Video courtesy of Animal Planet.

[brightcove videoid="9472367001"]

You KNOW a show is going to be good when the trailer and the show opens with Daft Punk's Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger. (Though it is a resample for Kanye West's song Stronger)

Animal Planet is releasing a new entertaining show that is capturing the attention of the equine industry, and honestly worried me in how they would portray horse racing. Especially with the TV commercials and show lead-ins/pre-reels seemingly highlighting some of the horse falls. In reality, after Animal Planet allowed me to watch the first two episodes I was pleasantly surprised.

When I first wrote about Jockeys in April of 2008, I was picturing a show containing lots of breakdowns and negative track drama, but it was beyond my expectations and not the barrage of tragedies that I was thinking would be shown to the audience.

Drama is definitely played up, but the only thing I found annoying was one of the non-jockey characters. The first two episodes of the show are entertaining and pleasantly educational. I think the common race fan and the people who have no idea about the race industry will learn a fair amount about the industry.

The show has an narrator who is very good about filling in information, educating the audience and furthering stories along. The narrator explains in the two spills I saw that the horse was not injured. Some of the narrator's educational material held terms, statistics, and definitions. For example explaining how horses out of the gate travel "0 to 40 in 2.5 seconds."

The overlying premise of the show seems to be racing leading up to the 2008 Breeders' Cup.

Follow family life and behind the scene lives of the jockeys as you actually venture into their homes and meet their families. The show holds honest reflections of the jockeys, much like any reality setting where there are individual side interviews. Aaron Gryder, Chantel Sutherland and Kayla Stra are a few of the jockeys you get to know. I was particularly intrigued by Kayla's quest to get a start in the industry after arriving from Australia. So her back story from a beginner's point of view is interesting. Jockeys gives interviews with a serious handicapper who explained the exciting gambling aspect in a positive way.

The featured races with these jockeys revealed some creative presentations, which reminded me of a video game. The jockeys were given still shots with neat treatment displaying stats, silks, colors, names, and info on the horses while being escorted to the gate for the races. Though brief this stat still is very effective. Some of the races involved are the Ralph M. Hinds Handicap and the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita.

There are some good hooks to keep you interested between commercial breaks, such as trivia questions aimed at those who have been involved in the industry, which was nice to see.

Overall, the show has done a great job picking a variety of personalities to cover, from many varying spectrum's of life and career. The show covers how horses naturally enjoy racing and comepeting. Most of my concerns have been put in a more relaxed state and I enjoyed watching these two episodes.

You have been seeing the commercials for a few weeks now. It is time to see the new show that is capturing the attention of the equine industry.

My hope is it will draw new or previously uninterested people to the industry. I am fully aware that the show will hold lots of drama, a few breakdowns and negative parts of the industry, but I'm hopeful that it will focus more on the beautiful. I think it will provide more insight into the true track life that jockeys and people in the industry experience; they will be shown in a way to grow respect.

If you read through the past posts mentioning this show, Jockeys has stirred a lot of emotions. Many people are excited to see these great athletes in action, other people are not wanting to see the show for concerns about it's portrayal of the industry, but most are looking and hoping for something to help boost our industry. Many people will be turning in to see the first episode and judge from there.

Darrell Haire, West Coat Regional Manager of the Jockeys' Guild, has been involved with the show in some form as well.

Are YOU going to watch, and if so what are you watching for?

Daft Punk - Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.mp3 - Daft Punk

A quick shout out to Fitzaslew for finishing second in his race today. And good luck to Einstein and Arson Squad in the Donn.

And one of my early Derby picks from last year won, thanks Captain!

A quick thank you to the blog Saratoga Seen on for a mention to my blog and our site.


Leave a Comment:


Adam I went to the website and they will e-mail you when you want to be reminded of a certain episode. I thought that was neat so I got a heads up for the show.

30 Jan 2009 5:00 PM

I've already seen the first two episodes and find myself making more negative comments than positive. I'm watching for the truth, and expectedly find myself disappointed. There are factual errors and deceptive editing. Have fun with it, but take it with a very large grain of salt, just like any "reality" show.

The song is "Stronger" by Kanye West, accompanied by a beautiful but staged race.

