Starving to win?
Most jockey's rooms have a special room just for purging or "flipping" as they call it because the practice is so common. In addition to this many spend 2-4 hours a day in the 140 degree hot box to sweat off even more weight. Others will combine this with taking laxatives or diuretics such as lasix or home-made concoctions to try and get even lighter. These practices can have grave effects on their bodies but one of the most dangerous is potassium depletion and a jockey died from that earlier this year. Some insurance companies won't even insure jockeys after they stop riding because of all the damage the dieting did to their bodies and bones. There is even early evidence that female jockeys who reduce like this have more birth defects in their babies than the general population
Many people feel the only solution to this is to raise the scale of weights so jockeys don't have to reduce so much. Others feel this will help current jocks but will induce more who would be borderline for the new weight scale to start the vicious reducing practices to become a jockey. NYRA has taken a lead in this and just last week adjusted their scale of weights up a bit. "We think it will be better for the jockeys while at the same time not putting horses at a competitive disadvantage," said Mike Lakow, NYRA racing secretary. "We believe it will be fair for all concerned parties." Hopefully other jurisdictions will follow suit.
- Forum Topic: Jockey weights and health
- Scale of Weights - the chart of weights that are supposed to be used based on distance and age of the horse
- Lowell Sun 3 part series by Paul Daley:
- The Jockeys' Guild
- TheJockey.com - all about jockeys
- InTheIrons.com - ask Kent Desormeaux questions
- Working at the Track - includes several articles with info about becoming a jockey
- Eating Disorders