“1.15pm on Saturday”. The Kentucky Tornado



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“1:15 pm on Saturday” offers the portrait of Mickaëlle Michel, a young woman jockey who left for the United States in pursuit of her dream: to participate in one of the most prestigious horse races in the world, the Kentucky Derby.

This week, for this new issue of “1:15 pm on Saturday” (Chirping, #1:15 pm), the portrait of Mickaëlle Michel. She settles in the United States to live her “American dream”: to win horse races, and in particular the most prestigious, the Kentucky Derby, held in Louisville.

The young woman is only 26 years old and is already a phenomenon. In a very closed equestrian world generally reserved for men, in 2018 she became the first female “gold whip” in the history of the discipline. This distinction rewards the jockey who has achieved the most victories in a year in France. She has also won dozens of races around the world and made a name for herself.

The daily life of a “freelance” jockey.

Fell on the track of the Croisé-Laroche racecourse in 2021, he got back up and didn’t give up. For her, the United States is now a new playground and ambitions: being a jockey means patrolling the stables every morning at dawn and convincing the trainers to entrust her with one of their horses. Because what we’ve dubbed “the tornado” is, like all freelance jockeys, available on demand.

His goal: to participate in the Kentucky Derby, the largest flat race in the country, which is held over 2,000 meters. The last edition took place on May 6, 2023. The “1.15pm on Saturday” team followed her in her training, with her partner and sports coach, navigating in a very masculine environment where she has to prove herself.

A report by Rémi Vorano, Alex Gohari, Léo Mattéi and Alexandre Adam.

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