Report: Earnings Are Feast Or Famine For Jockeys, And Most Are Struggling

A report published by Thoroughbred Racing Commentary last week endeavored to answer the question: Just how much do jockeys make every year?

A rider’s career summary typically includes the cumulative earnings of their mounts, but a jockey’s takeout of the purse varies slightly depending on the value of the race and location. In most places, riders earn a percentage of their mount’s earnings if they hit the board. Placing fourth or worse usually results in a mount fee of $50 to $110.

Writer Paul von Hippel estimates jockey incomes follow the 80/20 rule — meaning 20 percent of riders take 80 percent of the available income. His estimates suggest in 2017, half of U.S. riders likely made less than $12,000. The top 10 percent of riders likely took home six figures.

Von Hippel writes this disparity is nothing new — famed jockey Eddie Arcaro pointed it out in a 1957 interview with journalist Mike Wallace.

Read more at Thoroughbred Racing Commentary

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