30 Jan 2009 5:24 PM
Karen in Indiana

Thanks for the info. I had the same fears about what they were going to do with this, but it sounds like they are doing 'real' reality instead of Hollywood reality.

30 Jan 2009 7:18 PM

I am definently going to watch. I too have some fears of how they will portray the downside of racing but they are outweighed by my excitement over a show about racing. I think jockeys are the most under-rated athletes in the world and hope this show will bring their awesomeness to the public's attention and get them (and racing)some new fans. I am looking forward to it! The show that will be the lead in to the first episode is "Untamed and Uncut" (a show about animal related traumas caught on tape) which will apparently devote an episode to horse racing, I am worried about that show more than Jockeys for an ugly look at racing, but I will watch anyway. Breakdowns are an unfortunate part of the sport and the awareness that they can happen at any time to anyone is part of what makes racing and jockeys so special, I am aware that people and horses can die every time I watch and it is so great when everyone comes back safe(which most of the time they do) but the courage shown by jockeys is unmatched in sport and in most walks of life. I am so pleased with Animal Planet for doing this!

30 Jan 2009 7:30 PM
Abbie Knowles

Maybe i ought to see if I can get animal Plnet on Sky to watch "Jockeys." Actually would enjoy Animal Planet given how much i love animals!  Do (in the Christian sense) love most people and get on with the majority but some are just so difficult that i fail no matter how hard i try; whereas i have never had a long term problem with an animal!

Enjoyed this blog(still do not like that word - so ugly!) very much and hope Jockeys does give racing a needed lift and improve it's image.  Have heard of and really like Mike Smith and Alex Solis.  Not familiar with the others as i am from the UK but am sure they are lovely.  

My favourite jockey (now a trainer) has been, since the early 1980's, the great but very underrated Cash Asmussen (no Hall of Fame nomination or anything!) who i believe can ride rings round almost anyone!  Glad he chose to ride in Europe and having met him can say he is charming!  He was certainly nicer to me than Steve Cauthen was and when i wrote to both it was only Cash who wrote back and he has stayed in touch ever since 1989 by card or by sending a lovely Christmas card with great photos of his lovely family and animals for the last 5 years!   Hope he does extremely well as a Trainer!!!!  Go for it Cash!!!!!

OOOPs I have digressed!  Am very good at that!!!!  Well done Fitzaslew and Captain Candymam Can.  The latter looks lovely in the photo of him winning The Hutcheson!

Am up to Luke and R2 setting off to see Yoda in "JEDI".  Glad that Jabba the horrible I mean Hut met the end he deseved. YUK!  A totally vile creature!  George Lucas has some imagination! He must have coming up with all those ghastly looking creatures in fact!  Some reminded me of aliens that appeared in another fav Sci Fi programme Star Trek Next Generation!  My computer is named after Data!!!!  Yes well i have completely digressed yet again so had better close now!

God Bless

Best wishes


30 Jan 2009 8:15 PM
Abbie Knowles

Forgot to say that i am praying for Kentucky after that horrendous ice storm that has caused a state of emergency. Hope there are no fatalaties.  It sounds horrid judging from the article on Bloodhorse website about how the Stud farms are coping with the power cuts.  Sympathy will not help i know, but all those affected, particularly those without power, have mine and are assured of my prayers.

God Bless

Best wishes


30 Jan 2009 8:31 PM

I went to the website and watched the clips. I am pretty excited. Sad that I am in Japan and can't watch it properly, but my father is taping it for me back in the states and I can be rather internet savy when I need an entertainment fix. But it looks really good. First reality show I have ever had an interest in. Though the whole "from the producers of Laguna Beach" didn't really excite me much....ahem.

I just hope the Jocks come off better than most people on "reality" shows do. But at least these guys are really working and not all locked up in some house or working at fake jobs like most reality shows. Hopefully the REALITY of this reality show will make a strong impression on new comers. And get them to travel to a near by track!

30 Jan 2009 8:48 PM

Thanks to everyone's varying points of view and insight.

I naturally assume people will take the show with a grain of salt, by now I think people know it isn't quite true reality with these things.

