Donna Barton Brothers

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Donna Barton Brothers
Occupation Jockey
Born (1966-04-20) April 20, 1966 (age 52)
Alamogordo, New Mexico
Career wins 1,130
Major racing wins
Ack Ack Handicap (1994)
Phoenix Stakes (1994)
Churchill Downs Debutante Stakes (1995)
Edgewood Stakes (1995, 1997)
Kentucky Juvenile Stakes (1995)
Sapling Stakes (1995)
Schuylerville Stakes (1995)
Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (1995)
Gardenia Stakes (1996)
Kentucky Cup Juvenile Stakes (1996)
Louisville Handicap (1996)
Risen Star Stakes (1997)
Significant horses
Boston Harbor, Golden Attraction

Donna Barton Brothers (born April 20, 1966 in Alamogordo, New Mexico) is a former jockey who won over 1,100 horse races and serves as a horse-back riding reporter and analyst for NBC Sports Triple Crown coverage and a reporter and analyst for TVG Network. She also exercises horses at Churchill Downs. She is one of the most decorated female jockeys of her time, retired in 1998 with 1,130 career wins and still ranks second on the money list. Brothers hails from a family of riders, including her sibling, as well as her mother who was, in 1969, one of the first women to be licensed as a jockey. She resides in Louisville, Kentucky.


Donna Barton's mother Patti Barton was a jockey. So were her brother and sister. Although her mother never insisted she follow the same career path, at age 21, Barton listened to an agent who said she should try being a jockey.[1] Brothers began her professional career as a jockey in 1987. She was one of D. Wayne Lukas' first call jockeys in the 1990s and rode numerous stakes winners, at the time making her the second leading money-earner of all time among female Thoroughbred jockeys.

Of her 1130 wins, the biggest was the 1996 Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Juvenile Stakes, aboard Boston Harbor, trained by D. Wayne Lukas. She also came in second on another Lukas-trained horse—Hennessy in the 1995 Breeders' Cup Juvenile.[2]

In terms of earnings, Barton still ranks fourth among female jockeys even though she retired in 1998.[3]

Barton retired in 1998, married trainer Frank Brothers, and then became involved in television broadcasting. Brothers started as an interviewer at the Fairgrounds Race Course in New Orleans then as an on-air racing analyst for Churchill Downs where she joined their other analyst, Mike Battaglia. She was "discovered" by NBC Sports in 2000 when NBC was at Churchill Downs for observation in advance of assuming Derby coverage from ABC in 2001. She began working for NBC that fall doing their Breeders' Cup coverage as their only reporter on horseback. She attended college from 2002 to 2005 but became too busy with reporting duties for NBC Sports and other networks and moved to full-time work as a reporter and racing analyst in 2005.[1]

Brothers served as a racing analyst for Churchill Downs' "Paddock Preview" show from April 1999 to November 2002. Additionally, Brothers did on-location work for TVG, a horseracing network, providing on-site reports from both Churchill Downs and the Fair Grounds from November 1999 to November 2002. Presently she covers Keeneland's Spring and Fall meets for TVG and has been doing that since 2009.

At Triple Crown races, Brothers positions herself near the starting gate and rides around the track backward, passing the horses who are racing, thus getting in position to be the first to interview the winning jockey.[4]

Brothers also covered the PBR Professional Bull Riders events for NBC Sports and covers the World Equestrian Games, the Rolex Kentucky Three Day show, and the Hambletonian Stakes, all for NBC.[1]

In 2011, she released the book, "Inside Track: Inside Guide to Horse Racing".


  1. ^ a b c Rees, Jennie (2008-04-04). "Jockey-turned-sportscaster Donna Barton Brothers talks about going from the saddle to the spotlight". Courier-Journal. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  2. ^ Welsch, Mike (2006-01-24). "At home on TV or horseback". Daily Racing Form. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  3. ^ "Racing's most successful female jockey to retire". Sports Illustrated. 1999-04-09. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  4. ^ Hiestand, Michael (2006-05-05). "NBC's Brothers does her best work on horseback". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 

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