Jockeys perform the most perilous job in sports yet are among the most underrated athletes in the world. They put their lives on the line every time they get on a horse, often riding seven or eight horses a day, five days a week. Most must diet to keep their weight at levels lower than the average twelve-year-old boy, yet they need immense strength to control thousand-pound Thoroughbreds.
A select group of riders has risen to the top of their sport, sought after by racing's leading owners and trainers and paired with the sport's greatest equine stars. In Ride of Their Lives, Lenny Shulman profiles riders whose love of racing and desire to win have propelled them to the top echelon their profession. Pat Day, Gary Stephens, Jerry Bailey, Corey Nakatani, and Laffit Pincay, Jr. are among the jockeys who share their stories of how they became race riders and what it is like to deal with the pressures of riding fragile, willful racehorses at top speeds day in and day out. They also tell what it is like to win the Kentucky Derby and just miss capturing the Triple Crown.
In this updated edition, Shulman profiles Kendrick Carmouche, who had five straight seasons with more than 200 victories and in 2021 became the first Black jockey to compete in the Kentucky Derby in seven years.
Lenny Shulman is an Emmy Award-winning writer who has worked extensively in TV and film as well as for magazines and newspapers across the country. For 20 years he served as features editor for BloodHorse magazine, the Thoroughbred industry’s foremost trade publication. He is the author of Head to Head: Conversations with a Generation of Horse Racing Legends and Justify: 111 Days to Triple Crown Glory.