Which Horse Racing Jockeys Have the Highest Net Worth?

Have you ever wondered how much the best jockeys earn for taking part in horse races? 

Not all of them are millionaires, but the very best jockeys are able to rack up an impressive fortune over their careers.

Yutaka Kate

Fans of American races like the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes might not be too familiar with Kate. Yet, he is a legendary rider in his native Japan, where he started his career in 1987, winning 69 races in his rookie season followed by over 100 victories the next year.

Since then, Kate has won a huge variety of trophies, from the Japanese Triple Crown to the Japanese Cup Dirt and international competitions such as the Hong Kong Cup, the July Cup and the Dubai Duty Free Stakes.

His huge popularity means that he has earned a lot of money from endorsements to add to his prize money. Some estimates put his net worth at over $800 million. He is sometimes called the face of Japanese horse racing due to his huge impact on the sport there.

Christophe Lemaire

This sport is also hugely popular in France, where Lemaire hails from. However, he has earned a lot of his cash winning in races in Japan, as well as in other countries. His career began in 1999 and he eventually moved over to full-time racing in Japan in 2014, having won several classics in different countries.

Among his international successes have been the Melbourne Cup, Queen Elizabeth II Cup, Grand Prix de Paris, and the Dubai Sheema Classic. He has been the most successful jockey in Japan for the last few years, beating Yutaka Kate’s record number of wins in a season with an impressive 215.

Some estimates put Lemaire’s earnings from horse racing at around $280 million and he appears to still have a few years left at the top of the sport.

Javier Castellano

This Venezuelan jockey has been riding professionally since 1996. Castellano started in his home country before moving to the US to compete. It was 2004 before he started picking up big wins, mainly on Ghostzapper.

He has come home in first place in the likes of the Travers Stakes and the Preakness Stakes during a career that is filled with victories.  From 2013 to 2016, Castellano had the highest winnings of any North American jockey and since then has consistently been in the top three. 

His net worth is thought to be in the region of $400 million, showing how much a top-class jockey can earn by staying at the top of the sport for a long time. He tested positive for the coronavirus in 2020 but has returned without any problems.

John Velazquez

This Puerto Rican-born jockey moved to the US to ride in 1990. He has only topped the winnings list a couple of times since then, but the fact that he has been a leading name in the sport for three decades has allowed Velazquez to build up an enviable level of wealth. 

Among the landmarks in this long career were when he was inducted in the Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2012 and when he came home on his 5,000th winning horse the following year. He also won six races in a single day in 2001. In 2014, he took first place in the list of all-time jockey earnings.

His wins include 15 Breeder’s Cups and three Kentucky Derbies, as well as the Dubai World Cup, the Kentucky Oaks and a lot more. If you look for the KY Derby best bets, expect to see Velazquez’s name there. 

He is thought to have earned a shade more than Castellano in prize wins, with just over $400 million to date. There you have it, the wealthiest horse jockeys in the world right now. And if you fancy your chances betting on horse racing, check out the odds for next year’s Kentucky Derby: TwinSpires.com/kentuckyderby/odds

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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