Each Kentucky Derby brings a new set of 3-year-olds to race on the biggest horse racing stage.  One constant is the familiar faces on top the backs of these horses. It only makes sense to provide these horses with the best jockeys.

These aren’t your typical athletes that you see across other sports. Jockeys are typically very small both in their height and weight. There’s no requirement on the height, but they are restricted given the weight limit of 126 lbs. Your typical jockey weighs somewhere between 108 to 118 lbs and usually around no bigger than 5’6.

While they aren’t big in size, there’s a great skill in controlling a horse around a track. Jockeys also run the risk of serious injury, but they aren’t exactly paid well for it. The first place Derby jockey will take 10% of the horses winnings, while second and third place get 5% each.

I highly recommend studying the jockeys in the field when betting the Kentucky Derby. An elite jockey can turn an average horse into a serious contender. At the same time, an inexperienced jockey can ruin the hopes of a top level horse.  Be sure to check out my Derby predictions for this year before placing your wager.

Jockeys Riding in 2017 Kentucky Derby: Assignments, Height & Weight

Each race has slightly different rules with regards to weight, but the Derby falls on the higher end of the spectrum.  Jockeys and their gear must weight between 112 and 126 pounds.  With the average amount of gear weighing 6-7 lbs., this means jockeys need to weigh 120 or less just to be able to ride in the race.  Considering this is on the high end of what most Jockeys weigh in at over the course of their season, most have no issues meeting this requirement.

The table below lists all of the potential horses running in this year’s race and their jockeys (where available).

*Weights in this table are estimates based approximate past racing weights.

HorseJockeyHeight*Weight (lbs)
GirvinMike E. Smith5′ 4″114
Classic EmpireJulien R. Leparoux5′ 5″112
GormleyVictor Espinoza5′ 2″112
IrapMario Gutierrez5′ 3″110
Irish War CryRajiv Maragh5′ 4″114
Thunder SnowChristophe Soumillon5′ 8″113
Always DreamingJohn R. Velazquez5′ 6″112
GunneveraJavier Castellano5′ 1″114
Practical JokeJoel Rosario5′ 2″109
J Boys EchoRobby Albarado5′ 6″110
State of HonorJose Lezcano5′ 3″112
TapwritJose L. Ortiz5′ 7″112
HenceFlorent Geroux112
Fast and AccurateChanning Hill5′ 5″108
McCrakenBrian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.5′ 4″112
Battle of MidwayFlavien Prat5′ 8″115
PatchTyler Gaffalione5′ 6″113
UntrappedRicardo Santana, Jr.115
Lookin at LeeCorey Lanerie5′ 6″116
SonneteerKent J. Desormeaux5′ 3″116

Triple Crown History: Past Derby Champion Jockeys (1875-Present)

The following table is a complete list of every winning jockey in the race’s history.  You will note there are several repeat winners, which always sparks debate over just how much influence these riders have on the outcome of the competition.  While successful jockeys are given great horses to ride in big races, and it is their job to ride to their horse’s strengths, it is impossible to deny that they have a significant impact.