As far as Kanye...he samples the originators of his music in this song, Daft Punk.

31 Jan 2009 12:50 AM

Thanks for your insight after seeing a couple of epiosdes, Adam.  I have seen the promos and have been hoping it would be a good show, inspiring people to watch racing, but with the spills highlighted in the short pieces shown, I was apprehensive.  You have made it a little easier for me to look forward to watching.  Thanks!

31 Jan 2009 10:10 AM
Dreamer's Mom

I am, unfortunately, one of those folks that still live in the dark ages and do not have cable-yet, two coupons for converter boxes at my house-so will not be able to see the show, but I love the print ad!  The helmet in the flying hooves-WOW!!!!  Just thankful none of the jocks where I race are featured!  I'm afraid PG-13 would not even come close!

31 Jan 2009 9:58 PM
Abbie Knowles

Enjoyed the video- minus sound as Data does not do that!- lovely shots of Zenyatta!  Great photography.  Jockeys sound good from what you said Adam; so maybe i should contact Sky and get Discovery channel added to my package so i can watch it!

God Bless

Best wishes


01 Feb 2009 7:48 PM
Abbie Knowles

Have got the Knowledge mix so can watch Animal Planet which will be good, not just for "Jockeys", but am sure i will find other interesting documentaries there, and probably also on the likes of National Geographic et al.  

It will also stop me just using Sky to watch At The Races!!!!!

God Bless

Best wishes


02 Feb 2009 6:19 AM

Does anyone know if episodes will be hosted on Animal Planet's website, or somewhere like after airing?

03 Feb 2009 10:19 AM
Abbie Knowles

Went through the schedule for Friday but could not find Jockeys, so maybe it is not been shown over here or maybe I looked it up wrong which is entirely possible.

No matter i am enjoyig several of the shows on Animal Planet and also The Dog Whisperer on National Geographic but cannot figure out why it should be on National Geographic???

Hope everyone enjoys Jockeys and that the show does the Racing Industry some good!

God Bless

Best wishes


03 Feb 2009 7:47 PM

I'm looking forward to the show immensely now. I do feel they need to show all, the good and the bad. If it is done right, it should be a good thing for the industry. Hopefully people that only heard the bad publicity over the past few years, will grow to understand the different aspects of this sport. It will never be black & white, right or wrong, but maybe the sport will be seen in a better light now. I love this sport, the people (most of them) and the horses, and the thrill of it all.

03 Feb 2009 11:17 PM

My good friend Claire Novak has a blog about her thoughts on Jockeys, it can be found here:

04 Feb 2009 8:32 AM

Thanks for the heads-up that the horses are not injured..when I watched the promo clips I just told my husband I wasn't going to watch...television is my escape, not a venue to the realities of catastrophic breakdowns..I'm still going to email the show to see if they have an episode with a breakdown, because I'm not, I'm not a baby...real life has enough challenges without my looking for it on tv as "entertainment"...I didn't watch the movie "Ruffian" either...I saw the real thing...

04 Feb 2009 11:11 AM

Hmmm, Ms Novak says the breakdowns are seen from afar and shouldn't bother any but the squeamish...

04 Feb 2009 12:13 PM
Abbie Knowles

Really enjoyed Claire Novak's blog (but can find no sign of Jockeys on our Animal Planet listings. Did find Horsetails though so will watch that Sunday morning) and am delighted to find another fan of The Black Stallion books.  Not sure whether it was them, Dahlia or Seattle Slew who chiefly fired my longtime interest in US racing but they certainly helped!!!!  The Black Stallion books are still among my very favourite books!  A great read!  Loved the two films as well!

I enjoyed other articles on NTRA too; it is a site I spent a lot of time on last year as it had a blog site dedicated to my favorite racehorse of 2008 and 2nd favourite filly/mare of all time the great and exceptionally feisty Rags to Riches!  Dahlia was much the same in a different way!  She was reputedly very difficult to control on the gallops at times apparently, but whether or not she liked to take chunks out of people or kick them a la "Rags" I cannot remember.  Don't think so! Think she was just a handful when ridden, "bucking and going completely mad at times" according to her trainer Maurice Zilber! Must go through my old scrapbooks that i kept as a teenager and look up the cuttings and photos of her and my many other favourites!

