Jockeys - The Television Series

According to a press release, Animal Planet is launching several new series including one entitled "Jockeys." The series is reality TV, with a "real world meets the equine industry" feel. I am actually really interested to see the first episode and to see how they will portray jockeys and the horse industry.

I think it could bring a lot of new fans to the horse industry in general, not just the Thoroughbred industry, which is good for us. There are a lot of positive opportunities that can be used to enhance the industry across the globe. Equine education is important, and this show has an opportunity to do just that.

I could see all kinds of advertising opportunities here as well. The show could promote racing events,  Breeders' Cup races, Rolex, and the 2010 World Equestrian Games that will be coming to the U.S. for the first time in history.

However, it could also put a bad spin on the industry and misrepresent the majority of the horse world, jockeys, or horses. If the show is purely entertainment driven, then the episodes will be edited to squeeze in the most possible. This means that editing for the shows might be doctored to appear differently than the actual events, in order to produce the feeling of drama. So viewers may not get a total honest view of what happens.

"Jockeys" will be worth watching at least the first episode in my mind. Why the first episode? To at least get a first feel for the show and to know what to expect. After reading the press release, it seems the new president of Animal Planet is set on altering content to be more engaging. So drama will be highlighted, I am sure. The "model girlfriends" described in the press release are an incentive for me and then we can get into the competition between jockeys to see how the brotherhood is handled.

It is scheduled to debut next spring, 2009.

"...Animal Planet brings viewers into a world dominated by ferocious rivalries, fierce bonds and extraordinary risk, ruled by short men with silk shirts, oversized personalities and big dreams...The series showcases the day-to-day competition where five-foot-tall jockeys weighing 115 lbs. fly down the track on 1,500lb. thoroughbreds."


Jockey's Official Page

How do you think this will affect the horse industry and is this something you will want to watch? What types of scenarios from the viewpoint of a jockey would interest you? Would you rather see the Jockey's personal or professional life style and events followed?


 UPDATE : Feb. 1st, 2009 - Read a more current post and review of the show here...


Leave a Comment:


I for one cant wait to watch it. being a jockey is something Ive dreamed of being since I was 6 and this is something im looking forward to

17 Apr 2008 7:42 PM

Of course I will watch the first ep but I can't imagine what is so unusual about a jockey's life that this will draw a crowd.  They are regular people who happen to make a living riding horses. Day to day living just can't be that exciting and not that many hit the big time.

17 Apr 2008 7:45 PM
needler in Virginia

I would love to see "Jockeys" as a true reality show, but as soon as the cameras roll, reality seems to go out the window. The Hennegan brothers got their reality by following the entourages of six Derby hopefuls for a long, long time. I understand the cameras were not intrusive, nor did it seem the various subjects... trainers, jockeys, hot walkers, grooms, etc..... "played" to the cameras because they had become a part of the barnscape. Let's hope Animal Planet can afford to take that kind of time and care to allow the "reality" show up. The concept is terrific, but I don't think the general public is aware of what amazing athletes these jockeys are. If AP gets that one single message across, they will have made a huge step towards making the public recognize the talent, athleticism and sheer nerve we get to see every time a starting gate opens.

Best of luck to Animal Planet on this quest; I just hope the series doesn't turn into another one of those yucky, pretentious, so-called "reality" shows. There's more than enough of THAT horse manure to cover Belmont already!

I'm with you, though; I WILL watch 'cause I'm still astonished at what these brave souls can do!!


17 Apr 2008 10:30 PM

Hopefully it will be positive, of course! if they're focusing mostly on male jockeys then they're gonna get fans off the bat.

I don't really know if I want fans from Animal Planet though because I imagine them as crazy cat ladies - the kind of people who go around calling their dogs their children and everything.

17 Apr 2008 11:02 PM

I'd be more interested in the jockey's professional life style. I'd like to see how a jockey develops a working relationship with individual horses as they often ride "race only" mounts.Also hope the show highlights the sacrifices jocks make to stay at the top of their game.

17 Apr 2008 11:03 PM
Teri L

' down the track on 1,500 lb. thoroughbreds.'?

 When have you ever seen a 1,500 lb. Thoroughbred? I seem to remember Point Given was considered a big horse at 1,200 lbs. And the breed name should be capitalized. These sorts of inaccuracies don't bode well  for this series.

