How jockeys can influence races  

May, 13, 2010

The usual guesstimates are that a jockey accounts for 10 percent or "just a little bit" of a horse's performance, and that a jockey's influence is as likely to be negative as helpful. "A great jockey cannot make a slow horse win," Hall of Famer Jerry Bailey has said. "But a bad jockey can get a great horse beat."

If a jockey understands the track that his horse is running on, and if he develops a good strategy based on the competition he's facing, he'll have a smooth run. If he doesn't, his horse will look terrible. That's a recipe for all of us to recognize downside more easily than upside.

Peter Keating | email

ESPN Senior Writer
Peter Keating is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, where he covers investigative and statistical subjects. He started writing "The Biz," a column looking at sports business from the fan's point of view, in 1999. He also coordinates the Magazine's annual "Ultimate Standings" project, which ranks all pro franchises according to how much they give back to fans. His work on concussions in football has earned awards from the Deadline Club, the New York Press Club and the Center for the Study of Sport in Society.