Horse Racing

Megane Peslier is here to make a name for herself


The daughter of one of France’s most famous jockeys and the winner of 23 races, apprentice Megane Peslier seems poised to have a big year this year in her hometown. Instead, she’ll be riding at Gulfstream Park, hoping to become the newest rising star in the ranks of racers from France.

“That’s one of the reasons I came here, if they can succeed, I think I can too,” she said of the trio of Flavien Prat, Julien Leparoux and Florent Geroux. “If I don’t believe in myself, I can’t do my job.”

Peslier, the 26-year-old daughter of Olivier Peslier, arrived in the US in January. Last week, she announced her intention to stay in Florida and ride there year-round.

“I wanted a different experience from Europe,” she said. “It’s completely different here. That is a big change. I think this will be good for my career.”

Peslier was born in Franc, but lived in Argentina with his mother until the age of 12. When she returned to France, she did not speak the language and was fluent only in Spanish. After earning her baccalaureate degree, she decided to pursue a career as an actress, which is why she started her equestrian career late.

“I came to Paris to become an actress and I attended acting school,” she said. “I love it, but it’s not my passion. My passion is horses. It’s easier for me to be a cyclist than an actor because that’s my passion.”

After deciding she wanted to be a jockey, she took it slow, starting amateur races in 2017 and winning her first race in 2018. Working with a coach David Smaga, she made her professional debut on July 23, 2020 at Longchamp and won with her first mount, Saphirside (Ire) (Elusive City). According to equineline.com, Peslier has won 23 races in France from 308 horseback rides.

Peslier is not the first young European driver to visit Florida in the winter. It can be an important learning experience. But most returned to their homeland when the flat season began in Europe. No regrets. She has hired a lawyer and is in the process of getting a visa that will allow her to stay.

Her father is on the train.

“He said that if I was happy doing this, he was happy,” says Peslier. “He agreed with my decision. The last time I spoke to him, he said that if I think this is going to be good for me, then I should take my chances.”

She started the horses galloping, among others, Todd Pletcher, and made her first top on February 16, finishing seventh in a declared race. Two mounts later, she finished second in her first claim on March 10, losing only one neck on the boat. Reprimand the Vets (The joy of kittens) for coach Michael Mullings. As of Thursday, she had four mounts.

She is also working for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr and said he has indicated he will give her some rides.

“I am very happy here,” she said. “I’m learning some new techniques.”

Still qualifying for the 7-pound weightlifting, Peslier’s hope is that she can break through after Gulfstream’s Championship Meetup is over, when the competition between the riders isn’t too fierce.

“The competition will be less then,” she said. “I think that would be a very good thing for me. I am confident I will do well.”

Her father is a former French equestrian champion, four-time GI Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner and he has won three straight runs GI Breeders’ Cup Mile on Goldikova (Ire) (Anabaa). That is exactly what his daughter is hoping for, that she can compete at the highest level. She’s here to try to make that happen.





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