Jockeys deserve more credit. These supermen in tiny tights are meticulously professional and remain the driving forces behind some of the biggest names in horse racing. Consider American jockey legend Calvin Borel. This year, Borel first won the Kentucky Derby with Mine That Bird, then, switched horses to a philly, and road Rachel Alexandria all the way to the Preakness title. Come on people, where’s the Jockey Love?
The horses always seem to get all the credit…One can rattle off several famous horse names like Mine That Bird, Secretariat, Seabiscuit and countless others. But many people, myself included, are at a loss when it comes to naming the Jockeys that ride these magnificent steeds to victory.
Why do the horses receive more fame? Doesn’t seem fair to me, it’s a partnership, they ride and the horse strides, it’s like Jordan and Pippen baby. Isn’t it? Not at all an expert on this topic, I put down my mint julep and decided to do some research. It seems that a typical jockey accounts for only around ten percent of the success of his horse. That means a shitty horse has no chance even if the best jockey in the world is riding it. So what is in that ten percent that separates the best from the rest?
Jockeys have to know the horse. They have to know the horse’s tendencies, its temperament and when it likes to turn it on. Things like knowing where on the track the horse is comfortable, whether their horse is a front runner, a late charger, or one that lags in the middle of the pack till crunch time; are all up to the jockey.
Jockeys must decipher race conditions and research their competition and even watch film on other horses. Like athletes, jockeys must know the scouting report on horses and other jockeys too…
And not just anyone can be a jockey, it’s something you’re born into, almost literally considering the size requirements. To be a jockey you have to weigh in roughly between 100 and 120 lbs. Jockeys are also abnormally strong for their size and well endowed. It is believed that the average jockey can lift one hundred times his own body weight while making love to a porn star…Okay, I made that up, but jockeys are strong as fuck. They have to be to control a thoroughbred galloping at over forty miles per hour. Jockeys are disciplined too. They can’t afford the weight fluctuations like everyone else, and often times they ration their food intake prior to a race to stay light. No wonder they’re beating the shit out the horse to finish… They’re hungry!
Surprising to me, I learned that jockeys don’t get paid as much as I thought. With all the money that goes into the sport I thought jockeys make serious bank. In fact, if they don’t win, they don’t get much at all. The average salary of a jockey is around 150K, which isn’t bad. At the top of the heap it’s better, last year’s top money making jockey raked in about two million, not too shabby for riding horses.