18 Apr 2008 1:13 AM

As an avid watcher of many AP shows, I know they can do an outstanding job of creating terrific programs, so I'm really hoping they can pull this off.  I am a horseracing fan because I've always loved horses, but I'm a jockey fan because I believe they are such incredible athletes and have to have a special talent to be able to do what they do.  So far I haven't been too impressed with the new AP "reality" show about dog groomers, so I hope they don't turn this Jockeys show into something like that.  Years ago they did a great series called "Thoroughbred", I believe, which profiled Bonita Farms and it was wonderful, so I'll be sure to watch for this new show and hope for the best.

18 Apr 2008 9:56 AM
Dolores Marotta

Jockeys are, pound for pound, the best and most fearless athletes in the World. Getting back on a horse after surviving near death experiences during a race takes courage beyond measure. I'm looking forward to AP's portrayal of these magnificent men and women who are more than just riders.  

18 Apr 2008 1:14 PM

I would definitely watch it. I watch Animal Planet fairly often and they have improved a lot since the early days when it was mostly kid stuff and stupid pet videos. If they try to make it into a "reality" show or misrepresent the sport, then I won't keep watching, and it also won't hold my interest if it focuses too much on weight issues, etc. and not enough on horses and riding them. I'll definitely give it a try, though.

18 Apr 2008 1:17 PM
Dreamer's Mom

I just hope they chose wisely.  Guys like Valenzquela are not who we want for the general public to see.  I hope they show "Migs"(Migliore) or even young Tanner Riggs.  Good guys.  Good people.  Good horsemen because not all jocks are horsemen.  I hope they don't show too much of the hot box or flipping!  

18 Apr 2008 1:21 PM
Billy D.

I think as long as they don't edit the porgram in a way it distorts reality. It should be interesting hearing how jockeys argue after a race, about who got shut off in a race. The politics involved for example; one jock has to ride out of town so he tries to get a friend on his horse, so he can regain the mount later. In truth if they show how it really is, not anyone can do this and it's a lot harder to be a jockey than a nascar driver or football player (a sport I also love) because for one there are weight limits, politics with trainers, agents and owners and there's no "off" season. The most exciting part of it I would think is the hustling done in the morning, working horses, agents meeting in the track kitchen, deciding who rides what horses etc. All the 'bs' riders have to put up with "weight loss" the scale has to be most riders necessary enemy. I look forward to watching it as long as producers "keep it real."

18 Apr 2008 2:17 PM
Billy D.

I guess if the shows producers did show jockeys 'flipping' It would give new meaning to the phrase 'Flip your lid for Spectacular Bid' huh?!

18 Apr 2008 2:25 PM
crazy cat lady

I worry that Animal Planet may focus on what is conceived by the animal rights terrorists as cruelty to the horses, rather than the glorious sport of horse racing.  I hope instead that they will focus on the personalities of the jockeys and their relationship with the horses.  I'm sure, tho, that there will be lots of film of spills.

19 Apr 2008 4:34 PM
go for gin first derby winner

if handled right it can only be a positive thing for the industry. i would watch every time.    

19 Apr 2008 8:32 PM
needler in Virginia

Crazy Cat Lady, I agree. My favorites are those who say "well, you KNOW they have to beat the horses to make them run", WHAT?? Just today, Jerry Bailey was saying, on TV I might add, there was a horse whose rider was not allowed to even carry a stick as the horse stopped when tapped. Fair enough, but have any of these activists ever seen a field of horses just running, and racing each other, for the sheer fun of it? Probably not.

And, of course, the spills MUST be included to prove how mean and nasty racing folks really are. How many falls, bad steps, pulled muscles, broken appendages, torn ligaments, or twisted whatevers are shown when humans race each other?? While racing accidents are almost always catastrophic and we see that film loop in our heads long after the animal has been taken away, there are accidents in paddocks, barns, riding rings and every other damn place there are people and horses, and a LOT of times there are no people present AT ALL. An old irish vet once told me that all animals, including humans, have's just that "with horses the accidents are bigger." How right he was.

While this side of racing, while rotten and VERY unpleasant, is real and will always be with us, there are untold numbers of race horses who run safely and without injury, retire to the paddock or the breeding shed, and live long, lazy, contented lives.

