The Japan Racing Association certified its first female trainer Thursday, naming 46-year-old Kyoko Maekawa among nine applicants to pass its license test.

Kyoko Maekawa poses for a photo at the Japan Racing Association's Ritto Training Center in Shiga Prefecture, western Japan, on Dec. 7, 2023. (Kyodo)

Maekawa, who has been an assistant trainer since 2004, made it through two screening processes for the fiscal 2024 license that whittled down an initial field of 133 applicants.

"There have only been a small number of female applicants so far. I hope more women will enter the horse racing industry," Maekawa said at Ritto Training Center in Shiga Prefecture, western Japan.

"I'll be in a position with bigger responsibilities and I'm bracing for it," she said. "I want the horses I'm associated with to be treasured and live long. To achieve that, I want to help them win big races."




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