05/06/2009 12:00AM

Wilkinson gets first two-win day


Apprentice rider Erin Wilkinson, a 24-year-old native of Marietta, Ga., won two of the eight races at River Downs on Saturday. In the third race, she won aboard Lil Firefly ($4.60) for trainer Randy Kerr. In the eighth race, she won on Adoring Dori ($34.80) for trainer Daniel Thompson. It was the first time she had ever recorded two wins in the same day, and the victories gave her a total of 4 wins from 22 starts at the meet.

Most jockeys grew up around horses or always wanted to be a jockey. But not Wilkinson, she left Georgia for school in Kentucky in 2002.

"I needed a job while in school, so I started rubbing horses and walking hots," Wilkinson said. "That wasn't enough, I wanted more, so I started galloping, that still wasn't enough, and I started race riding. I love it, I think it is in my blood or something, riding is fantastic."

Before riding, Wilkinson enjoyed watching Gary Stevens and Julie Krone ride and tried to learn from them.

"They are the best and watching them helped me," she said. "There are two jockeys here that really try to help me get better. Otto Thorwarth and Rodney Prescott have been a huge help."

Wilkinson is not sure where she will go after River Downs closes in September.

"It just depends on how much experience I get and how this meet plays out," she said.

There will be a show of horsemanship skills in the paddock at 11:30 a.m. Saturday as the traditional Cincinnati Therapeutic Riding and Horsemanship Program will take place. The school's participants will work with local jockeys and volunteers to showcase their skills. The Montgomery Inn will provide lunch for the participants, their parents, and the volunteers.