This is the first of a four-part series about jockeys and jockey agents.
Let’s tackle the jockey/jockey agent/trainer relationship, one of the most complex interactions in the Sport of Kings. There are a lot of politics involved, but we all know jockeys and the guys who manage their riding assignments are vital to the success of a racing operation.
Most jockeys in the United States are represented by an agent whose main responsibility is to book mounts and put the rider in a position to win races. Other agent responsibilities include maintaining relationships with trainers, making travel arrangements, and managing media relations. The agents must be savvy handicappers and communicators to compete at the highest levels of the sport.
If you’ve been on the backside during the summer meets (Saratoga and Del Mar), you’ll most definitely see jockeys and their agents going from barn to barn forging relationships, working horses, and trying to get as many quality mounts as possible.
Jockey agents must maintain good relationships with trainers on their jockey’s circuit to win races. There is a balance between being loyal and being on the very best horse possible. It’s not always black and white. We’ll dive deeper into this concept in the coming posts.
Some tracks allow an agent to represent two journeyman riders as well as one apprentice rider “bug boy”. Many of the top agents in the country represent more than one rider.
Most agents have programs that keep track of the horses their jockey(s) has ridden, the speed figures of all the horses competing on the circuit, and the commitments made by other jockeys in upcoming races.
Communication between trainers and jockey agents is paramount. When a condition book comes out, trainers mark the horses they have who fit in certain races. At that point, they begin communicating with the jockey agents until they find a suitable jockey who agrees to ride the horse.
Next up is an interview with NY-based jockey agent Jason Beides.