Which has nothing to do with jockeys and is yet another digression (by Seattle Slew!).

Besides I am probably about to burn my dinner so will close now.

God Bless

Best Wishes


04 Feb 2009 2:47 PM
Abbie Knowles

Just read 2008 0r 1999. Very good article and interesting comments.  Quite agree yet another photo of Frankie doing a flying dismount is probably not a good choice for the winner.  It's a great photo and i am a big fan of Frankie Dettori but his flying dismount is a very common sight!  

An Irish jockey riding at Cheltenham did a flying remount, when nearly falling off his horse and having both legs on the same side of her but he somehow scrambled back on board.  The jockey in question, Barry Geraghty, had had two earlier falls and obviously did not wish to hit the ground a third time! A brilliant piece of riding and at speed!!!!!!  Not sure if anyone got a photo but it made great TV viewing and for those who saw it happen live it must have been something else!  Our Jump jockeys are incredible and sure yours are too!  So are the brave horses of course!!!

Loved the photo of the horses racing against the background of the mountains with the rainbow. A good combination and i always love to see a rainbow anywhere! I always enjoy all the photos on and do not think i could pick one out even off just that website!  Always difficult to judge a competition like that but you would have to give them nil points for originality!

Maverick (my keyboard) and i are going to fall out in a minute as he is not doing what i tell him!!!!  Some of his keys are a little stiff and I do think he has a mind of his own and types words I have not! When I first got him he was awful but he is better now! Checking is essential though!!!!  Though as you have noticed mistakes slip through!

God Bless

Best wishes


04 Feb 2009 7:49 PM
Abbie Knowles

As you like Indygo Shiner thought you might be interested to know that his son My Indy won the second leg of the Maktoum Challenge today following his already impressive win of the first!  My Indy had to work harder today with both Happy Boy and Asiatic Boy making him fight for it but he rose to the occasion magnificently and looked to win a shade cosily. Mind you he is one of my favorites of the current Godolphin horses along with Music Note and Cocoa Beach so may be biased! I was certainly being loud and cheered him home very enthusiastically! (My poor neighbors and animals were getting a tad deafened!) He did look to be puling clear close home though, having taken a while to get past Asiatic Boy! Frankie rode him beautifully though and there ws no tail swishing today so hopefully no more crabbing of his temperament!  

i worked at Timeform House, (Horse Racing Publishers and The Punter's Friend) in their Editorial Office in 1980 to 1983 and they give horses squiggles or double squiggles if they think they are ungenuine.  Never liked that and thought they should rate the people not the horses with them.  There are all sorts of reasons why a horse may not run up to form;and it is not necessarily that he/she is ungenuine or a rogue!

But the rest riding performance of the day was from the UAE apprentice Ahmed Ajtebi who bought the rehally bred (Singspiel - Kazzia (who won the Epsom Oaks for Godolphin among other races!

Eastern Anthem was brought with a swooping late run up the inside, coming from last to first and getting up close home to win going away!  Ahmed Ajtebi has now won 4 races at The Dubai Carnival on Third Set using similar tactics, on Gravitas and making all on Gladiatorious.  He seems sporting and pleasant and undoubtedly horses run for him.  Happy Boy had been very disappointing since winning a leg of the Maktoum Challenge last year but he was back on song today and think Ahmed had a lot to do with that. If there is a better apprentice riding in the world today i have yet to see him/her!

Hatta Fort won for Godolphin too and he will be familiar to US racegoers. Also Fernando Jara won on the very impressive Reem by Dalakhani!  So American interest there.  Fernando Jara was brilliant on Invasor wasn't he?

Sheikh Hamden also had a winner called Snaafy by Kingmambo!

I was more than happy with all the results at Nad al Sheba and am looking forward to My Indy possibly running in the Godolphin Mile. They have reservations about him staying the trip in the Dubai World Cup!

Good racing from Nad al Sheba  tomorrow too!  Do you ever get the chance to watch it?

Sorry about the muddled first comment. If I do not check them very carefully all sorts of errors are there and I had not checked that at all, at the point I mistakenly submitted it!

