SSHoF logoJoan Phipps

Athlete (1996)

Horse Racing

Joan Phipps Joan Phipps was a trailer blazer in horse racing, opening new avenues for women jockeys in Canada and New Zealand particularly. Joan was born in Saskatoon on Aug. 24, 1954. She and her sister Judy were the two girls in the family of six and she quickly developed an interest in horses. She spent considerable time around the Exhibition grounds, helping others with their horses and between the ages 12 to 16, she was active in the 4H activities and competed in horse shows.

Carl Anderson, a Winnipeg trainer, gave her a chance to ride in a Powder Puff Derby; she enjoyed it and became an apprentice rider. Joan first rode at Winnipeg, then returned to Saskatchewan where she was the leading jockey in Saskatoon and Regina during 1972 and 1973.

Joan was 19 years old when she made her riding debut at Fort Erie, Ontario, and it wasn't long before, she was riding and winning at American tracks like Belmont, Saratoga and Aqueduct in New York.

She became a pioneer in New Zealand, winning the first Ladies Invitational in 1976 and the second one in 1977 and finally earning the right to compete against male jockeys in New Zealand in 1977. Joan represented Canada and became the winner of the Ladies International World Championship at Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 1977 and she repeated as the champion in 1978.

Joan's riding career ended in 1982 after a series of six knee operations and, in 1985, she was offered a position as a steward in Saskatchewan, the first time such a position had been awarded to a woman in Canada.