WITH LUCK, Animal Planet will tell THAT story, too. I know this is a series on jockeys, but without the horses, the jockeys are simply shorter people looking for a job......NO INSULT INTENDED!

Cheers to all, and have a great weekend.

19 Apr 2008 9:58 PM
Ogalla Sue

Like others, I'm dying to know what group of jockeys (and at what track) they decide to follow.

Will it be a big track or small track? There are some really cool smaller tracks with neat (and completely capable) jockeys with awesome story lines. Kind of hope they do go to a smaller track. It's more reflective of the lives of the majority of riders.

However, there are some smaller tracks that would be embarassing and probably wind up being investigated after something like this. And they wouldn't be reflective of the industry as a whole, either.

Also am interested in the "past performance lines" of this producer/production crew's work. Have they done horse racing stuff? If so, are we talking more "Ruffian" movie on ESPN (barf!) or "Barbaro" on HBO (very nice). Big, big difference there.

PS - I agree with you guys on the 1,500 lbs comment. Somebody in the process is clueless (lets hope it's the marketing person).

20 Apr 2008 12:19 AM
Oglalla Sue

So, if it's a TRUE reality show, does this mean they'll interview the jockey jumpers?

Because THAT would be funny.

(I just don't know if Animal Planet is ready for that).

20 Apr 2008 12:23 AM

You guys don't get is not about the show or the content, it is about the fact that a network is actually funding original content around horse racing...if you haven't noticed the sport is dying, network ratings are for s*** and without TVG and HRTV no one would see any racing...Be thankful for animal planet, the production companies and anyone else who is willing to support our business, otherwise the only racing on TV you will be watching is the Hambletonian.

20 Apr 2008 4:27 PM

I for one will watch it. Animal Planet is one of my favorite channels. The fact they are giving attention to the racing industry is great. It could use some positive air time.

22 Apr 2008 12:34 PM

My wife works at animal planet and she said that the jockey show isnt officially picked up yet!!!

She said it is just in development and the network hasnt decided if they are going to do it. She said they often announce shows just in development to test the waters with advertisers.

I REALLY hope they make the show. Cant wait to watch.

23 Apr 2008 10:54 AM

Can you say Flop-perooni?

23 Apr 2008 12:51 PM

I think you should show the truth about the sport to show  what  jockey go  thu to make a living do not suger coat it may be more people  will under stand the sport  and repect  life of pro jockey it is tough job to have  

23 Apr 2008 5:16 PM

There are so many ways that this show can go. I hope they focus on the way jockeys have to handle themselves in relations to the trainer, owner, agent and horse. Check out my site at

23 Apr 2008 5:29 PM

They started filming yesterday at Fairplex, and will go to Oak Tree at Santa Anita for a month. The jockeys are Garret Gomez, Alex Solis, Aaron Gryder, Joe Talamo, Mike Smith, Chantal Sutherland, and Jon Court. They are reportedly looking for drama and controversy.

22 Sep 2008 6:21 PM
Donna J

I can hardly wait for this show. Im a huge racing fan, i think jockeys are among the best athletes in the world, they are under appreciated for the sacrifices they make for this wonderful sport. i will not miss 1 min of this show. thank you ,ap

30 Oct 2008 5:32 PM

As an equestrian myself and living trackside throughout college, I am very excited to this series to air on Animal Planet. There is a lot more to horse racing than people see through the news or on tv and at races. Jockeys are amazing athletes and I'm excited for the world to see this!

22 Dec 2008 3:44 PM

This could be an interesting series.  I know one thing a jockey is the only athlete I know of who has an ambulance following them around the playing field.

24 Dec 2008 6:54 AM

I find the remarks that Animal Planet viewers are crazy cat ladies who think jockeys beat horses to make them run offensive.

Everyone who watches AP is NOT a PETA Freak with no clue.

I have cats, I call them my children and I've been around horses including TB race horses most of my life and I've been a racing fan since before Secretariat and I watch Animal Planet.

I think any equestrian sport/show on TV is good for all.

