03/22/2017 11:32AM

Katie Davis collects first stakes win in Conniver

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Next Best Thing provides jockey Katie Davis, 25, with her first career stakes victory in the Conniver Stakes.

Katie Davis went down hard in a spill at Laurel Park on March 11. She took off her mounts the next day but dusted herself off and, despite still being sore, came back a week later to win back-to-back races, including the first stakes of her career.

Davis, 25, is the older sister of Dylan Davis and the younger sibling of Jackie Davis, both of whom ride in New York. Their father is Robbie Davis, an elite New York jockey during the 1980s and ‘90s who won more than 3,300 races and whose mounts earned in excess of $115 million.

Katie Davis has bounced around since she started out in 2013, riding at venues such as Aqueduct, Indiana Grand, and Delaware Park. Her business has steadily improved since she moved to Maryland last fall, and she is 17 for 107 this year.

In addition to winning her first stakes, she won four races on March 4 – three at Laurel and one at Charles Town. Her previous best had been two in a day. Her agent is Joe Rocco, a winner of 3,700 races himself.

“My agent tells me thing are changing for the better, but I don’t really notice,” Davis said. “I just keep working hard and doing the best I can.”

Rocco said he sees improvement in Davis’s riding and that her upbeat demeanor works in her favor.

“Katie has only ridden a few years and is learning every day,” Rocco said. “She’s got a great personality, and a lot of horsemen have taken a liking to her.”

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Davis’s stakes win came aboard Next Best Thing in the Conniver, a seven-furlong stakes for Maryland-bred or Maryland-sired fillies and mares. Next Best Thing is trained by Claudio Gonzalez, the leading trainer at Laurel. In nine mounts for Gonzalez, Davis has a 6-1-1 record.

“The stakes win was something special,” Davis said. “I’ve worked very hard and ridden in a bunch of stakes, but to be on a horse that really had a chance to win was amazing.”

Davis rode at Delaware Park last summer and will participate there again this year even though she will be making Maryland her home base. Laurel will run Fridays through Sundays, while Delaware, which opens June 3, will race Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

“We’ll travel to other tracks as opportunities present themselves, but I’m trying to find a home on a year-round circuit like Maryland,” Davis said. “I’d like to buy a house, but first I need to find a circuit.”