by Victoria Howard
Jazmin Arnold is a versatile and a proverbial bootstrapper and is part of the ‘younger blood’ that the sport desperately needs to flourish.
Born in 1994 in Melrose, IL, not far from Maywood Park, Arnold grew up in Newton, IL.
“I’m 27 years-old, but some days I feel like I’m 72,” she said, laughing.
“I have always been involved with the horses as long as I can remember. My parents are Rebecca Arnold and Larry Finn. My grandparents on both sides were involved in the sport (Mike and Jill Arnold, and Fred and Sharon Finn) and paved the way for me to follow; and especially my Aunt (Sis Arnold) who was the outrider at Balmoral and Maywood Park for many years and the outrider at Hoosier Park in Indiana from 2018-2020.
“I think she is the main reason I chose to become an outrider.”
Outriding is just one of the many things Jazmin does for the sport. She also trains, grooms and drives.
“I outride at any Ohio track when they call. The fairs are hit and miss and I jump at the chance at driving there.
“I mostly drive at the fairs in the summer. I guess you can say I’m a fair weather driver, for I’m not a fan of the cold weather.
“One year I filled in as outrider at The Meadows when their regular Missy Rothfuss was unable to.
“My favorite job, though, would have to be working in the barn grooming horses. I love to work one-on-one with them.”
Arnold’s first job working with standardbreds came when she was on summer break from school.
“I got a job with Roger and Amy Welch, but I’m currently working for Adam Short in Ohio.
“Adam and I are a team on and off the track. I guess you can say I’m an equine sanitation specialist, or a second trainer — depending on what kind of day it is.”
Recently, the young woman has been seen a lot in the winner’s circle for she seems to be on a roll and is a force to reckon with – especially at the Ohio fairs.
Her special sidekick is a 13 year-old gelding named ROLL EM UP, who is owned by Caleb Hagerman, the son of Herman and Morgan Hagerman of Millersburg, OH.
“I love Roll Em Up, but believe me, he can be a handful. He is quite a horse who has earned $484,000, winning 55 of his 315 starts.
“Although he can be hard to handful at times, Roll Em Up has taught me more than anyone else has.
“Just recently I have gotten my feet wet in the claiming game.
“September17, 2019, was most definitely a major highlight for me as I won the Spring Haven Ladies Driving Series Championship at Delaware, OH, during Jug week with MR. COOLIE.
“We teamed up that year and both of us worked our tails off competing in almost every ladies pace to end up being highest point leader. That day we won in 1:54.3, making it the fastest race I ever won driving.
“My entire family was in the winner’s circle and you couldn’t knock that smile from my face for weeks. That was the toughest, but most rewarding fair season yet.
“And the trotter BUDDY HALLY is special, too, for I drove him in the Great Lakes Amateur race where he got me my first pari-mutuel win at Northfield Park.
“Buddy was owned by Herman and Morgan Hagerman, as were the horses CELEBRITY PEGASUS and NO NO LINDY.
“Until Herman put me up on BUDDY HOLLY in 2019, I had never sat behind a trotter in a race.
“That year I would drive three hours to Northfield Park every Saturday to drive one of his trotters — it was worth every minute.”
On July 19 of this year, Arnold won the Ladies Pace at Hilliard fair with Roll Em Up and repeated on Aug. 4, when she was victorious at the Greene County Fair in Xenia, OH, winning the Ladies Pace with Roll Em Up.
As far as Jazmin’s all-time favorite horse, she said it would be KNOCKOUT QUEEN, who happened to be her very first ‘high dollar’ purchase in the business.
“KNOCKOUT QUEEN made her way to winning the filly and mare open at Dayton Raceway in Ohio. That was always my goal and that day was beyond the best day in the business for me.
“Aside from her winning a featured race on a Friday night, she had so much sass. Being a typical filly, it was ‘her way or no way.’ She was so unique and I took care of her and in return she took care of me.”
I asked Jazmin if she gets intimidated racing against the boys.
“I personally feel that the women drivers, especially in Ohio, are treated equal to the men. When driving at the pari-mutuel tracks, the guys treat the women drivers as one of them.
“The men surely don’t baby anyone on the track; in fact I feel the guys are tough on the gals, because they are trying to make us better.”
As far as having any ‘role models’, Arnold said her parents fit that bill for they work very hard for the things they have in life and have instilled that ethic in her.
“They showed me that hard work pays off in the end, and I hope to make them proud of me and who I have become.
“I love the sport and hope it turns around, but I think we need to get the younger generation involved and allow them to be more hands on.”