The Top Jockeys In History

Jockeys are key figures when it comes to successful horse racing. It takes skill, technique and master ship to be a great jockey. However, the best jockeys can also be measured for their success i.e. previous races won and the amount of money they actually managed to amass within their career. That is something we should consider too, when looking at the top jockeys. With all that in mind, we have decided to collate all that information together, to create a list of jockeys, that we are certain have made the history book, and will very much end up being there for a very long time!

If you are looking to keep up to all the best jockeys of our time at the moment, Sportsbet is the best place for that. They have all the predictions and odds of how the breeds of horses will perform in tournaments like the Melbourne Cup for example.

Bill Shoemaker

Bill Shoemaker does not need any introduction we are sure. Born in the year 1931, this jockey has managed to rake in a total of $123.3 million in his career and time horse racing. Winning a total of 11 Triple Crown Wins, he has a career strike rate of over the 21% mark. There is no need to say that he is average, because his statistics and actual video footage of that time prove otherwise. He definitely is skilled at the sportsmanship behind horse racing and for that reason he has a permanent position within the National Museum of Racing Museum and Hall of Fame within the US. 

Bill managed to not only win the US Jockey over five times during a decade (the 1950’s), he also earned the highest salary out of all jockeys, once he actually retired. Private investments and brand endorsements meant that he was promised and exceptional retirement for himself once he laid his saddle to rest. He was definitely a champion, there is no doubt about it.

Lester Piggott

Lester Piggott is known for getting great amounts of success within the UK and Irish regions of the world. Of course, he was well-known internationally, however the Brits definitely took a particular liking to him. Especially since he won many races within the region of the UK too. With over 30 British Classics firmly claimed and placed in his cabinet, he also has the UK Triple Crown from 1970. He managed to work with horses that are known to be of the best breeds within all of Europe combined, for the entire four decades that his career had lasted through.

Even one of the most famous horse race awards ‘the Lesters’ was named after him, in honour of his talent and everything that he brought to the modern sport. With all the wins that he had accumulated (over $96 million), he is known to be one of the greatest riders within all of the Epsom Derby records. Some of the records that he has set, which still has not been defeated until today include, the most Ascot Gold Cup victories (11 in total), 10 Dewhurst Stakes, 9 Coronation Cups and many, many more to highlight his career!

John Velazquez

John Velazquez is a jockey that has claimed the most money in history for his winnings and salary. It has been estimated that in total, he has managed to reel in around $415.6 million from winnings and other private brand endorsements etc. Winning over 6000 races does explain as to why he was able to earn so much though, that is for sure. In addition to this he is very much active currently for racing, meaning his winnings will of course only increase by the time he has retired. It has been said that he is still after winning the Triple Crown from the USA to add to his collection. That is something he wishes to do, before the end of his career.

The most famous racehorses he has raced with are the Kitten’s Joy and Scat Daddy. These two horses have massively influenced the thoroughbreds throughout racing, since their success. Many jockeys wanted to imitate a legend and still ongoing legend such as John Velazquez.

Sir Gordon Richards 

Sir Gordon Richards is another famous individual. He is on the list of legendary racers, as not many can retire and walk away with a 26-time champion record, can they? All the records that Richards has set, have yet to be broken. Even though he is not so big within the British classical competitions, he still has created a name for himself that has spread internationally. Once he retired, he made sure to pass on the knowledge and skill, by opening his own stables and riding school for youths that want to get into the sport, located within the Lake District Cumbria. 

The largely known horse partnerships that Richards had in his career are Sun Chariot and Tudor Minstrel. These two breeds definitely made the 1940’s a very successful decade for Richards.

Mike Smith

Mike proved to all the riders out there that age is just a number when it comes to performing well in horse racing. During 2018 at the age of 52, he managed to win the US Triple Crown. Until today he remains firm on how that was actually the highlight of his career and very special to him. Especially as he did actually retire after securing that victory. It definitely was a historical moment for horse racing in general and allowed Smith to finish his career with a blast in the media and history books.

He also is one of the wealthiest to come out of this sport too. From all the races that he has managed to secure the win for, they too have also handsomely paid him too. With over $328.3 million in his pocket, and setting a record for the best American Grade 1 to date, he retired with a healthy wallet and surpassed Jerry Baileys records previously.

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