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The Fast and Fearless Life of a Jockey



The Fast and Fearless Life of a Jockey
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.14

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    arduous, equine, journeyman, valet, asterisk, possibility, based, generally, maintain, mounts, successful, therefore, unknown, phrase, organization, necessarily
     content words:    Kentucky Derby, Mike Luzzi, Garrett Gomez, United States, Eclipse Award, Outstanding Jockey, Official National Thoroughbred Racing Hall, Karen Rogers, New York


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The Fast and Fearless Life of a Jockey
By Colleen Messina
  

1     You have probably heard the expression "good things come in small packages." This phrase applies perfectly to the athletes of one equestrian sport. Jockeys prove that a lot of power can be packed into a small frame. Most jockeys are small, but they are also incredibly strong!
 
2     Staying small is a requirement for jockeys, and one of their biggest challenges is to maintain the right weight. Jockeys usually weigh between 108 and 118 pounds. There is an assigned weight for each race that includes the combined weight of the jockey and his or her equipment. For example, in the Kentucky Derby, the assigned weight is 126 pounds. While jockeys must watch their weight carefully, there are no height limits. Most jockeys are between 4' 10" and 5' 6" tall.
 
3     Jockeys must be 16 years old to get a riding license in their state. Both men and women can become jockeys. At age 16, future jockeys can start an apprenticeship. An apprentice jockey has a nickname - he or she is known as a bug. This nickname comes from the asterisk after the apprentice's name on the race program. It looks like a bug! When jockeys become journeyman riders, they lose their bug.

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