A Jockey’s Viewpoint

Michelle took some time to track down jockey Alex Canchari and asked him about MARYJEAN’s race.

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2 thoughts on “A Jockey’s Viewpoint

  1. Thanks Ted and Michelle for the video with Alex. I always want to ask more questions so here I go…

    How did 20 yoa Alex decide he wanted to be a jockey and how does a jockey get his start and make his connections with an agent and with a trainer? What is his personal fitness training like and his diet and does he ever get afraid of having a serious accident? I often see the jockeys make the sign of the cross during the post parade. I’ve heard that it’s almost impossible or cost prohibitive for a jockey to get health insurance/disability insurance/life insurance….so what makes a young man or woman want to choose being a jockey as a career when it’s such a dangerous sport and there’s no health care benefits or company sponsored pension plans? I also assume they don’t pay into Social Security or Medicare so what is their motivation and dedication to the sport that keeps them going? How much money do they make a year? How does being a jockey affect their personal and family life? I’m sure that if they’re always traveling from race track to race track across the country it must be hard to form personal relationships and keep in touch with family. Which also brings up the question of where do they live when they’re racing at a particular track and how does it feel to have ‘no roots’ and no possessions and to be constantly moving from one track to another every year? Alot of questions I know but thanks for trying to answer them all for me…. Kathy

    • There is a lot there that I cannot answer since it is very specific and personal to Alex but here are some generalities:

      There are as many different ways to get into race riding as there are to get into any profession. There are some that are born into it, some start in different horse disciplines and make their way into racing. Alex comes from a racing family – his dad being a trainer and his brother being a jockey as well.

      Like any professional athlete, jockeys have their own training methods consisting of cardio and strength work. Jockeys also have the additional burden of keeping their weight low and some are naturally light while some have a more difficult time in keeping their weight low and have to be VERY conscious of diet.

      Jockeys get a mount fee that can vary greatly between racetracks. Some tracks can be as low as $55 where some can be as high as $185 per race. Jockeys get 10% of the winners share of the purse so jocks that can win a lot of races can make a lot of money. In today’s two stakes, for example, the purses are $75,000. That means the winning horse will earn $45,000 and the winning jock will pick up $4500 for the race.

      As independent contractors in a risky profession it is hard to get insurance and the risk of injury is very real. On June 29 there will be a kickoff fundraiser at Canterbury for a fund that is going to be set up to specifically benefit Canterbury jockeys that are injured while riding. There will be all kinds of activities including a silent auction. I encourage all of you to check it out and help in any way that you can.

      As far as the affects on personal life, I’m sure that varies between individuals and families. I hope that this helps to some degree.

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