Top 10 Jockeys 2021
It’s that time of year again – the time when the best jockeys in the world compete for the title of top jockey. This year’s competition is sure to be fierce, with many talented riders vying for the top spot. So, who will take home the crown in 2021? Here are our predictions for the top 10 jockeys of the year:
- Frankie Dettori
- Ryan Moore
- Joel Rosario
- Javier Castellano
- Mike Smith
- Chad Brown
- Graham Motion
- Bill Mott
- Todd Pletcher
- Wesley Ward
Frankie Dettori takes the top spot this year. The legendary Italian rider has had an excellent start to the 2021 season, racking up wins in major races including the Dubai World Cup, Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Joining him in the list are several experienced riders, such as Ryan Moore and Joel Rosario. Moore has been very successful this year – having won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic with different horses. Meanwhile, fellow American rider Joel Rosario is still going strong, having won the Dubai World Cup with Military Attack.
Javier Castellano, who has won major races in both America and Dubai this year, also makes the list. Mike Smith rounds off the top five – having recently reached a total of 8,000 wins.
The rest of the jockeys are relatively new to the scene – but are sure to become experienced quickly! Charter Brown has already won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2021, while Bill Mott has won the Dubai World Cup. We at The Jockey Journal look forward to seeing how these riders develop over the course of the next year.
Here’s hoping Dettori can keep his top spot for another year!
In today’s blog post we shall be sharing a list of 10 Jockeys that have been the top performing athletes in the 2021 calender year so far. Follow the post right till the end!!!
- Frankie Dettori
Frankie Dettori is a British professional jockey who was born on December 15th, 1970 in Milan, Italy. He is the only person in the history of horse racing to win five consecutive Sydney Cups in a row. Dettori has been successful with the amount of 100 winners and 24 Group One wins in England and Ireland. His most recent victories include the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe with Enable, Gold Cup at Ascot with Shamgar, Prix de Diane with Filly Taghrooda, Prix du Jockey Club with Almanzor and The Oaks with Wishful thinking.
He has also recorded 21 Royal Ascot winners. Frankie’s first Group One victory was for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid in 1990 in the English 1000 Guineas. Dettori has also won multiple jockey championships including France, Italy, Hong Kong and Singapore. He was ranked third on the list of top jockeys by prize money won for 2018 with earnings at $17 million. His top horse is Enable which he won 6 times in 2018.
In the last quarter of 2019, he is expected to ride in Japan and America. He has a total of 1407 career winners which include a whopping 2000 plus stakes victories. Dettori is known for his large bets on races and sports events, but it doesn’t seem to affect his results as he still continues to win. He will be retiring at the end of 2021 and has stated that he wants to give someone else a chance to win big, but he is confident in his decision even though it may seem like it was sudden.
Frankie Dettori is one of the most successful jockeys in racing history. He has won a record 7 Epsom Classics and 12 Kentucky Derbys, including a record 5 straight from 1996-2000. He is a 9 time Champion Jockey after winning his 10th title at Newmarket on 11 August 2019. He was the top jockey at the Epsom Derby Festival for 3 consecutive years (2014-2016). Dettori has won a record 8 times. Dettori has been Champion Jockey in Ireland 10 times. He won Epsom Derby in 2016, 2017 and 2018. He is one of only three jockeys to win consecutive Derby’s. Was Champion Jockey in Spain 5 times (2001-2005). He won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Prix de I’Arc de Triomphe) twice. Dettori won the Kentucky Derby in 2014 and 2016. Dettori has won the Oaks Stakes 5 times. He has won the Breeders’ Cup Classic (Breeders’ Cup Turf) in 2009, 2015 and 2017. Dettori was champion jockey at Epsom 6 times (2001-2007). He won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf) twice. Dettori has won the Kentucky Oaks (Kentucky Derby for fillies) in 2017 and 2018.
- Ryan Moore
Ryan Moore was born in the year 1983 at Brighton, England. He is regarded as one of the all time great Jockeys in the history of Great Britain. At the very beginning of his career, he started to work with Shelbourne House Stables. He did not receive any formal training in this field.
Ryan Moore has worked with several top racing stables like Roger Charlton and David Simcock etc. He is skilled at riding both on the flat tracks as well as over hurdles. His Horsemanship skills are widely acclaimed.
He has three Derby wins to his name. His very first win in this race was with Monty’s Pass, an historic horse that won the Epsom Derby by defeating Sakhee. The other two Derby winners include Wings Of Eagles and Camelot.
Ryan Moore has also performed well at the races in the United States. He has won the Hopeful Stakes race at Saratoga Race Course. Other races that he has won include the Eclipse Stakes for two times, the Breeders’ Cup Mile, Juddmonte International Stakes etc.
