In the headlines today, we see plenty of news about athletes from the world of golf, baseball, soccer, and football. Despite their talent and sporty ability, Kentucky Derby jockeys do not get as much media attention as others. Regardless, there are plenty of celebrities in the jockey world that consider the Kentucky Derby to be their crowning athletic achievement. They also have noteworthy lives outside of the track.
Common facts about Kentucky Derby jockeys
If you ask most people what they remember about jockeys, they will tell you that they are usually smaller people. This is true considering that the amount of weight a horse can carry is limited to 135 pounds. Naturally, you can ride a horse at any weight; but Thoroughbred racing puts limits on the jockeys. In addition to this characteristic, there are other interesting facts that the 130+ years of the Kentucky Derby has put into circulation.
Top things to know are that the youngest Kentucky Derby jockey was 15 years old and the oldest was 54. In addition, there is often a lot of focus placed on the five female Kentucky Derby jockeys and the fact that African-Americans have been displaced.
African-American Kentucky Derby jockeys
The first Kentucky Derby was held in 1875 and was won by Aristides with African-American jockey Oliver Lewis. According to National Public Radio, African-American jockeys once dominated the sport and then they disappeared around 1900 altogether. As it turns out, the sport was dramatically affected by the spread of horseracing and the reduction of purse winnings.
The New York Times published an article in 1901 that stated that white jockeys had a secret “Jim Crow Union” that they used to get black jockeys out of horseracing. Basically, if a black jockey was in the race, the white jockeys would ensure that he was injured during the race. The last jockey of African-American descent to win a Kentucky Derby at that time was Jimmy Winkfield. Shortly after his 1903 victory, he began living abroad.
Kentucky Derby jockeys calendar
Currently, Black Liner Productions has decided that the 2012 Thoroughbred racing athletes are heartthrobs. An Eclipse Award winner, photographer Barbara Livingston has these celebrities posing with horses without their shirts on. The 2012 Thoroughbred Racing Jockeys calendar includes former Kentucky Derby athletes such as Garrett Gomez, Channing Hill, and Julien Leparoux.
While this may seem like a random list, this calendar represents the modern celebrity jockeys of the horse racing world and also frames ones to watch for the upcoming Kentucky Derby.
Celebrity jockeys also struggle to the top
Beyond the statistics for Kentucky Derby athletes, there is a great deal of focus on the lives of these celebrities. For example, one jockey that has participated in several Kentucky derby races has a personal struggle with addiction that has captivated many spectators of the game. Jockey Garrett Gomez consistently comes up an online search engine results in regards to his athleticism as much as the scandal surrounding his drug recovery.
Why celebrity Kentucky Derby jockeys gain buzz
While celebrity Kentucky Derby jockey news about drug addiction may seem like simple gossip, the fact of the matter is that this kind of news is extremely important in predicting the outcomes of races. Naturally, a jockey is the important piece of success needed to win a race, their absence due to drug addiction may cause a different outcome with the horses.
For this reason, it is common to see notes attached to handicapping websites that single out any jockey that has a chance of forfeiting. One other common problem that can cause a jockey to drop out of a race is a decline in health or a track related injury.
Jockeys use their off-season wisely
Each year, horse racing around the world takes a rest from January to March. Just like other pro athletes, Kentucky Derby jockeys use this time to promote causes close to their hearts. In addition to working with charities to raise money for retired horses, the elderly, and kids, they also work to take care of their own.
In particular, jockeys that are injured during races often spend decades living with severe disabilities. Since injuries like these could happen to any jockey at any time, most will take this charity seriously.
During the Breeder’s Cup in Louisville in 2011, celebrity jockeys worked with local bars to fundraise. Called “Jocktails,” locals and tourists crowded into bars to have their drinks poured by jockeys turned bartenders. At the end of the night, over $3000 in tips were donated and important awareness building was initiated.
Are Kentucky Derby jockeys at the Jockey Club?
When you start to learn about the Jockey Club, you begin to see that there are several different options that surround this term. One of the first returned items you will see in a search engine result is for the Jockey Club in Las Vegas. Sadly, this is not an area for meeting jockeys. Instead, it is simply a hotel that carries the name and idea of luxury horseracing living.
The official Jockey Club has offices in New York City and Lexington, Kentucky. This is where the Thoroughbred Stud Book is chronicled and is organization that holds the prestigious Jockey Club races. However, this is far from a union for Kentucky Derby jockeys. Instead, they are a non-governmental third party that helps to regulate the horseracing industry worldwide and in the United States.
For example, the newly formed Thoroughbred Safety Committee was enacted by the Jockey Club. Other highlights of this organization include their push to get young people more involved with the world of horseracing over the next 10 years.
One last nice little fact in regards to learning about horse racing jockeys is that you can actually bet on the jockeys at numerous racebooks recommended here.