Posted May 1, 2008 -- While the star of the Kentucky Derby are the horses, the driving force behind a horse finishing first or last are the jockeys. But what does it take to become a jockey? Here are 10 facts that you might not have known about the men and women riding the horses.
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1. The weights horses carry generally range from 112 to 126 pounds. That figure includes the jockey plus about 7 pounds of gear.
2. As a result, jockeys regularly induce vomiting, sit for extended times in steaming saunas and use diuretics, laxatives and stimulants in order to meet the weight requirements.
3. Jockeys are usually self employed and hired by the horse trainers to ride their horses.
4. Outside of the Top 100 jockeys, the average salary is $24,000 a year.
5. The word is by origin a diminutive of "jock", the Northern or Scots colloquial equivalent of the first name "John," which is also used generically for "boy, or fellow" (compare "Jack," "Dick"), at least since 1529.
6. Fifteen of the first 28 Kentucky Derby’s were won by Black jockeys.
7. The winningest jockey of all-time is Russell Baze, who has 10,118 career wins.
8. All jockeys are required to be licensed.
9. Jockeys aren’t allowed to bet on races they participate in.
10. Diane Crump became the first woman jockey to ride in a North America race in 1969.