Jockey silks proudly display the mark of the horse's owner
WDRB's Sterling Riggs met a local woman who has been making silks for 53 years
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Jeanne Brown used to live life in the fast lane, speeding around racetracks on horseback. This picture shows her winning a race back in 1971.
"I've done everything on a racetrack that I can do. I was a groom, a hot walker, exercise rider and jockey for two years."
The self-proclaimed horseaholic started working in the industry when she ten-years-old and has been going strong ever since.
"We'll we didn't have enough money to buy blinkers so I would make a set of blinkers. When you would walk your horse to the track, other trainers would ask where you got those blinkers. They would then ask me to make them a set."
Brown hung up her racing boots years ago, and is now known as one of the best makers of jockey silks and blinkers in the business. She crafted her first silk when she was only 16.
"My mother had a little OCD and she had boxes of fabric in the basement. She would not let me touch it. When she left for work, I would go sew it and then pick every stitch out and fold it back neatly. She never knew. You just figured it out yourself."
Brown also says it was a tough road to the top and it took her years to perfect her craft.
"I always wanted to make jockey silks. In the 60's and 70, I would ask people at the track for help. They would say, no! We are not showing you anything. It was the same for riding races."
On a normal afternoon, she makes three custom silks a day and has made uniforms for some of the biggest names in racing.
"I've made silks for George Steinbrenner and his kids, the king of Saudi and the prince. They order them by the dozens."
Her products have also been in the winner's circle for some big races….
"We won the Breeders' Cup Classic, The Preakness. I've had lots of silks in the Derby but never better than 4th. Maybe soon. I would like to have a derby win.
And when it comes to watching the race at the track, you won't find Brown in the stands or checking out her silks.
"When I watch the Derby, I don't want anyone around me. I want to watch it all by myself. I love watching the horses digging down and finding the valor to finish the race. It doesn't matter what silks those horses have on."
And if you want to know whether Brown made a specific silk, look for a tag that says Pepper Wear.
You can find more information on Jeanne Brown and Pepper Wear on Facebook.
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