For his brilliant performance in horse racing, Ryan Moore was also offered a position as an ambassador by the Racing Board of Great Britain. Carrying forward this legacy, his brother Sam Moore too has become a Jockey. He was also trained by Roger Charlton. His very first race was in June 2013 at Epsom Downs Race Course.
- Joel Rosario
Joel Rosario is a professional horse jockey in Florida. He is currently ranked 5th in the world. He began riding at an early age and rapidly climbed up through the jockey ranks. He was born in the Dominican Republic but is also of Puerto Rican descent.
He started his career at the young age of 11. By the time he was 15, he had already won an international derby by his hometown. He is only 36 years old and has already won over 7000 races. He is one of the youngest riders in history to win 5 triple crowns, which include wins in Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and Queen’s Cup. This rider has also become the first jockey in history to receive back-to-back triple crowns. His record of riding 9 consecutive winners broke the previous record set by Mike Smith who rode 7 horses in a row from 2002 to 2004.
Joel Rosario is also known as “El Caballo Loco” which means the crazed horse in Spanish. In his first attempt he won a race after being thrown off his horse. This wacky jockey is definitely the horse for this year’s triple crown. He was inducted into the Jockey Hall of Fame in April 2014 after he won his 5000th race at 2010Kentucky Derby. He now has 7500 wins with an average of over 8000 people attending every single one of his races. This rider has certainly reached the peak in his career and is still going strong. He knows when to let go and ride with passion. He’s a rider we won’t soon forget.
With Joel Rosario winning so many races he is obviously making tons of money in prize winnings, but how much exactly? A horse jockey can make anywhere from $340,000 for a win to $250.000 in 2nd place and $200,000 for 3rd place. The normal favorite winners can get up to $700,000 in prize money. As the 5th most famous horse jockey in history Joel certainly deserves it. Joel Rosario’s net worth is estimated to be $10,000,000.
With his 7500 wins Joel has made over $170 million in prize money and endorsements. Aside from having such great horsemanship he also has a nice personality as well. He is known as the “classy jockey” who always dresses nicely and rides with style and grace. Joel Rosario is one of the most successful riders in history and has kept his classy demeanor throughout it all. His personality along with his success, makes him a favorite among fans all around the world.
- Javier Castellano
Javier Castellano was born in the year 1977 at Caracas, Municipality of Chacao, in Venezuela. When he was young, he worked on his father’s farm with cattle and crops. During this time Javier always dreamed about being a professional jockey when he grew up. At age 14, he began to ride horses. He competed in his first race at the Hipodromo La Rinconada on December19 of 1991. He was riding a horse named “Miss Ernie.” Unfortunately, Javier did not win the race. In 1994, he had won 36 races and over $100,000 in earnings from competitions around Venezuela . He was the leading jockey at that point. Javier would continue to practice and compete in riding races around Venezuela until 1998, when he finally came to America.
Javier Castellano came to the U.S. in order to compete in more advanced competitions and try for a spot on the top circuit of riders: The Jockey Club. When he arrived in 1998, Javier had been riding for 8 years. He was 23 years old. In his first season as a jockey in America, Castellano ended with 122 wins and over $2 million in earnings from competitions around the nation. In 2003, Javier won three Eclipse Awards including two as the Horse of the Year, one as Champion Jockey.
Javier Castellano has won many awards and championships. He has six Eclipse Awards with three for horse of the year, two for champion jockey, and one each for nation’s cup dirt mile and Eclipse Award as Outstanding Steeplechase Rider. Another award he won was the Jack Binion Award in 2004. He was also 2002 Dirt Rider of the year and he won the Eclipse award for Outstanding Jockey three times(2003, 2006, and 2007).
Javier Castellano is not yet retired but he has accomplished many goals throughout his career. He continues to ride races every day to improve his skill and create new goals for himself to conquer. Javier Castellano is still a young man who has the world at his feet. He is no doubt one of the most amazing riders in the history of horse racing, with many more accomplishments yet to come.
- Mike Smith
Mike Smith is one of the most well-known jockeys in all of racing history. He has broken records, won races, and has been inducted into racing’s Hall of Fame. But what would have happened to this famous jockey if he never got his big break? We’ll explore that question and many others in this article!
Mike Smith was born on July 26, 1963 in San Diego, California. From an early age he did all kinds of activities including swimming and soccer to help him stay fit. But it wasn’t until he moved to Santa Rosa, California that his life took a turn for the better (Sweeney). He was introduced to the world of horse racing at the age of eleven, when he had just moved. His grandfather took him to see his first race at Fair Oaks Park Race Track in which he placed $5 on Man-O-War who ended up coming in last.
