 28-5-4-4 and an impressive win rate close to 18 percent.

“Al has kept me busy and has me named on a number of horses each day,” Strandberg said.

“I like to look over each race and see how my horse fits with the rest of the field and then try to plan how it will all set up. That homework, and the trainer’s instructions, helps me to prepare for each individual race.”

Strandberg is leaving the door open as to her plans following the Fort Erie meeting.

“I am enjoying the experience and learning at the same time,” Strandberg said.

◗ The $75,000 Rainbow Connection, a five-furlong turf stakes for Ontario-sired fillies and mares, will highlight racing Tuesday at Fort Erie.

Hobnobsnob, who is 2 for 2 on turf at Woodbine this year, is among those expected to make the journey down for the Rainbow Connection.