Following our blog post about the role of jockey agents, West Point’s Tom Bellhouse recently interviewed NY-based agent Jason Beides.
Beides started on the racetrack walking hots for Richard Schosberg in 1995 and worked his way through the ranks with trainers Shug McGaughey, H. Allen Jerkens, and Chuck Simon. Although Jason’s background is different from most other jockey agents, he credits his years of horsemanship with providing a keen insight in plying his craft.
Beides spent the first 12 years of his career as an agent representing Jose Lezcano and has recently joined forces with top journeyman, Kendrick Carmouche. Jason has represented jockeys who have won Breeders’ Cup races and competed in multiple Triple Crown races, as well as the Dubai World Cup.
Bellhouse: What are things important to the success of a jockey agent?
Beides: First it’s the product. The jock you work for has to have talent. The jock and agent must also be able to develop long standing relationships with trainers and be good handicappers. Another thing that’s important is honoring calls.
Bellhouse: What do you look for in a jockey?
Beides: The best jockeys in the world are hard working and professional and communicate well with their agents and trainers. I appreciate a jock who respects my opinion and views me as a coach who is trying to get maximum results since we share a common goal of winning races. There’s also an important trust factor. If I tell a trainer my jock will be at the barn at 7 am to work a horse, he better be there, on time, with a positive attitude.
Bellhouse: Is it important for jocks to be “students of the game”?
Beides: Yes, I demand that of the jockeys I work with. They are expected to study tape, identify racetrack biases, and provide me meaningful feedback on the horses they ride. As an agent, I must learn to capitalize on their strengths and assist in areas of weakness. Kendrick is super outgoing and shares a lot of details with owners and trainers, whereas as Jose is more of an introvert who doesn’t say much. Both are very talented riders; they just have different personalities.
Bellhouse: What are the standard protocols you have with your jockey?
Beides: We speak every night to review the races we rode in and review the following morning’s obligations and our mounts for the next race day. We also discuss strategy on future mounts and travel calendar, especially for big races.
Bellhouse: Are you an employee of the track or your jockey(s)?
Besides: Agents are employees of the jockeys. Most jocks do not operate with written contracts — there are a lot of handshake deals. The racetrack pays the jockey their purse earnings, and then the jock pays the agent. If a jockey is injured or suspended, the agent makes no money. This is the truest “commission only” job ever.
Bellhouse: What does a normal day look like for you?
Besides: I get to the track around 6 am and visit and call trainers who planned to enter that day to make sure their plans haven’t changed. I also talk to trainers and inquire about horses I’ve identified and would like to ride. Before leaving the track, I sit down and finalize all the calls I have for the coming week. It’s important always to be studying the condition book for opportunities.
Thank you to Jason for taking the time to answer questions. Our next blog will talk about common scenarios jockeys and their agents are faced with.