We are now badly affected by snow with traffic problems, road closures and basically everything grinding to a halt!  Even the postmen got sent home today and the dustbinmen never came so there is rubbish everywhere! It is the pretty, powdery snow which is ok for walking so Harley and i are fine but very disruptive for traveling by car; my Sister and her family cannot at the moment get out of the Village where they live!

I like the snow but not the disruption it causes!

God Bless

Best wishes



05 Feb 2009 3:34 PM

I've been surfing around some and have been given a few other blogs that have put their thoughts on the show out for us to read. Nothing as early as my April 2008 review though =)

A couple come from our friends at the TBA:

06 Feb 2009 8:40 AM
Abbie Knowles

The other blogsites are interesting and Jockeys does sound a good show!  However think it must have been replaced with something Britsh over here which is rather annoying!!!!  Especially as the lady I spoke at Sky when i asked for the Discovery Package said it would be on over here! She did seem the sort that was trying to get the phone call over rather than be helpful though!

Had the opposite experience this morning when my satellite signal went and the TV therefore would not work.  The lady i spoke to at Sky could not have been more helpful and tried to sort the problem out before coming to the conclusion it was snow on the satellite dish that was causing the lack of signal.  Conditions were blizzardous at the time!!! (we have 6 inches to a foot of snow and chaos is the word! It is the worst it has been here since 1963 apparently and reminds me of what it used to be like in Yorkshire where i lived until i was 22)) I have digressed as usual.  In fact this is totally irrelevant!!! The lady at Sky felt once the snow melted the signal would then come back which it did!  So ATR is on and  I am awaiting the next race at Nad al Sheba!

Asset and Frankie have already won impressively for Godolphin amidst much cheering!  Mike de Kock's (Brilliant trainer who seems pleasant) Diana's Choice won the first race.

Equally thrilling for me was my old friend The Tatling (12 years young!) winning his 14th race at Southwell!!!  He has won over £650,000 and 2 Group 2 races in his time.  His trainer Milton Bradley adores him and rightly will not allow him to be knocked about so it was a mainly hands and heels ride!

Have no objection to the whip if it is used correctly.  That is as a last resort!  The whip is an artificial aid to be used only when the natural aids of hands, heels, seat and voice have failed.  And then in moderation rather than used to whip the living daylights out of a horse or as a windmill!  Sometimes a horse needs a tap or two. I have ridden horses who would not go from trot to canter without a flick from the dressage whip or a tap behind the saddle!  Some would give a slight buck of protest even then too!  But no one wants to see them walloped unmercilessly and it gives the sport a bad image.  

In the UK the whip laws are very strict and young jockeys are sent to racing schools to learn how to use the whip properly. There are even hands and heels only races which are a very good thing!

I am hoping that Romans Run keeps the race he has just so bravely won for Doug Watson and Fernando Jara in Dubai.  Romans Run is a son of Tiznow.  He looks quite like him and races with the same courage. He was passed and looked beaten but fought back to be in front again at the winning post. But he did impede a runner behind him ever so slightly and the official result has not been given.  The horse in question, Jack Junior, looked beaten at the time and not as though he would have troubled Romans Run. So hopefully he will keep the race!  He has, at 20/1!!!  I can select winners easily but not if I put money on them.  Then they lose!!!

Well i hope everyone enjoys Jockeys (I'd better be a bit relevant!) and that it proves a helpful show for the industry!

Now going to cheer Godolphin's Alexandros on!  My animals are reaching for their ear plugs!!!!

God Bless

Best wishes


06 Feb 2009 11:57 AM
Daniel Hufnagel

Saw the show Jockeys on Animal Planet. An interesting life they have. Certainly, Chantel Sutherland captured my attention. What an absolute beautiful woman she is... a true rare breed.

07 Feb 2009 9:13 AM

I watched the show. I did notice the race calling included jockey names (voiceover)... because it is about jockeys.  

It was informative and entertaining.

I was disappointed that JOCKEYS was followed by a show highlighting horse racing disasters and spills. Factual, yes... but too negative in a time when horse racing needs to be broadening the fan base.

JOCKEYS was positive, however, the following show undermined it for me.

