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Business of Horse Racing

Business of Horse Racing

With the dust of this weekend’s Dubai World Cup just starting to settle, we take a look at the global business of horse racing, the jockeys and the up to AED73 million horses at the heart of it all.


March 24, 2011 3:28 by

Being a jockey has a very specific physical requirements: for one thing a horse jockey must be 4’10″ tall and no taller than 5″6″ and more crucially weigh 108 to 118 pounds (under 60 kgs). Though they may be some of the smallest athletes around, the nature of their role (controlling a superfast and significantly larger animal) has made horse racing one of the most dangerous professions—with only their silk and a helmet for protection. According to, since 1940, 128 jockeys have lost their lives in horse races with spinal cord and brain injuries being the most common ailment suffered  by the jockey. The site also said more than a third of all injuries that a jockey or a horse develops during a race occur at the starting gate. Apart from the few who make it to super-jockeyhood, the field is far from lucrative: while successful jockeys can make up to $100,000 a year, estimates that those jockeys that did not finish in well at the 2005 Kentucky Derby received less than $60 each.

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