01/14/2010 12:00AM

Q&A: Ben Creed

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Turfway Park
"I had probably been to the racetrack four times before I joined the school," Creed said. "I was an outsider to it."

Apprentice jockey is a graduate of Chris McCarron's North American Racing Academy and was leading rider at Turfway Park's holiday meeting.

Birthdate: June 8, 1983, in Louisville, Ky.

Family: Engaged to Claire Scholly.

Nickname: "They call me 'Redneck' in the jockeys' room because I live in Taylorsville, Ky., which is a small town."

Got into racing because. . . "I wanted to go to school but didn't know what I wanted to do. For a few years after high school I worked in construction, then I worked at UPS for two years. Then I joined the racing school."

Why did you join the school? "It sounded like fun. Every job I had, people would say, 'You ought to be a jockey.' My dad was the manager of a construction company in Louisville, and Mark Guidry, the jockey, bought one of the condos he built. I remember hearing a while back that a school for jockeys was going to start in Lexington. A few years ago, I thought, 'I wonder if that thing got started?' So I Googled it, and it came up. That was in 2006. I had probably been to the racetrack four times before I joined the school. I was an outsider to it. When I heard Chris McCarron ran it, I thought, 'Wasn't he a jockey?' I assumed he was. But I hadn't really heard of him before. I really didn't know anything about racing."

How long were you at the school? "A year and a half. And I learned everything Chris McCarron could teach us in a year and a half."

Was it intimidating to learn to ride? "It took me a long time to feel comfortable. I'd get up there on a horse and be real tense. I'd muscle them and try to fight them all the time. I'd get the job done, but it wasn't pretty."

Was there ever a point where you doubted why you'd gotten into this? "Oh, yes. I wanted to finish it and see where it goes. I figured I'd stick it out and get my degree. I didn't want to back out being so close to being done. I graduated in May. At the end of May I started riding at River Downs. Then I rode a few at Churchill Downs, and then I went to Indiana Downs, where I won my first race. After that I went to Ellis Park and then Turfway."

How gratifying was it to win the title at Turfway? "Throughout the meet I was one-two, one-two. I thought someone would knock me out. But it never happened. It surprised me. The last day I won four races. I was on top by seven wins by the end of the day."

Did you think you would have this much success this soon? "No. Definitely not. If ever, really."

Do you keep in touch with McCarron? "All the time. He follows me. He follows all his students on TV and keeps in touch with everybody. He said it's like watching his kids out there riding. He raised us as a jockey. We look at him as our dad, kind of."

What does your family think of all this? "My dad, Kelly; my mom, Mary; my grandparents - they're all super-thrilled and extremely proud. My grandma, Abby Creed, she hasn't missed a race of mine yet, either on TV or in person. She has a speadsheet that has every horse I've ridden, the odds he went off at, the trainer, where he finished. Every single race."

Childhood heroes: "Superman. I never really had one, no one I admired other than my dad."

Childhood dreams: "I was real indecisive. I wanted to be a fireman, then I wanted to join the Army, then to be a police officer. But never a jockey. Never. Until a few years ago."

Best horse ridden: "Lucky Chuck. I won my first stakes race on him, the Indiana Futurity at Hoosier Park. That was the greatest moment of my career so far."

Favorite food: "Italian."

Favorite ice cream flavor: "Chocolate."

Favorite movie of all time: " 'Tombstone.' I love that movie. It makes you want to get a six-shooter and start spinning it around on your finger."

Favorite TV shows: " 'The Simpsons' and 'Family Guy.' "

Favorite music: "I like classic rock and country. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones."

Favorite thing to do outside racing: "I like to hunt, fish, ride motorcycles and four-wheelers."

Closest racing friends: "Jon Court and Rodney Prescott."

Ambition: "Win races, and lots of them."