Exploring jockey stats and win percentages

October 20th, 2021

While horses are the most important factor in handicapping any race, many bettors look toward jockey statistics to strengthen their opinions and separate top contenders.

The reasoning is simple — the best jockeys generally ride the best horses and win the most races. A jockey who consistently wins at a 25% rate will guide you toward a winning horse one out of four times — no additional handicapping required.

Jockey stats are available from many sources and can be broken down into nitty-gritty details. But Brisnet Ultimate Past Performances come packed with an array of the most important numbers to consider.

Jockey stats, as listed in Brisnet Ultimate Past Performances.

Here’s a breakdown of the five stats you’ll find in Brisnet Ultimate Past Performances, along with insights into the numbers you should be looking for:

[JOCKEY NAME] (0 0-0-0 0%)

Following the jockey’s name in the past performances is a string of numbers that denote their record at the track’s current meeting. For example, you might see “GEROUX FLORENT (40 7 4 5 18%).” That means jockey Florent Geroux (last names are listed first) has ridden 40 horses at the race meet and has recorded seven wins, four seconds, and five thirds. His win percentage stands at 18%.

Generally speaking, a win percentage of 15% is respectable, while 20% is strong and 25% is excellent. Win rates of 30% or higher are seen on occasion, though usually not for long periods of time at major tracks.

[YEAR] 0 0% 0% 0.00

Below the jockey’s name is their riding record for the current year. It might read “2021 689 21% 49% -0.57.” This means the jockey has ridden 689 races in 2021, won 21%, and placed third or better (in the money) 49% of the time. If you had wagered $2 on every one of the jockey’s 689 mounts, your return on investment (ROI) would have been -0.57, or $1.43 for every $2 wager.

Obviously a positive ROI is encouraging, though it can be thrown off by a longshot winner or two. The win percentage is often a more valuable metric. An in-the-money percentage of 45% or better is typical for top jockeys, though some eclipse the 50% mark and even approach 60%.

Strong jockey stats will be preceded by a “+” symbol in the Brisnet Ultimate Past Performance, such as “+2021.”

JKYw/ [running style] types

Each horse in a race is assigned a running style, based on their past performances. Brisnet running styles include “E” (Early), “E/P” (Early/Presser), “P” (Presser), and “S” (Sustain or Closer). If the jockey you are analyzing is named to ride an “S” type in the race your handicapping, his or her record guiding “S” types will be listed in the past performances.

The way the stats are listed — “JKYw/ S types 235 17% 43% -0.67” — makes them directly comparable to the jockey’s overall record for the year.

JKYw/ Trn L60

How has the jockey fared when teaming up with a particular trainer? If you’re curious about the specific jockey/trainer combination, you’re in luck — their achievements together over the last 60 days are outlined in the “JKYw/ Trn L60” row.

If you see numbers like “JKYw/ Trn L60 17 29% 71% +0.15,” you know you’re looking at a hot combination — the jockey and trainer in question have teamed up 17 times over the last 60 days, won at a 29% rate, and finished in the top three 71% of the time. Betting this team every time would have produced a profitable return of $2.15 for every $2 invested.

The JKYw/ Trn L60 angle can be especially helpful if a trainer has entered more than one horse in a race. If Horse A will be ridden by a jockey who wins at a 36% rate with the trainer, while Horse B is to be ridden by a jockey who wins at a 10% rate with the trainer, you have a clue Horse A might be the stable’s top choice.

JKYw/ [race conditions]

Some jockeys ride better under certain race conditions. Some win at a higher rate in sprints than routes or in dirt races rather than turf races. The good news is, jockey stats are often broken down by surface and distance.

If you are handicapping a turf race, Brisnet Ultimate Past Performances will provide handy data like “JKYw/ Turf 337 15% 42% -0.41.” These stats can be directly compared to the jockey’s overall record for the year, to get a feel for their nuanced strengths.

Armed with an increased knowledge of jockey stats, the next bet you cash might be the result of a positive jockey angle. Good luck!