Can a horse win the 2013 Kentucky Derby without a rider? The incident at the Gulfstream Park Handicap during the first week of March definitely raises this question. As it appears, the internet has a lot to contribute to the jockey-less horse issue and what happens to your bet if the horse is unplaced.
Is a horse finishing first with no rider common?
During the first week of March, a horse crossed the finish line in first place without a jockey at Gulfstream Park. Does this kind of thing happen frequently? In fact, the horse Fort Larned finishing first without a rider is not that uncommon. Other incidents include a 2009 race at Belmont Park when horse Phone Jazz lost her jockey, Jean-Luc Samyn, at the gate. Does this imply that a jockey is unnecessary?
Do horses need jockeys at all?
Last year, the Wall Street Journal posed the question of whether or not horses actually need jockeys. As many races in the past have proven, the horse does not reach the finish line successfully because the jockey is urging it on. For that matter, do horses need the extra weight of a saddle and jockey along with the constant whipping? After all, camel racing has replaced human jockeys with robotic ones. Is it possible that Churchill Downs will go hi-tech and get rid of jockeys altogether? At this point in time, Kentucky Derby organizers have stated to writers Pia Catton and Chris Herring that they do not plan to replace human jockeys in the near future.
Can a horse win if it does not have a rider?
In the annual Palio horse race in Siena, Italy, a horse does not need a rider in order to win. Nevertheless, it is commonly stated that a horse that finishes a race without a rider is disqualified. If you are betting on the Kentucky Derby, a Kentucky law concerning horse racing, 810 KAR 1:016 Section 11, states that a horse that is unseated, “shall be declared unplaced." Sadly, this means that the horse that finishes the Kentucky Derby without a jockey cannot be a winner.
Do you get a bet refund on an unseated horse?
When a horse loses its jockey, does this mean that you will get your money back on your bet? As far as getting refunded on a wager where the horse became rider-less, the bad news is that each racetrack has different policies on unplaced horses. In some cases, you do not get a refund since your horse is considered unplaced. On the other hand, in 2012, jockey Matt Moore was injured when he became unseated at one of the Woodbine races. The track called the race a “no contest” and refunded all bets except the doubles, triples, and pick four. The bets that were not refunded were paid “onto all.”
Helping jockeys injured by horseracing
The public enjoys stories about horses finishing the race in first place without the rider, but these types of headlines are often accompanied with updates about the jockey’s injuries. This is especially true if the rider is trampled by other horses. To support jockeys that have chronic long-term disabilities associated with horseracing, the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund was created. Each year, they collect donations from private donors and distribute it to former jockeys in need.
8 first place winning rider-less horses
2013 - Gulfstream Park, Gulfstream Park Handicap, Fort Larned and jockey Brian Hernandez Jr.
2012 - Australia, Rosehill Gardens, Shadowofyoursmile and jockey Kathy O'Hara.
2012 - Aqueduct, Elle’s Vision and jockey Junior Alvarado.
2009 - Belmont Park, Phone Jazz and jockey Jean-Luc Samyn.
2005 - Hollywood Park, Breeder’s Cup Futurity, Disco’s Son and jockey Jerry Bailey.
2002 - Saratoga Breeders’ Cup Handicap, Gander and jockey Mike Smith.
1973 - Australia, Flying Welter Handicap, Kembla Grange, NSW, Hot Chestnut with jockey Ray Skelkrig (was awarded first place for being dragged with the reins across the line).
1904 - Hawthorne Racetrack, Allie Virgie and “Jockey Larsen.”