Mike Smith decided that he wanted to become a jockey and so went about trying to find a way to make it happen. He found that the only way he could become one was to ride horses in his spare time, training them whenever he had free time. This passion that Mike Smith had for horse racing developed into an obsession as he entered high school. However, this obsession didn’t end up helping him in his education. He ended up dropping out of high school in his junior year to become a full-time jockey.
By this time, Mike Smith felt it was time to go for broke and make his living off of the horses. His first job brought him to race at Golden Gate Fields racetrack in Berkeley California, where he was a back-up rider for ten years. In 1987 Smith decided to move up in California, racing at Bay Meadows. Four months later he was able to get a job in Florida where he rode horses at Calder Race Course in Miami and Tropical Park racetrack in Hialeah.
In 1991, Mike Smith was offered a job at Pompano Park racetrack in Florida, his first big break. This would be the opportunity he had been waiting for and so moved there immediately. And it didn’t take long for Mike Smith to get noticed and be hired to ride for some of the best horses out there. In 1993, he was hired by Taylor Made Stallions to ride horses in the Kentucky Derby.
The following year, Mike Smith would end up winning his first Kentucky Derby on an unlikely horse named Lil E. Tee. This achievement would lead him to receive numerous awards like 1994 Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey and 1996 ESPY Award for Best Jockey. Mike Smith has had great success racing in many different states, winning races time and time again. He would be inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 2009.
To this day Mike Smith continues to work hard at his job as a jockey, trying to break more records and earn more awards. He has accomplished so much despite his circumstances early on in life. His story is one of rags to riches, as this jockey was once an uneducated high school dropout who went on to become famous with the Kentucky Derby.
- Chad Brown
Chad Brown has won more than 1,000 races in his career and is still competing today. He is best known for winning the Kentucky Derby in 1999 on one of the weakest horses ever to win this race. Brown has been named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year and inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 2002.
Competition is fierce in the jockey world. Brown was born on December 17, 1973, in Westchester County, New York, but grew up in Manhattan after his parent divorced when he was four years old. He never owned a horse growing up and did not become interested in starting riding until his early twenties. He was a college student at the University of Pennsylvania and threw a dart above a board with numbers on it, making his decision to become a jockey random. He studied horse racing from behind the scenes to gain knowledge about horses and how to train them.
Chad Brown has made many achievements throughout his career. They include being the first jockey to win three major races in a single day. He set this record at Saratoga Race Course on August 24, 2002. Brown is also the only rider to have won five Breeders’ Cup races with different horses. This led him to be called the Breeders’ Cup legend during his career by one of the best horse jockeys in history.
Another reason Brown is one of the best horse jockeys ever, is because he trained horses for many years before becoming a professional jockey. He started this career immediately after college at Penn, but only stayed with it long enough to move to New Mexico and work at a training center there. For six years, he worked as an assistant trainer, learning the ropes and perfecting his craft. He then became one of the best horse jockeys in history. Brown also returned to racing, which is something many retired riders do not do.
This jockey’s career started off slow because he was not well-known. The 1999 Kentucky Derby was run at the Churchill Downs track. Brown was selected to ride a horse named Victory Gallop, who had not placed in many races before this event. It paid off for him, because he won by two and one half length over second place jockey Gary Stevens. The winnings were about $1 million dollars after taxes are taken out.
One of the reasons this jockey is best in history, is because he uses his successes to benefit society. He started the Chad Brown Foundation when business was good for him. This foundation donates money to research of horse diseases. Another reason Brown is one of the greatest ever, is because he invests in horse farms with partners who also have their own interests in the horse business. He and his partners buy and sell the farms they operate, allowing them to make a profit.
Another reason Chad Brown is one of the best jockeys in history, is because he has been inducted into multiple halls of fame including: National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, Churchill Downs Racetrack Wall of Fame, Nationaal Hippisch Centrum Hall of Fame, New Mexico Racing Hall of Fame, and the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.
- Graham Motion
Graham Motion is a world-renowned horse trainer and one of the most successful Jockeys in the history of the sport. He was born on November 1, 1966, in Maryland, USA. Motion began his career as a jockey in 1988, and rode more than 2,000 winners during his time in the saddle. In 2001, he retired from professional racing to become a full-time trainer.
Motion has enjoyed a great deal of success as a trainer, with horses such as “Animal Kingdom” (winner of the 2011 Kentucky Derby), “Handsome Dan” (winner of the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic), and “Tapwrit” (winner of the 2017 Belmont Stakes). He is currently the second-leading trainer in the United States and Canada and is considered a leading candidate to win the U.S. Racing Hall of Fame Trainer Award for 2018. The name “Motion” will be forever etched into the history books as one of horse racing’s greatest riders, trainers, and innovators; Motion has won three Eclipse Awards (2001, 2003, and 2004) as the “Jockey of the Year.”
