As if California Chrome’s Derby win wasn’t a good enough story . . . Victor Espinoza, who piloted the colt to victory, donates 10 percent of all his earnings to the City of Hope, a charity that benefits children who have cancer.
“One day I went to visit some kids in the hospital who had cancer and it was heartbreaking,” he said. “I broke down and cried seeing all these young kids who can’t have the life we have. It changed my life seeing 6- and 8- and 10-year-olds sick with cancer like that. I just hope with the money I earned today, I can make a difference in at least one of those kids’ lives.”
How much does a jockey earn? Most jockeys are paid a small amount per ride and then 10% of the prize money. As the jockey of the Kentucky Derby winner, Espinoza will make about $144,280 since the purse or winning is $1,442,800 (I’ve seen other reports that it’s 1,200,00, but will go with the higher number). He may also get bonuses and endorsement offers from advertisers and sponsors.
But jockeys have expenses too. 25% of the purse will go to his agent, who is responsible for picking and negotiating his ride. At least another 5% goes to his valet, the person who gets his gear in place. That leaves about $100,00 for Espinoza . . . and probably $10,000 for the children at the City of Hope.