07 Feb 2009 9:46 AM
Abbie Knowles

I hope everyone enjoyed Jockeys!  I have been enjoying my favourite horses winning!!!!

Wow my favourite horses have certainly excelled themselves today in the US.  

Firstly, Diamond Tycoon was a favourite of mine when he raced over here in the UK; so the fact he has now won his first Stakes race is just great!

Tapit's daughter War Echo (Pyro's 3/4 sister) is obviously another favourite; was so thrilled she won readily and impressed her connections!  She looks lovely judging from her photo, although does sound fizzy to say the least!!!

Friesan Fire sounds to have blitzed his rivals to win impressively. It goes without saying that I would love him to win the Kentucky Derby for A P Indy and Larry Jones!  

Then my adored Stardom Bound winning her 4th Grade 1!  What a filly she is!!!!

Just waiting to find out how Shafted and I Want Revenge got on; also Well Armed and Champs Elysee!  But am so happy about the aforementioned four!!!!  They have made my weekend!!!!

Just printing off the photos I took in the snow today, on the walk Harley and i took over to Lower Slaughter!  A very beautiful walk but very cold!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! However the photos have come out pleasingly! Still 6 more to print off!

Have been enjoying your archived articles, Adam, especially the ones about the horses, for example Alysheba and co and Wild Again!  

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

My racehorse friends ensured that I did!

God Bless

Best Wishes


07 Feb 2009 7:29 PM

My mom and I sat down and watched the first two episodes this past Friday when the series debuted. We were very, very impressed.

08 Feb 2009 5:20 PM
Abbie Knowles

Glad that jockeys seems to have been enjoyed and well recieved.  Did not like the sound of the programme about all the spills at all and agree with what was said about that!

Who are the best, or peoples', favourite jockeys riding today? I miss Jerry Bailey and Gary Stevens!!!!  But do very much like Alan Garcia, Javier Castellano, John Valesquez, Garret Gomez, Mike Smith, Alex Solis, Joe Talamo, (their pranks sound fun!), Ramon Dominguez and Rosie Homeister from what i have seen of them on ATR and read about them on, The Brisnet Racing Journal and NTRA websites.  But Cash Asmussen was and is my favourite jockey of all time!!!!

i very much admire all jockeys who obey the rules and love the horses. Racing is a dangerous sport and they risk their lives every time they ride.  So hopefully Jockeys will gain them renewed respect and recognition and win more fans for horse racing.

Have a good day!

God Bless

Best wishes


09 Feb 2009 8:07 PM
Carolyn in ND

I agree with R.  I was very dissapointed with Animal Planet with how they scheduled the shows.  

11 Feb 2009 12:24 PM

o, knowing this sounds like a wet blanket statement, I asked my horse friends (non-racing) if they had/were going to watch it and every single one said "No"...the reason...breakdowns being shown...I guess we're squeamish and don't need more real life in our real lives.;-)

18 Feb 2009 12:43 PM

Yay for finally having a show about Jockeys!  I've always thought them to be great athletes. Their rides are 1/2 ton animals with a mind of their own, traveling pretty fast,close to several others, all wanting to win!  A lot bolder,I think, than large guys crashing into each other(football) Way too much TV coverage of that sport to me. I've watched Jockeys and am glad to meet the people I've read about.  Thanks Animal Planet

21 Feb 2009 1:05 PM

I think its "SAD", to see the top jockeys at the major tracks, riding in Claiming races, with purses from $10-$15,000.

The other jockeys don't get to ride in Allow.,Stakes, Graded,Triple Crown, or Breeders Cupraces. Most all of them made from$500,000-over $2 million lastyear.

Where is their sympathy, pity, and compassion for their fellow [not as lucky] jockeys. Is it all about greed ?

22 Feb 2009 12:30 AM

I've watched this series from the start. They do seem to evenly spread out the camera time  for each jockey. So far, the spills & injuries have been okay. I would have liked for them to show more of their interaction with the horses. Knowing that they CARE about the horses, not just the winning purse, would endear me to them more.

22 Feb 2009 4:50 PM

Recent Posts

Recommended Reading

Social Media

More Blogs