A jockey’s agent represents a rider or riders, securing mounts, making travel arrangements and helping navigate the often delicate politics of the backstretch.
The agent gets to the track early – maybe 5 a.m. — and begins hustling to line up mounts. That means going from barn to barn, talking to trainers or assistant trainers to see if they have any live prospects that might benefit from his client’s touch. Once a jockey begins to exercise a horse in the morning, it becomes much more likely that the trainer will reward him with a mount in an actual race.
The job is one part salesman, one part politician and one part handicapper, as you don’t want to forge a great new relationship only to end up on a slower horse.
As long as the jockey is happy that business is going well, the agent collects around 25 to 30 percent of the rider’s earnings. But anytime the rider decides someone else could do better with his “book” – a term used to indicate an agent is representing a rider – they can fire their current agent and switch.