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Jockeys - new TV series on Animal Planet

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Jockeys - a new series on Animal Planet

Jockeys - a new series on Animal Planet premieres on February 6, 2009

© Animal Planet
Updated February 05, 2009
Animal Planet's newest series, "Jockeys", premieres this Friday night, February 6, at 9PM ET/PT. This 12-episode docu-soap chronicles the lives and careers of 7 members of the Santa Anita jockey colony, each weighing around 112 pounds, riding 1,200 pound horses in their attempt to win a share of more than $35 million in purse money.

Cameras take viewers on and off the track, following American jockeys Jon Court, Aaron Gryder, Mike Smith, and Joe Talamo, as well as Alex Solis originally from Panama, Kayla Stra from Australia, and Chantal Sutherland representing Canada. Retired rider Darrell Haire, the West Coast Regional Manager of the Jockey's Guild, is also featured in the series. You will see how these athletes train both physically and mentally for each race. The series was filmed during the 2008 Oak Tree meeting, ending off with the Breeders' Cup World Championships.

The pressure is high, given that this is the only pro sport where if you don't win, the pay is meager, but more importantly, how many other sports require an ambulance to follow the participants around. These men and women risk bone fractures, trampling, paralysis and even death knowing that virtually every year, an average of two jockeys die while riding races in North America. Meet these superstars whose success depends on knocking out the competition. Big winners, who have won horse racing's richest purses, live beside jockeys who have never won a race and struggle to make next month's rent. It is cut-throat competition, and cameras follow the action from pre-race jitters to the finish line, and everything in between. In a world dominated by fierce competitors, strong bonds and extraordinary risk, Jockeys presents this beautiful, storied, thrilling world as it's never been seen before.

Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager of Animal Planet, said, "The world of the race track is complex and controversial. Horse racing is one of the most popular sports in the country, and this series is charged with the high stakes, big risks, strong personalities and drama of the sport on and off the track. The lives of these jockeys and their mounts are on the line in every race. It's an intense existence that makes for exciting television. So little is known about what goes into becoming a jockey, but these athletes couldn’t triumph without the strength, speed and spirit of their equine partners. I think audiences will be surprised by what unfolds throughout the series."

Note that the Canadian version of Animal Planet will show "Jockeys" a day after the main network, instead premiering this Saturday night, February 7, at 9PM ET and 10PM PT.

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