Horse Racing

How Big Are Kentucky Derby Jockeys? (Height & Weight of 2024 Participants)

FanDuel Staff
FanDuel Staff
How Big Are Kentucky Derby Jockeys? (Height & Weight of 2024 Participants)

Just as with all professional athletes, jockeys have to be fit and in peak physical condition for major races like the Kentucky Derby. However, unlike in sports like football or basketball, where it benefits a player to be large, horse jockeys can benefit from being shorter and having a smaller frame.

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Why are horse racing jockeys small?

It makes intuitive sense that a horse jockey would be shorter and lighter than the average person: after all, in thoroughbred racing, a horse has to carry the jockey while running at full speed. Most jockeys weigh between 110 and 115 pounds, though some are lighter and some are heavier.

Looking at the conditions of any race, whether it is a Triple Crown race or a claiming event on a Monday afternoon, the weights of the jockeys are assigned for each horse. Weights are relatively high for Triple Crown races compared to other races: male horses carry 126 pounds in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes, while a filly running against the boys gets a five-pound weight allowance, and only has to carry 121.

Lighter weight assignments are often assigned in other races: it is not uncommon to see weight assignments as low as 116 or 118. In non-stakes races, apprentice jockeys can ride at as much as ten pounds less than more experienced jockeys as an incentive for a horse trainer to give them a chance in the saddle. In the United States, a female jockey will ride at the same weights as men in any given race. Though female thoroughbred horses may get a lighter weight requirement for their jockey compared to male horses, the male jockeys and female jockeys compete on equal footing.

Note, as well, that these weight assignments also include some of their gear, like the saddle. So, being shorter or having a smaller frame is an asset: remember, a successful jockey has to have enough muscle to stay on a fast-moving horse and remain in control of their mount, while still making weight.

2024 Kentucky Derby jockeys

These are the jockeys expected to ride in the 2024 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, along with their heights and weights if they are publicly recorded. Note that many jockeys have not made that information public.

1155Sierra LeoneTyler Gaffalione5’ 3”112 lbs
2136FiercenessJohn Velazquez5’ 6”112 lbs
3125Catching FreedomFlavien Prat
4125StrongholdAntonio Fresu
5110ResilienceJunior Alvarado5’ 6”113 lbs
6100Forever YoungRyusei Sakai
7100EndlesslyUmberto Rispoli
View Full Table

2024 Kentucky Derby jockey standings

These are the top 10 North American jockeys in 2024 earnings, as of April 24, 2024:

1Flavien Prat$7,433,461233554719
2Irad Ortiz, Jr.$7,111,4025061069980
3Tyler Gaffalione$6,682,880480717265
4Jose Ortiz$5,928,4624531005946
5Cristian Torres$5,389,153362724645
6Luis Saez$4,860,783437696167
7Juan Hernandez$4,772,853234494842
View Full Table

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