Donna Barton Brothers


NBC Racing Analyst, Commentator, Author, and former top jockey

Donna Barton Brothers was born into horse racing. Her mother, Patti Barton, was one of the first half dozen women to be licensed as a jockey in the United States—that was in 1969. Throughout Patti Barton’s career (and until four years after her retirement), she was the leading female rider in the nation by number of wins. Patti retired from racing in 1984 with just over 1,200 wins.

Both Donna’s brother, Jerry, and sister, Leah, were jockeys, but by the time Donna started riding professionally in 1987, her mother, brother, and sister had all retired from riding. That’s when Donna’s racing career took off. She rode from 1987 to 1998 and retired in 1998 as the second leading female jockey in the United States by money earned. She holds that title still, with 1,130 wins and more than $18 million in purse money won. 

Since 2000, she has been a horse racing analyst and commentator for NBC Sports and has covered the Breeder’s Cup Championships, World Equestrian Games, PBR World Championships, Kentucky Land Rover (Rolex) Three Day Event, the Triple Crown races, and more, for the network. To date, she has covered  24 consecutive Kentucky Derbies, including the historic victories that took place in 2015 when American Pharaoh won the Triple Crown for the first time in 37 years, followed three years later by Justify’s domination of the Triple Crown races in 2018.

Brothers is also the author of “Inside Track: Insider’s Guide to Horse Racing,” which she published in 2011 and updated in 2014 and again in 2020. The book is geared toward bridging the gap between novice horse racing fans and the sometimes complicated ins and outs of Thoroughbred racing; it is now in its third printing. In 2014, Donna was honored by Sports Illustrated Magazine when she was awarded Best Sideline Reporter of the Year for her on-track reporting. 

Brothers is also an active ambassador for horse racing, a sport she has been involved with since her earliest memory.

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