• Sweden edition
Girl with dragon tattoo rides for historic win
Sweden's Inez Karlsson with her horse Toohottotrot in Stockholm in February 2009

Girl with dragon tattoo rides for historic win

Published: 20 Aug 2010 14:46 GMT+02:00
Updated: 20 Aug 2010 14:46 GMT+02:00

Karlsson, originating from Bollebygd near Gothenburg, is an unlikely starter in the Million, considered the most prestigious turf race by many in US horse racing circles.

If the 27-year-old wins, she will not only claim the $600,000 winning prize and make history as the first female rider to do so, but also crown a remarkable sporting journey which began in the boxing ring at home in Sweden.

Fed up of her job in a petrol station, and despite being ranked second in the country in the light flyweight division, Karlsson decided in 2005 to shelve her gloves and move to Canada.

After a couple of years working her way through odd jobs at assorted ranches, she has become one of the top jockeys in the US.

"I have never tried to be famous," wrote Karlsson on her blog. "My intent was to ride horses because I love to do it. The rest came by itself, good or bad."

The Arlington Million, part of the the Breeders' Cup Challenge Series, was the first thoroughbred race to offer a purse of $1 million when it began in August 1981, of which the winner receives 60 percent, or $600,000.

Competitors race over 1.25 miles, or just over 2 km, in the Million. Karlsson becomes the second woman to race at the event after Triple Crown racewinner Julie Krone finished fourth on Chenin Blanc in 1991.

If Karlsson wins, the purse will be also be the largest ever won by a Swedish jockey in a single horse race.

At around the same time she launched her boxing career, at the age of 19, Karlsson had a dragon tattooed on her back, long before Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy was published. Karlsson showed off the tattoo at a gala in Miami in October, citing it as the reason behind her success, according to the Aftonbladet daily.

"I am extremely well-trained. Sweden's jockeys are lazy and fat compared to me," Karlsson told the newspaper.

Karlsson's respect for her body was honed in the boxing ring, in which she recorded 14 wins in 20 fights after suffering a technical knockout in her flyweight debut, breaking her breaking her nose several times and enduring multiple rib injuries along the way.

Karlsson has recorded 430 victories after 2,942 starts since becoming a jockey in 2007 and is currently one of the most successful female jockeys in the US. In recognition of her performance on the racetrack in 2008, she was runner-up for the Eclipse Award, the Oscar of horse racing, as the year's top apprenticeship in the US.

This summer, she qualified with six-year-old steed Rahystrada for the Arlington Million by winning the Arlington Handicap last month.

"I want to be a role model for young girls and boys who want to do something in their lives beyond just a normal existence," Karlsson wrote on her blog. "I'm not interested in what people say about what I look like."

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

18:42 August 20, 2010 by Swedesmith
Now THAT is a woman!
22:34 August 21, 2010 by dizzymoe33
I wish her well, I hope she will win. :o)
22:49 August 21, 2010 by waffen
Go, Karlsson, go!

You do Sweden proud.

2, 942 starts at age 27. Amazing.

Viking spirit is alive and well.
02:36 August 22, 2010 by SweetBlue
I was in Chicago for the race. She came in fourth. Good race though.
23:38 August 30, 2010 by larsonczoty
Oh my! I play the ponies (and have been to Arlington Park and seen her) almost every weekend, having come to the sport this year. I knew without a doubt she was a Swede but little did I know her story. Thank you for bringing it to us!
Today's headlines
Late summer sun set to hit Sweden

Late summer sun set to hit Sweden

Forecasters have predicted sunshine across Sweden this week, with a warm front moving in from Russia and temperatures of up to 25C. READ  

International police hunt
Swedish killer arrested after European hunt
Photo: Police

Swedish killer arrested after European hunt

UPDATED: Police arrested a man on Tuesday afternoon after he went missing from a psychiatric ward in western Sweden at the weekend. The man had been convicted of murdering a five-year-old schoolgirl in 2003. READ  

The five best Swedish songs of the month
Swedish singer Tove Lo. Photot: TT

The five best Swedish songs of the month

The summer may be (almost) over but the music will keep on playing here at The Local. Our resident music guru Paul Connolly will be selecting his top new Swedish tracks for us in a new monthly feature. READ  

Hedgehog pet craze sweeps Sweden

Hedgehog pet craze sweeps Sweden

African pygmy hedgehogs are being bought by growing numbers of Swedes, as a trend for keeping exotic pets sweeps the country, the Department for Animal Welfare and Health tells The Local. READ  

Poisonous mushrooms cause stir in Sweden
The mushroom in this picture is not the same as the one from the story. Photo: Shutterstock

Poisonous mushrooms cause stir in Sweden

A person selling freshly-picked mushrooms in Gothenburg has come under fire after it turned out the delicacies were not only poisonous but also hallucinogenic. READ  

Pirate Bay founder case starts in confusion

Pirate Bay founder case starts in confusion

The largest hacking case in Danish history began in confusion on Tuesday, after lawyers representing Swedish Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg accused the prosecution of "unreasonable" tactics. READ  

Swedfund joins H&M in Ethiopia expansion

Swedfund joins H&M in Ethiopia expansion

As H&M expands into Ethiopia, Sweden's state venture capital unit Swedfund has announced that it will back the clothing giant, in a move hoped to create more jobs for local women. READ  

Elections 2014
Social Democrats reveal election manifesto
Photo: TT

Social Democrats reveal election manifesto

UPDATED: Sweden's main opposition party the Social Democrats has revealed its election manifesto at a press conference at a high school in Stockholm, with a key focus on education and welfare benefits. READ  

Teen run over by train after 'shoplifting' chase

Teen run over by train after 'shoplifting' chase

A teenage boy is in a critical condition after he was hit by a passing metro train in Stockholm. The accident ground rail traffic to a halt, and has police suspecting attempted murder. READ  

Record win at Sweden's tough island race
Photo: Jakob Edholm/ÖTILLÖ14

Record win at Sweden's tough island race

Two Swedes crushed last year's course record at the Swimrun world championship in Stockholm's archipelago on Monday. READ  

The five best Swedish songs of the month
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Huge clear up underway after Skåne floods
Sweden's Alliance reveals full manifesto
Sweden's highest peak to lose title next year
Blog updates

02 September

America night (Blogweiser) »

" There was an event this weekend for the ‘Americans in Sweden’ Facebook group. I’m a member, and I brought my girls to the evening. The gathering was at a Boston-themed sportsbar in a mall. There were loads of screens, a bowling alley, a game room and a jumbotron. It was as good a place as any to..." READ »


25 August

Hit och dit, här och där (The Swedish Teacher) »

" Hej igen! A common challenge for Swedish language students are the location adverbs hit/här, dit/där, hem/hemma etc. Some of the location adverbs come in two versions. We should use one type of location adverb when we use a verb describes where we are, and we should use the other type of location adverb when we the verb..." READ »

How immigration became a key election issue
Brit's life in Sweden becomes BBC radio show
People-watching August 27
Top ten false friends in Swedish
Roma advocate scoops Wallenberg prize
Meet the man who made a Swedish store recall its high heels for kids
Business & Money
'How I came to run my own business in Sweden'
Expert explains why Sweden's election oozes uncertainty
City plays Schindler's List theme at Nazi rally
For Stockholm Fashion Week, here's the A-Z of Swedish fashion
'Amnesiac' man avoids deportation for ten years
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
People-watching August 22-24
Armed royal guards caught (very) drunk on the job
Sweden orders textbook on Roma discrimination
Violent anti-Nazi demonstrations in Malmö
A closer look at Sweden's five official minority languages
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at: