LEXINGTON, KY (April 20, 2017) – Jockey agent Liz Morris had her career path perfectly plotted. She would combine her biology degree with her love of animals and become an equine veterinarian. Then she discovered horse racing.
“I ended up falling in love with the race track,” she said while taking time out from her busy schedule of fielding phone calls and making entries on behalf of jockey Jack Gilligan and trainers for whom he rides.
As an agent, Morris is constantly seeking the best mounts for Gilligan. She communicates daily with trainers so she can be organized when entries are taken three days before a particular race. She knows the routine exceptionally well from her own days as a jockey.
While growing up in San Antonio riding her Shetland pony, Morris was an animal-loving tomboy whose athletic skills earned her several soccer scholarships. After graduating from the University of Texas at San Antonio, Morris worked at an equine hospital in advance of attending vet school. A side trip to nearby Retama Park changed her course.
Soon she was riding Thoroughbreds at a farm, which led to a job as an exercise rider for trainer Steve Asmussen at Arlington Park near Chicago and Fair Grounds in New Orleans. She obtained her jockey’s license in 2003.
During Morris’ productive five-year career, other jockeys recognized her as a natural to become an agent and encouraged her to pursue that path. She followed their suggestion when she left race riding in 2008.
Morris thrives on her often-hectic schedule that includes watching races and making recommendations to trainers about upcoming races. Plans call for Morris and Gilligan to shift to Churchill Downs when Keeneland’s Spring Meet concludes April 28.
“There are so many things I love about being an agent,” she said. “I get to interact with people from all over the world. And I enjoy studying the races and pedigrees.”