LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Sophie Doyle hasn't known a life without horses. She began riding her pony at the tender age of 3. And in reality, she was on horses on a regular basis while still in her mother's womb.
"My mom was still carrying me with two weeks to go, and there's a picture of my mom actually jumping over a fence two weeks prior to having me," Doyle said. "I was born into the game, had a great childhood growing up having all the racehorses around, all the ponies around and then naturally progressed into being a jockey and the need for speed."
It was that need for speed that pushed Doyle away from the show jumping that her mom did, but it was her mom that taught Sophie all she needed to know about handling a horse.
"She had a problem one time, kept moving her hands up, balancing off her heels," Jacqui Doyle said. "So I decided it was time to teach her to balance naturally. So I removed the reins completely and the stirrups and then put her back on this tiny pony and said, 'Now ride the pony and ride it properly.' And it ran round and round this little paddock with Sophie going 'Ahhh, help!' She learned to balance without pulling on the ponies mouth, and that was the beginning of it. She was always a natural."
A native of Lambourn, England, Sophie came to the United States for bigger opportunities in 2013, and she's got a big one in the Kentucky Oaks with Street Band, a winner in the Fair Grounds Oaks a month ago for trainer Larry Jones, a three-time Kentucky Oaks winner.
"It's a dream come true," Sophie Doyle said. "It's an amazing feeling and I'm so grateful to Street Band, to Larry Jones and his team. They've done a fantastic job, and they've shown that for many years with three previous Oaks winners. So I'm just hoping to be part of that team and add a fourth one to their tally."
Jacqui Doyle watches all of her daughter's races on TV but is thrilled to be here in Louisville to see her daughter's biggest race in person.
"Suddenly this morning, I got this feeling in the pit of my stomach. It suddenly hit me," Jacqui Doyle said. "She's actually riding on that huge stage on a horse that's got a real chance at winning that race on Friday. It's very, very special."
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