Triple Crown Jobs

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Secretariat, Churchill Downs, Smarty Jones, The Kentucky Derby, War Admiral, The Triple Crown -- they're synonymous with the thrill and triumph of horse racing to millions of fans. But the combination of gambling, celebrity sightings and a renewed interest in a horse named Seabiscuit have led to a surge in racing industry fanfare.

With a fan base of 78 million adults, interest in thoroughbred racing grew by 5.1 percent in 2004, the highest registered growth by any sport that year, according to an ESPN Sports Poll. In fact, it's the only sport whose fan base has increased in each of the last five years -- from 31.4 percent in 1999 to 37.4 percent in 2004.

If you are one of thoroughbred racing's millions of fans, perhaps you've entertained the idea of a career related to the sport. Here are five options.


1. Jockey

A jockey's duty is to get a horse to the finish line. He analyzes a horse's future and past performance by weighing in strategy for race, ability and peculiarities of his horse and the other horses in the competition. There is no true salary definition for jockeys and earnings vary based on performance, purse size, race and track. After they win their part of the race purse, they also divide their winnings between the valet, groom and manager.

The top 100 jockeys earned between $2.8 and $22.2 million in 2004, or an average of $5.7 million.


2. Trainer

Horse trainers are coaches often hired by a racehorse owner to condition the horse. They do this by accustoming the animal to human voice and contact, and conditioning the animal to respond to commands using techniques like mental stimulation, physical exercise, and husbandry care. In addition to their hands-on work with the animals, trainers often oversee other aspects of the animal's care, such as diet preparation. Like jockeys, thoroughbred trainers salaries vary and depend on the performance of the horse, purse size, race and track.

In 2004, the top 100 trainers earned between $1.6 million and $17.5, with an average of $3.5 million.


3. Gaming and Sportsbook Writer or Runner

You couldn't let your money ride on the sport if it weren't for these guys. Gaming and sportsbook writers and runners take bets on sporting events. They calculate and distribute winnings, pick up tickets from patrons, collect bets, or receive, verify and record patrons' cash wagers. Gaming and sportsbook writers and runners must have at least a high school diploma or GED and also receive on-the-job training.

Gaming and sports book writers and runners work for hourly wages and earn an average salary of $18,660.


4. Fashion Designer

It's practically against the law for a lady to go to the Kentucky Derby without her hat. Fashion designers design clothing and accessories, including all those eye-catching hats. Fashion designers can be self-employed, design for individual clients, cater to specialty stores or high-fashion department stores, or work for apparel manufacturers.

There are 15,000 fashion designers in the US and median annual salary for fashion designers was $51,290 in 2002.


5. Bartender

What would Derby Day be without those Mint Juleps? There are 463,000 bartenders in the US making sure their customers have their favorite cocktail, beer or wine. They must know a wide range of drink recipes and be able to mix drinks accurately, quickly and without waste. Most bartenders serve and interact with patrons, so customer service is key they should be friendly and enjoy mingling with customers.

In 2002, bartenders had a median hourly income (including tips) of $7.21. Up to 50 percent of a bartender's earnings may come from tips, which depend on variables including bar type, customer base, time of day, speed and demeanor.


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Copyright 2005. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authority.

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