The 10 Best Jockeys to Bet On
Irad Ortiz has been the top jockey in America the past few years.NYRA / Lauren King

The 10 Best Jockeys to Bet On

Every track has its leading riders and knowing who's on the horse is sometimes as important as the horse.

When it comes to horse racing, it’s equally as important to consider the jockey as it is to take the horse’s history into account. This applies to any horse racing bet you are about to make.

There’s usually information available for you in the race programs that are available on the day, but if you’re looking to get your wagers in order prior to the event, we’re here to help.

We’ve collected and collated the necessary information that has allowed us to put together this list of the best jockeys to bet on so that you know when and where to put your money.

Before we delve any further, it’s important to note that in order to bet on the right jockey, you’ll need to have at least had a preliminary look at the odds being offered for a race. This will indicate the likelihood of your success as well as telling you what your return would be!

Jockey Rankings

1. Irad Ortiz Jr.

Ortiz is one of the best jockeys in America and has won three consecutive Eclipse Awards for Outstanding Jockey.

Starts: 780

1sts: 206

2nds: 149

3rds: 103

Purses: $13,029,711

2. Joel Rosario

Having won the Kentucky Derby with Orb in 2013 when he was just 28 years old, Rosario finished near the top of the list for earnings in 2013 and has been up there ever since.

Starts: 514

1sts: 109

2nds: 68

3rds: 78

Purses: $13,005,152

3. Luis Saez

Although he was disqualified in the 2019 Kentucky Derby which saw him miss out on first place, Saez has been one of the top jockeys this summer at Saratoga, arguably the finest, deepest pool of jockeys in the world.

Starts: 825

1sts: 139

2nds: 144

3rds: 119

Purses: $11,429,471

4. Flavien Prat

Although he rides in top races all over the country, Prat is largely based on the West Coast.

Starts: 485

1sts: 132

2nds: 107

3rds: 78

Purses: $10,878,529

5. Jose L. Ortiz

If the name sounds familiar, that’s because this jockey is the younger sibling of the Ortiz Brothers and has been living up to the family name by performing well.

Starts: 716

1sts: 137

2nds: 115

3rds: 115

Purses: $10,581,277

6. Florent Geroux

Another rider who travels the country for top stakes races, Geroux is one of top riders in the midwest.

Starts: 458

1sts: 110

2nds: 74

3rds: 56

Purses: $10,162,423

7. Ricardo Santana Jr.

Santana rides a lot in the south and southwest, but as a favorite of trainer Steve Asmussen, has been making a name for himself at other tracks.

Starts: 510

1sts: 105

2nds: 72

3rds: 78

Purses: $9,339,708

8. John R. Velazquez

With three Kentucky Derby wins under his belt, Velazquez remains a Hall of Fame-caliber rider even at the age of 49.

Starts: 326

1sts: 59

2nds: 34

3rds: 50

Purses: $8,690,878

9. Manuel Franco

Another jockey to watch is Manuel Franco, who is best known for his momentous win in 2020 at the Belmont Stakes when he was riding Tiz the Law, but has been riding since 2013.

Starts: 715

1sts: 119

2nds: 117

3rds: 107

Purses: $7,744,643

10. Tyler Gaffalione

Gaffalione, one of the younger top jockeys, was one of the best riders in Florida, but been recently getting mounts in Triple Crown races and New York stakes races.

Starts: 706

1sts: 132

2nds: 101

3rds: 96

Purses: $7,286,532

How to Choose the Best Jockey to Bet On

The first thing you should do when you are trying to decide which is the best jockey to bet on is to locate information like the statistics we have provided above, but this isn’t the be all and end all of horse racing. A track record stands for a lot, but it does not determine the winner.

Horse racing is actually one of the sports in which anything can happen - like in the UFC, the underdog (or, in this case, the underhorse) can always sneak an unexpected win, so you can’t place your bets by going off the jockey’s (or the horse’s) past record alone.

Yes, you want to look at their experience, skill level, and prior performance, but you should also try to determine whether they follow a particular racing strategy in order to increase their chances of winning, as well as keeping in mind the horse’s ability and performance.

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