YearHorseWinning Jockey
2016NyquistMario Gutierrez
2015American PharoahVictor Espinoza
2014California ChromeVictor Espinoza
2013OrbJoel Rosario
2012I’ll Have AnotherMario Gutierrez
2011Animal KingdomJohn Velazquez
2010Super SaverCalvin Borel
2009Mine That BirdCalvin Borel
2008Big BrownKent Desormeaux
2007Street SenseCalvin Borel
2006BarbaroEdgar Prado
2005GiacomoMike E. Smith
2004Smarty JonesStewart Elliott
2003Funny CideJosé A. Santos
2002War EmblemVictor Espinoza
2001MonarchosJorge F. Chavez
2000Fusaichi PegasusKent Desormeaux
1999CharismaticChris Antley
1998Real QuietKent Desormeaux
1997Silver CharmGary Stevens
1996GrindstoneJerry Bailey
1995Thunder GulchGary Stevens
1994Go for GinChris McCarron
1993Sea HeroJerry Bailey
1992Lil E. TeePat Day
1991Strike the GoldChris Antley
1990UnbridledCraig Perret
1989Sunday SilencePat Valenzuela
1988Winning ColorsGary Stevens
1987AlyshebaChris McCarron
1986FerdinandBill Shoemaker
1985Spend A BuckAngel Cordero, Jr.
1984SwaleLaffit Pincay, Jr.
1983Sunny’s HaloEddie Delahoussaye
1982Gato Del SolEddie Delahoussaye
1981Pleasant ColonyJorge Velasquez
1980Genuine RiskJacinto Vasquez
1979Spectacular BidRonnie Franklin
1978AffirmedSteve Cauthen
1977Seattle SlewJean Cruguet
1976Bold ForbesAngel Cordero, Jr.
1975Foolish PleasureJacinto Vasquez
1974CannonadeAngel Cordero, Jr.
1973SecretariatRon Turcotte
1972Riva RidgeRon Turcotte
1971Canonero IIGustavo Avila
1970Dust CommanderMike Manganello
1969Majestic PrinceBill Hartack
1968Forward PassIsmael Valenzuela
1967Proud ClarionBobby Ussery
1966Kauai KingDon Brumfield
1965Lucky DebonairBill Shoemaker
1964Northern DancerBill Hartack
1963ChateaugayBraulio Baeza
1962DecidedlyBill Hartack
1961Carry BackJohnny Sellers
1960Venetian WayBill Hartack
1959Tomy LeeBill Shoemaker
1958Tim TamIsmael Valenzuela
1957Iron LiegeBill Hartack
1956NeedlesDavid Erb
1955SwapsBill Shoemaker
1954DetermineRaymond York
1953Dark StarHenry E. Moreno
1952Hill GailEddie Arcaro
1951Count TurfConn McCreary
1950MiddlegroundWilliam Boland
1949PonderSteve Brooks
1948CitationEddie Arcaro
1947Jet PilotEric Guerin
1946AssaultWarren Mehrtens
1945Hoop Jr.Eddie Arcaro
1944PensiveConn McCreary
1943Count FleetJohnny Longden
1942Shut OutWayne D. Wright
1941WhirlawayEddie Arcaro
1940GallahadionCarroll Bierman
1939JohnstownJames Stout
1938LawrinEddie Arcaro
1937War AdmiralCharley Kurtsinger
1936Bold VentureIra Hanford
1935OmahaWillie Saunders
1934CavalcadeMack Garner
1933Brokers TipDon Meade
1932Burgoo KingEugene James
1931Twenty GrandCharley Kurtsinger
1930Gallant FoxEarl Sande
1929Clyde Van DusenLinus McAtee
1928Reigh CountChick Lang
1927WhiskeryLinus McAtee
1926Bubbling OverAlbert Johnson
1925Flying EbonyEarl Sande
1924Black GoldJ. D. Mooney
1923ZevEarl Sande
1922MorvichAlbert Johnson
1921Behave YourselfCharles Thompson
1920Paul JonesTed Rice
1919Sir BartonJohnny Loftus
1918ExterminatorWillie Knapp
1917Omar KhayyamCharles Borel
1916George SmithJohnny Loftus
1915RegretJoe Notter
1914Old RosebudJohn McCabe
1913DonerailRoscoe Goose
1912WorthCarroll H. Shilling
1911MeridianGeorge Archibald
1910DonauFrederick Herbert
1909WintergreenVincent Powers
1908Stone StreetArthur Pickens
1907Pink StarAndy Minder
1906Sir HuonRoscoe Troxler
1905AgileJack Martin
1904ElwoodShorty Prior
1903Judge HimesHal Booker
1902Alan-a-DaleJimmy Winkfield
1901His EminenceJimmy Winkfield
1900Lieut. GibsonJimmy Boland
1899ManuelFred Taral
1898PlauditWillie Simms
1897Typhoon IIButtons Garner
1896Ben BrushWillie Simms
1895HalmaSoup Perkins
1894ChantFrank Goodale
1893LookoutEddie Kunze
1892AzraAlonzo Clayton
1891KingmanIsaac Murphy
1890RileyIsaac Murphy
1889SpokaneThomas Kiley
1888Macbeth IIGeorge Covington
1887MontroseIsaac Lewis
1886Ben AliPaul Duffy
1885Joe CottonErskine Henderson
1884BuchananIsaac Murphy
1883LeonatusBilly Donohue
1882ApolloBabe Hurd
1881HindooJim McLaughlin
1880FonsoGeorge Lewis
1879Lord MurphyCharlie Shauer
1878Day StarJimmy Carter
1877Baden-BadenBilly Walker
1876VagrantBobby Swim
1875AristidesOliver Lewis

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