Rees noted that in other professional sports in which competitors might share the same locker room—for example, tennis or golf—the safety issues are nonexistent compared to those that professional jockeys face each time they take to the race track. Jockeys must make split-second decisions every second of a race. An aggressive move by a jockey or a minor mistake made by the horse or jockey, may bear catastrophic consequences for any horse or any jockey in the race.
“So how does this work?” Rees queried. “You might be so mad about somebody because they might have gotten you killed or somebody else killed or injured, and then you’re all back in this one large room.
Read Rees’ winning piece here.
Although the story was Rees’ idea, she was not originally going to write it. The idea was to present an insider’s look at the jocks’ room and have a male reporter cover it. The jocks’ room is generally off limits to media, so the dynamics of gaining access were an initial hurdle. Rees decided to seek out jockeys (away from the jocks’ room) and gather quotes that she would then feed to the eventual writer of the piece. After talking candidly with so many jockeys, it seemed clear that Rees had to be the person to write the piece.