Riding Dirty: 5 Dirty Secrets About Horse Jockeys You Never Knew (Until Now!)

There are few experiences as exciting as horse racing. You only have to witness this event once to understand the power of a visit to the dirt.

That’s why millions of people become addicted to the thrill of betting on their favorite horses. Each race might be just a single lap around the track, and yet it’s one of the most thrilling and suspenseful events imaginable.

Have you ever wondered about the life of horse jockeys? If so, you’ve come to the right place for answers. This article takes a look at dirty little secrets that the horseracing world would probably prefer you didn’t know. Keep reading to get the inside scoop.

1. Most Jockeys Don’t Make Much Money

The vast majority of people are only familiar with the most famous names in horse racing. Some of the elite jockeys over the years have earned millions of dollars, but those are definitely the exceptions.

In fact, most low-end jockeys in the industry typically earn around $30,000. This might not seem fair, but it’s just part of the business. The key is to remember that jockeys get paid whether they win or not, but they will get to pocket a share of the purse if they win.

2. Jockeys are Self-Employed

That’s right, they are considered independent contractors. This means they are responsible for their own expenses, including travel costs. That’s why it’s so important to win as many races as possible rather than simply trying to live off their mounting fee.

Here’s a place to learn about the bad boys of racing.

3. It’s a Short Man’s Game

Have you ever seen a tall jockey? If you think you have, you’d better check again.

That’s because the average jockey is around 5 feet tall or smaller, and they rarely weigh more than 118 pounds.

Why is this? It should be very obvious, but the less weight on the horse, the better. After all, a tall, heavy jockey will slow the horse down. Thus you want the smallest rider possible to give the horse the best chance of achieving maximum speed on the track.

4. Women Jockeys are Rare

If you’ve been trying to find a female horse racing jockey, good luck finding one. That’s because women are few and far between in this sport.

That doesn’t mean there haven’t been some, because there have, and a few have even managed to be quite successful. This includes Diane Crump, the first female jockey to ride in the Kentucky Derby, and Patti Cooksey, the first female to saddle up in the Preakness Stakes.

5. Jockeys Aren’t Allowed to Own Racehorses

This might seem a little surprising, but it’s true. The simple fact is that jockeys aren’t allowed to own the horse they ride in a race.

What is this? Well, just think about how much money is at stake. After all, what’s to stop a jockey from betting against his or her own horse and then throwing the race? Thus it’s important to avoid even the appearance of possible impropriety.

A Guide to Things You Never Would Have Guessed About Horse Jockeys

The sport of horseracing is incredibly exciting and yet mysterious. Fortunately, these facts about horse jockeys help provide insight into a side of the sport that most people would have never imagined.

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