How Much Do Jockeys Get Paid? An In-Depth Look at Their Salaries and Bonuses

How Much Do Jockeys Get Paid? An In-Depth Look at Their Salaries and Bonuses

By Jamie Clark

Jockeys are really important in horse racing because their skill, how they plan their race, and how well they work with their horse can lead to winning or losing. They’re the main stars in this fast-paced sport, racing their horses with great skill. But even though horse racing seems glamorous, what jockeys earn can vary a lot. It depends on how experienced they are, how much money they win from races, and other things. This article will give you a closer look at what jockeys actually make, breaking down everything from their basic pay to the extra money they get from winning races and doing advertisements, to give you a full picture of how they make their money. You can also earn some money by betting on horse races online on your favorite horses and jockeys.

Understanding Jockey Salaries

Jockeys get paid in different ways, starting with something called a base salary, which is the basic amount some of them earn to start with. But, there’s a lot more to how much money they can make. New jockeys, called apprentices, usually don’t make as much money at first because they’re just starting out. On the other hand, experienced jockeys who have won a lot of races can make a lot more money for each race they ride in, and they also get a bigger share of the prize money when they win. This big difference in pay shows how important it is for jockeys to gain experience and win races if they want to earn more money.

Race Winnings and Prize Money

horse races

A lot of what jockeys make comes from the money they win in races, but how much they get can really change depending on the race and where it’s happening. Usually, jockeys get a certain part of the race’s total prize money, about 5% to 10% if they win, and a bit less if they come in second or third. This way, the better they do in races, the more money they can make. But, how much of the prize money they actually get can be different in each place because of the local rules, how big the race is, and deals they have with the people who own the horses they ride. For example, what a jockey makes from the Kentucky Derby in the US could be different from what they’d make at the Royal Ascot in the UK, showing how horse racing pays differently around the world.

Other Sources of Income

Apart from winning races, top jockeys can make more money in different ways like getting bonuses, working with brands, and showing up at special events. Bonuses can be for winning big races or meeting certain goals that the people who own the horses or the brands sponsoring them set. Working with brands, where jockeys help advertise products, is another way they can earn a lot, especially if they’re well-known and successful. Also, just being at events, on TV, or in shows can help them earn extra because they’re using their fame and knowledge of horse racing. All these extra ways of making money not only show how important they are in horse racing but also how they can attract attention and make money outside of racing. This lets the most popular and charming jockeys build up their earnings way more than just from race winnings, showing how their job is about more than just riding horses.

Factors Influencing Earnings

A few important things really affect how much money a jockey can make. First, if a jockey has a lot of experience and is known for being good, they get to race in bigger events and ride better horses, which means they can win more money and get better deals. The bigger and tougher the race, the more money there is to win, so being in those races can make a big difference in how much they earn. Also, if a jockey wins a lot, they become more appealing to the people who own the horses and the ones who train them, which also helps them make more money. Agents and managers play a big role too; they help jockeys get into these profitable races and talk about the best terms for them. These agents and managers work hard to make sure jockeys have the best chances to show what they can do and make as much money as possible from racing.

Comparing Earnings Across the Globe

How much jockeys make can really change depending on where they are in the world. In the United States, horse racing brings in a lot of money, so the top jockeys there can make millions every year just from winning races, plus more from deals with brands and showing up at events. But, in other places like some parts of Europe or Asia, where racing isn’t as big, jockeys might not make as much, even though they still do pretty well for where they are. Big races in the UK, Australia, and the UAE, like the Royal Ascot, the Melbourne Cup, and the Dubai World Cup, have huge prizes that can really help a jockey’s income, making these countries great places for the best jockeys to race. The jockeys who make the most money usually race in these big competitions, which shows that being really good and choosing the right places to race can make a big difference in how much they earn. This shows how different the horse racing world can be from one place to another, with where you race and the size of the racing scene there affecting how much money you can make.

The Challenges of the Profession

Being a jockey might seem exciting, but it’s actually really tough and can be risky. Jockeys have to keep their weight very low, which means they have to follow strict diets and exercise a lot, and this can be hard on their bodies. There’s also a big chance of getting hurt from falls or other accidents during races, which can be very serious and sometimes even life-threatening. These dangers can stop a jockey from racing, cut their career short, and make them earn less money. If they get injured, they miss out on races, which means they miss chances to win money, and they might not be seen as reliable by the people who hire them. Plus, getting back into racing shape after an injury can be mentally tough, which can also affect how well they do in races. Being a jockey means dealing with these risks and still pushing through, which shows just how strong and determined they have to be.


In our look into how much jockeys make, we found out that their pay can really vary. Things like their experience, how prestigious the races are, how often they win, and where they race all play a big part. Jockeys can earn money from different places, like their regular pay, winning races, deals with brands, and making appearances. However, being a jockey is tough and comes with risks like getting hurt, which can affect how long they can do their job and how much they earn. Being good at this job needs more than just being able to ride well; it also means making smart choices about their career. We’d love to hear what you think about jockey pay, so feel free to leave a comment. And if you’re keen to learn more about horse racing or careers in sports, signing up for our newsletter can give you lots of interesting info. Let’s keep talking about the interesting stuff that happens in horse racing behind the scenes.

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