Horse racing remains a highly influential part of culture today, and it’s clear to see why. The celebration of the unique bond between humans and horses dates back centuries, and they have always been bred to the highest standards. Following rigorous training and selection, jockeys have to keep up with the ever-rising standard that horses are setting. Racing is in their blood, and it is the role of the jockey to bring out this potential and direct horses in the right way. Discipline and precision are key factors that individuals strive towards when working with horses and attempting to break records. The bar continues to get higher with the standard of horse racing, and an important cog in the racing machine is jockeys. These are the ten most popular jockeys of all time. For up-to-date information, check out the latest horse racing news.
An impressive career is still held by the late Bill Shoemaker. With eleven Triple Crown victories over his career as a jockey, Shoemaker has won many awards and prizes for his record breaks. Definitely one to watch during his time as a jockey, Shoemaker was impressive at constantly raising the bar for others to beat.
John R. Velazquez
Another talented American jockey is John R. Velazquez. Born in Puerto Rico, Velazquez has been named an outstanding jockey on multiple occasions and has been thoroughly rewarded for his efforts. Winning six Triple Crowns and earning a place in the horse racing hall of fame, this is an impressive career that lives up to the standard set by Shoemaker.
Mike E. Smith
Setting the record for the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown title in 2018 at 52, Mike Smith has won the most Breeder’s Cup races of any jockey and shows that age is just a number. Smith is a consistent demonstration of outstanding class and athleticism.
Known as the Robin Hood of the racing world, Dettori is a widely known Italian jockey with a bit of a rebellious streak. Making the headlines in 2012 for prohibited substances present in his system, the jockey has a highly successful career under his belt. Consistency and agility are some of his key strengths, and the UK-based jockey thrives as a part of the English culture.
Laffit Pincay Jr.
Many years after his retirement, Laffit Pincay Jr still holds many records thanks to his glowing career as a jockey. In spite of somewhat of a scandal within his personal life, Pincay’s career highlights excellent sportsmanship and has won many awards from it. His son continues to set the Pincay dynasty within the world of horse racing.
Another Triple Crown and Kentucky Derby winner is the Mexican jockey, Victor Espinoza. With a lot of his victories coming from the impressive combination of him riding American Pharaoh, Espinoza is a remarkable jockey who donates to charity and bounces back when faced with an injury. Espinoza has no children, and it will be a shame if his legacy does not live on.
Sir Anthony Peter McCoy
Horse riding is definitely in this jockey’s blood. McCoy has been named a champion jockey 20 times during his career and is interestingly a little taller than the average rider. Originally from Northern Ireland, McCoy’s record features many awards and victories during his prime. McCoy challenges stereotypes with his 5’10’’ build, which makes his career gains all the more impressive.
Kent Desormeaux is a hall of fame member who holds the record for the most races won in a single year in the United States. Growing up with a strong connection to the countryside, Desormeaux is another Kentucky Derby winner as well as the Belmont Stakes and Preakness Stakes. The French-speaking family has always stuck true to their roots, and Kent is no exception.
Nine-time Triple Crown winner and Eclipse Award winner, Pat Day spent his career defending the title as an all-time leading jockey in money earned. Day definitely has an impressive record for up-and-coming jockeys to strive towards. Not only has he made huge gains for American horse racing records, but the jockey set the standard for international quality of sportsmanship and horse racing discipline.
Garrett K. Gomez
Another sadly deceased member of the most popular jockeys is Garrett K. Gomez, who won two Eclipse Awards and thirteen Breeders’ Cup races during his career. Gomez had horse riding in his roots, as he watched his father from a young age and soon learned to follow suit. In spite of battling substance abuse, the jockey remains an impressive and highly popular addition to the horse racing scene.
Overall, horse racing is highly influential, and it is no wonder why more jockeys are striving to keep up with the record-breaking careers of their predecessors. The highly popular traditional sport is a favorite to many around the world, from regal influences to improved quality of media coverage allowing accurate betting odds. There is something for everyone, which is why jockeys can be so influential when determining a horse’s success. Generally smaller build than average, allowing the minimum weight that will risk slowing them down, jockeys must be disciplined, motivated, and self-aware in order to see career wins.
Many impressive careers within the jockey world have been seen historically, and it is definitely worth looking into the horse racing halls of fame. Influential figures within the last few decades have really helped shape the horse racing scene into what we know today. This is part of the reason why betting is so effective, as the odds are extremely high thanks to the ever-increasing popularity, and standard of racing.
A lot of the well-known jockeys have horse riding in their blood because they have grown up around the countryside or have parents who are interested in horses. That is one of the reasons why horse racing comes naturally to a lot of these individuals, as it is their heritage and something which they have grown up doing.