Q&A With Racehorse Breeder, Model Esther de Jong

Pop Culture

Photos courtesy of Esther de Jong

After getting her first modeling job by chance when working as a fashion photographer's nanny, Esther de Jong has modeled for Prada, Chanel, Christian Lacroix, Hermes and Christian Dior, among others. The Dutch model has also acted and currently is with Wilhelmina Models in New York City.

De Jong enjoys spending time with her son, Oscar, and has discovered a passion for breeding Thoroughbred racehorses. Read on to learn more about her interest in the sport and her modeling career.


Name: Esther de Jong

What I do for a living: I model, act a little, breed beautiful racehorses and I am a full-time mother to my son, Oscar, 12.

How and when I was introduced to Thoroughbred racing: I grew up with Standardbred racing in Holland and every weekend was spent on the track, so the racing aspect was already there, just not with Thoroughbreds. That came when I moved to New Jersey and was asked to gallop a race horse that was in a layup, in a large, open field. The strength, power, and speed and ability to switch gears got me immediately hooked on Thoroughbreds.

My favorite racetrack: For now, I would have to say Saratoga; unfortunately, I have not had the pleasure of visiting many racetracks yet.


My favorite Thoroughbred racing event: The Triple Crown races are amazing and such a feat, but I do love the turf a lot, so the Breeders’ Cup turf races are also a favorite of mine.

Other sports/teams I follow: I have to admit I really don’t follow other sports much, but being Dutch I am a big supporter of World Cup soccer every four years.

What I would like to see more of in Thoroughbred racing: This is a great question, and I wish I could elaborate more on it, but to keep it short, I would like to see more drug-free racing and less racing days in the winter on the East Coast, great for the fans and for the horses.

What I would like to see less of in Thoroughbred racing: Again less race-day medication and more protection for the welfare of horses dropping down the claiming ranks.

Three words that define what Thoroughbred racing means to me: Beauty, speed and passion

First Thoroughbred track I ever attended was: Parx Racing in Bensalem, Pa.


Favorite all-time Thoroughbred: Suzee Sunrise, followed closely by Buckpasser

Best racetrack food can be found at: I have not had the pleasure to attend many racetracks yet, but so far I have to say Saratoga has the best, hot dogs with everything.

My favorite jockey: Being in New Jersey with New Jersey-breds I would have to vote for Joe Bravo and, of course, Rosie Napravnik.

My favorite trainer: Bobby Frankel and Chad Brown


My heroes: My mom, Trieneke van den Broek, who bravely fought cancer for three years after only being given six months.

Person in Thoroughbred racing I’d like to have dinner with: The late Charlie Whittingham

My philosophy on life: Love is divine and is being able to strip your clothes and fall in love, as you stand completely naked.

Favorite quote or motto: Live and let live.

Favorite animal other than a horse: I would say a dog, but chickens are very entertaining.

Favorite non-Thoroughbred racing sports event I have attended: My dad playing amateur soccer in Holland.


Favorite food: A beautiful and simple plate of fresh spaghetti

Favorite vacation spot: Harbour Island in the Bahamas

Favorite city: Paris

Favorite musician/band: Kate Bush

Favorite all-time movie(s): “Once Upon a Time in the West,” “Blue Velvet,” “The Godfather,” “The Shining,” “The 400 Blows,” “Buffalo ’66,” and many more, actually. I am a big fan of cinema.


Favorite TV show: “Weeds,” “Fresh Off the Boat,” “Breaking Bad,” “House of Cards,” “The Sopranos,” “Mom”.

Favorite hotel: I have a weakness for all-American roadside hotels from my East Coast-West Coast moves and road trips. The Ritz in Paris is my favorite luxury hotel, and besides that, any hut on a beautiful beach also will do.

Websites I visit daily: New York Times, the Blood-Horse, Paulick Report, Weather, America’s Best Racing, Facebook, De Telegraaf (Dutch paper) and Al Jazeera, all in random order and different days.

What I drive: 2015 BMW 328 diesel wagon

Pet peeve: Dishonesty and disloyalty  

Favorite movie about horse racing: “Seabiscuit”


Which actor would play me in a movie: Definitely Uma Thurman or Cate Blanchett, and most likely a Western.

Alma Mater: The education system is different in Holland but it equates to a bachelor’s degree in child psychology and one year University.

Favorite radio shows/channels: Veronica (Dutch) and the Racing Channel on satellite radio

Best book I recently read: “Whittingham”

Favorite memento: Charm bracelet that my mother gifted me

Favorite dessert: Panacotta, Italian ice, fresh fruit, vanilla ice cream … I could go on, I love to eat and love dessert.

Favorite drink: Dirty martini and a nice, cold margarita up with salt 

Favorite scent: Eau de Zwitsal … or nothing … the scent of body.

What I like about my job: I still love the chances I get to travel and meet new people, I have traveled a lot, to many places, and I’m still not bored with it and embrace each opportunity I get.

Favorite tech gadget: My iPhone

Twitter handle: I will have to change that to Instagram, I tried Twitter, and most likely should reactivate my account, but I like speaking with pictures. Instagram: @eestherdejong

No. 1 bucket-list item: Safari in Africa on horseback with my son, Oscar

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