25 Dec 2008 2:22 PM

Animal Planet did very good "reality"shows on meerkats and orangutans. When you figure how many times a day a jockey races around the track balanced on their toes atop a horse, knowing that a stumble or sudden unplanned zigzag could mean injury or death. That makes jockeys among the bravest people on this planet.  One horse got me back watching racing everyday and if the show is good I'm sure that this sport,warts and all will gain supportive fans from this show

28 Dec 2008 4:30 PM

Iam so excited to see this show, because my father-in-law was a small time trainer for 60 years and supported a wife and 3 children doing it. He loved everyday doing this and so do the jockeys,they are hard workers riding everyday. And they really do love the animals and the sport. I to hope they show everything all around with this whole sport good and bad,which happens in more that just this sport.And I am the last person to want to see any animal on earth harmed.I also own a horse do self-care and love doing everyday. Good luck to the show.      

01 Jan 2009 8:45 AM
Exercise rider

Jockeys *are* amazingly fit.  Some of them love horses and some of them are jockeys because they are the right size and don't know what else they'd do.  Some are decent human beings, others are not. Many, if not all, of the equestrian sports have extreme cases of neglect and abuse as well as extreme cases of love and care and everything in between. I don't think that the show will do much for the industry simply because of the nature of our society.  Horse racing was fascinating when people interacted with horses more; when people relied on them as a form a transportation.  Now NASCAR racing is much more interesting to the general public.  I also fear that we will get a skewed view because the jockeys will not be behaving as they usually do - this will be their moment in the sun.  Even the best known jockey is a nobody compared to a great quarterback. I must sound quite cynical but I work with these people everyday.  I'm an exercise rider and have been for the past 10 years, but I have another career so it keeps me from getting too close. The racing world is different than so much of the rest of the world.  Sexual harassment is commonplace and ignored.  Everyone knows who the drug dealers are and it is ignored.  I can't imagine we will get to watch anyone on the show getting busted for drugs, can any of you?  ha! Then it'd be more like an episode of cops!

26 Jan 2009 11:46 AM
paula fogle ex jockey

I heard just the other day about the reality show on animal planet. I know there are some good people on the track, and Jockeys have a rough time keeping safe at all times.There is alot of heartache that goes along with racing and alot of happy times. I wont be watching the series at all though, I lived through 20 years of the racing industry and have seen every bit of each side of racing. I always hope the best for the racing industry, but I lived through too much in my 20 years to see anymore of it at this point in my life. I was a jockey for 12 years of my 20 on track, and have alot of good memories along with sad, emotionally and physically draining sport for a jockey. But good watching for people who do not know anything about the sport..

26 Jan 2009 7:36 PM
Kathy - Lifelong horse lover

    I for one, am looking forward to the upcoming series, "Jockeys" on Animal Planet.  I have always loved horses.   My first horse was 1/2 Thoroughbred mare.  I love horse racing, and was able to see Santa Anita track, from the "Shed row"...   My sister was an Exercise Jockey, and showed me around,and introduced me to some of the Jockeys.   I will remember that experience for the rest of my life!   Hope that AP's new series will be as interesting as my real life visit.  

29 Jan 2009 4:02 PM

cant wait to see it. Jockeys are such amazing athletes along with the great horses that carry them. iv done some amature racing with my thourobred quarterhorse mare and loved it however i would have to admit it is very scarry taking corners that fast, and leaned so far. ill stick to barrelracing, (what im good at.)

29 Jan 2009 7:20 PM

I cannot wait to see this show, as I love horse racing and admire and respect jockeys for the amazing athletes that they are.  That being said, I have zero respect for "reality shows", most of them are the worst garbage ever shown on tv.  I hope this show is better than that.

02 Feb 2009 9:20 PM

I think this will be my new favorite show. I wanna become a jockey! I just don't have enough time cause of school and all :-( parents have high expectations for me, and riding horses for a living is out of the question.

05 Feb 2009 10:43 PM
Nola Ross

got to be one of my favorites shows.  I don't even look to see what else is on when it was on.  I don't find enough interest in horseracing, and I think I live and breathe to see something about it.  until I became interested, I never knew what all it was about.  Now I can reconize most horses of the past.  oh, I love Jockeys.  most dangerous sport in the world.  not enough people understand that.  great show, looking forward to it coming back on tv.

04 Apr 2009 2:20 PM

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