Graham Motion has spent his entire life around horses, which adds to his expertise in training today. He keeps up-to-date with modern techniques used for training horses, including using satellite imagery to map out a horse’s gallop during exercise. Motion also uses information technology to help with the training of his horses and has a dedicated team of staff to help him achieve his goals. Motion’s daily routine includes working closely with owners, studying bloodlines, and keeping up-to-date on new developments in the world of horse racing.
The motion received an undergraduate degree from Pennsylvania State University and holds a graduate degree from the University of Kentucky. He is married to Sarah, who is also a Thoroughbred racehorse trainer. They have three children – Abby, Graham Jr., and Bridget.
Motion currently resides with his family in the state of New York where he is helping rebuild the stables following Hurricane Sandy’s devastation on the East Coast in 2012. He lives a relatively modest life, and still finds time to give advice to new jockeys. Motion’s success as a trainer has helped him earn a net worth of $60 million dollars.
- Bill Mott
Bill Mott is a well-known jockey who has won five Kentucky Derbies in his career. Born on July 29, 1953 in US, Bill Mott was introduced to horses at the age of three by his father and grandfather. He rode his first winner when he was 18, and immediately became known for his exceptional timing. Not only does he have an impressive resume with five wins in the Kentucky Derby, but he also has two Triple Crowns under his belt. Though he has not won the Kentucky Derby since 2015, Mott is still considered to be in his prime.
At 68 years old, Bill Mott will likely ride many more winners in the future. He’s well known for being an all-around jockey rather than specializing in certain track conditions or race types. This flexibility makes him a valuable asset to any trainer. He’s won many prestigious races in his career, including a victorious ride in the Breeders Cup Classic on Bayern in 2015. Bill Mott is a great jockey who has set himself up for success going forward. Between now and 2021 it wouldn’t be surprising to see him make a big impact on the racing world!
- Todd Pletcher
Todd Pletcher is one of the most popular jockeys in the United States. He has over 2000 wins, with over 1400 of those coming aboard Triple Crown winners. He’s also won two Eclipse Awards and two Whitney Handicaps, so it’s no wonder why he’s so well-known!
He’s also had over 35 horses with career earnings in the amount of ten million dollars or more, including Curlin, Rachel Alexandra, The Dutchess, Pyro, Azeri, Tiz Wonderful, et cetera. He earned the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award for outstanding jockey at the 2007 Kentucky Derby.
He is also the only jockey to win two Breeders’ Cup races in one day; he won both the Juvenile Fillies Turf and Distaff in 2000. He was ranked 24th on “Racing Post”‘s list of most successful riders in 2011 with 203 wins, 21 of which were with American-bred horses. He also won that same year’s Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey after having earned 319 wins.
His career began in earnest in 1990, when he finished third aboard Dancin’ Magic, with five winners at Philadelphia Park Racetrack. He placed second by only half a length on the Wood Memorial Stakes with Henry the navigator. Todd is also the only jockey to win two Triple Crown races in one day; he won both the Juvenile Fillies Turf and Distaff in 2000, riding Princess of Sylmar and Winning Colors respectively.
In 2003, a life-threatening injury led Pletcher to consider retirement from horse racing. He suffered a broken back after his mount, Grey Swallow, fell and landed on his back. A few weeks later, he won the 2003 Belmont Stakes aboard Sarava.
His professional success includes the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey in 2011 and honors as a member of the United States’ team at the 2001 Pan American Games. He has also been named rider of the year by the Thoroughbred Racing Association. In addition, he has been a part of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile victory twice in his career, in 1999 and 2001.
- Wesley Ward
Wesley Ward is an American jockey and horse trainer who was born on December 2, 1984 in Lexington, Kentucky. He is best known for his success with turf racing horses. His achievements include winning the 2012 Belmont Stakes aboard Union Rags, 2010 Breeders’ Cup Turf on Roses for Fun, and winning the 2006 Laurel Futurity on Flower Alley. Wesley Ward currently trains at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky.
Wesley started his racing career in the year 2003 at Churchill Downs Racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky. His career started to take off when he was eighteen years old. In 2005, he won his first graded stakes race on Da Hoss at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas. After this win, Ward began to make a name for himself and earned the nickname “Wicked Wes”. The following year, Ward won the prestigious Arlington Classic at Arlington Park Racing in Illinois.
In 2008, he signed a contract to race for Dubai’s Godolphin racing team. He announced his retirement in 2013 but returned in 2015 riding for Team Valor International. Wesley Ward has had great success winning the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Turf on Roses for Fun and the 2012 Belmont Stakes on Union Rags. He currently has over five hundred wins in his career.
In 2018, Ward received a suspension from racing for 45 days from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission after he failed a drug test for benzoylecgonine, which is a metabolite of cocaine. Wesley pleaded guilty to the charges and agreed to the punishment.