Jockeys received the treatment more commonly associated with boxers or professional wrestlers at Saratoga when walking out to pyrotechnics before the Alabama Stakes on Saturday – and it could provide inspiration for similar initiatives in Britain.
They were introduced to the crowd individually, with a detailed rundown of their achievements, as they walked down to the parade ring on a red carpet to loud music and high-fives from the crowd.
A video of the introductions was shared widely on social media and was praised by British jockey Sophie Doyle, who has ridden more than 200 winners in the US since moving there in 2013.
“It was a great idea to introduce the jockeys to the public in this fashion,” said Doyle. “It’s something new and different. Why not have fun and enjoy ourselves?
“I thought it was totally awesome, especially as it was my first time riding there – what an introduction to racing at Saratoga.”
The British Champions Series has been welcoming jockeys to the parade ring in a series of races under pennants featuring details of the runner and rider, and Rod Street, chief executive of Great British Racing (GBR), believes more initiatives would be a good idea.
“Jockeys and horses are the stars of our sport and celebrating them on course in front of fans and television cameras has to be a good thing” he said.
“It seems to go down well and adds a bit of theatre to the occasion. You only have to see how the likes of Frankie Dettori and Bryony Frost are received to understand how important they are to fans.”
Street is open to doing more to promote jockeys on big racedays but admits there would be logistical challenges to overcome.
“Everybody would have to be on board. There are also operational matters to consider because gaps between races are pretty tight and all the participants have a lot on their plates,” he added.
“I also think creating more impactful moments should be reserved for the biggest occasions or they lose their value. Any new format of introducing the stars of the show should be synchronised with the broadcaster to reach the largest possible audience.” – racingpost.com