Jockey character jug produced by Arnart of New York, New York, circa 1955. A jockey is a professional who rides racehorses at racetracks. Horse races, popular today throughout most of the Western World, were probably contested as early as 1500 B.C. in Egypt. The first public racecourse opened in London about 1174. Today, the most famous races are the Epsom Derby and Grand National Steeplechase in England, and the Kentucky Derby and Breeder's Cup in the U.S. The 130 pound jockey is an integral part of these races as he guides his 2,000 pound steed around the course, often in dangerous peril of injury or death. The colors of our modern day jockey originate from the decorated tunics worn by Roman charioteers in races held at the hippodromes. Dressed today in red and yellow silks, this veteran rider dreams of how he will urge his thoroughbred down the final stretch to pass the finishing post in that coveted first place position.