You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jockeys

Animal Planet bills the new series “Jockeys” as a docu-soap, and it’s too bad the mix doesn’t include a bit more “docu” and somewhat less soap.

Animal Planet bills the new series “Jockeys” as a docu-soap, and it’s too bad the mix doesn’t include a bit more “docu” and somewhat less soap. For anybody mildly interested in horseracing, details surrounding the sport — the high risk to jockeys, their diminutive size, how they get paid — are fascinating enough, but the program also focuses on personalities and characters, from the cocky young guy to the couple balancing their shared vocation with a relationship. All told, the show still looks pretty good out of the starting gate, but one suspects it may fade down the stretch.

Weighing less than 115 pounds, jockeys have virtually no protection as they hurtle down the track atop 1,200-pound thoroughbreds. Less understood, perhaps, is that their livelihood relies directly on finishing in the money, with one rider noting that he clears roughly $18 on a losing mount.

With $350 million wagered during an event like Oak Tree at Santa Anita, the stakes are high — yielding, as the second episode captures quite literally, the thrill of victory and agony of defeat. The track setting also produces plenty of colorful characters, among them a gambler named “Jimmy the Hat.”

Yet “Jockeys” plunges beyond its documentary elements to highlight soap opera-ish matters and the customary reality-TV tics, determined to turn parts of the storytelling into “Desperate Horsewives.” These flourishes include tensions involving certain riders and the plight of Chantal Sutherland, a Canadian who has relocated to try making a go of things with boyfriend/fellow jockey Mike Smith. To further emphasize the point, each jockey is given a handy label (“the icon,” “the hotshot,” etc.) to shorthand them in recognizable boxes.

For all that, “Jockeys” is a clever concept for Animal Planet — finding a way to connect human quirks with the channel’s four-footed niche, as it has with such recent series as “Living With the Wolfman” and “Whale Wars.” And presented in a half-hour package, it at least has the advantage of moving fast — a pretty good idea, come to think of it, not just for those within the show but for those producing it.

Jockeys

(Series; Animal Planet, Fri. Feb. 6, 9 p.m.)

Production: Produced by Go Go Luckey. Executive producers, Liz Bronstein, Tina Gazzerro, Gary Auerbach, Jason R. Carey; supervising producer, Margaret Goodman; supervising story producer, Charlie Newton; talent producer, Jennifer Mullen.

Crew: Camera, Ali Moghadas; lead editor, Frank Lagnese; music supervisor, Jon Ernst. 30 MIN.

More TV

  • 'Hamilton's' Brandon Victor Dixon Joins 'Jesus

    'Hamilton' Alum Brandon Victor Dixon Joins NBC's 'Jesus Christ Superstar Live'

    Animal Planet bills the new series “Jockeys” as a docu-soap, and it’s too bad the mix doesn’t include a bit more “docu” and somewhat less soap. For anybody mildly interested in horseracing, details surrounding the sport — the high risk to jockeys, their diminutive size, how they get paid — are fascinating enough, but the […]

  • Seven Seconds

    ‘Seven Seconds’ Boss on Depicting the Human Stories Behind Headlines

    Animal Planet bills the new series “Jockeys” as a docu-soap, and it’s too bad the mix doesn’t include a bit more “docu” and somewhat less soap. For anybody mildly interested in horseracing, details surrounding the sport — the high risk to jockeys, their diminutive size, how they get paid — are fascinating enough, but the […]

  • TV Ratings: Winter Olympics Near Low

    TV Ratings: Winter Olympics Near Low on Second Wednesday

    Animal Planet bills the new series “Jockeys” as a docu-soap, and it’s too bad the mix doesn’t include a bit more “docu” and somewhat less soap. For anybody mildly interested in horseracing, details surrounding the sport — the high risk to jockeys, their diminutive size, how they get paid — are fascinating enough, but the […]

  • SOUTH KOREA OUTMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Netflix, Korean Talent Giant to Launch ‘YG Future Strategy Office’

    Animal Planet bills the new series “Jockeys” as a docu-soap, and it’s too bad the mix doesn’t include a bit more “docu” and somewhat less soap. For anybody mildly interested in horseracing, details surrounding the sport — the high risk to jockeys, their diminutive size, how they get paid — are fascinating enough, but the […]

  • CBS correspondent Margaret Brennan is the

    Margaret Brennan Named Anchor of CBS' 'Face the Nation'

    Animal Planet bills the new series “Jockeys” as a docu-soap, and it’s too bad the mix doesn’t include a bit more “docu” and somewhat less soap. For anybody mildly interested in horseracing, details surrounding the sport — the high risk to jockeys, their diminutive size, how they get paid — are fascinating enough, but the […]

  • Amy Poehler - Parks and Recreation

    'Parks and Recreation' Team Rips Into NRA for Using Amy Poehler GIF

    Animal Planet bills the new series “Jockeys” as a docu-soap, and it’s too bad the mix doesn’t include a bit more “docu” and somewhat less soap. For anybody mildly interested in horseracing, details surrounding the sport — the high risk to jockeys, their diminutive size, how they get paid — are fascinating enough, but the […]

  • amazon-logo

    Amazon Sets Spanish-Language Content Pact With Televisa (EXCLUSIVE)

    Animal Planet bills the new series “Jockeys” as a docu-soap, and it’s too bad the mix doesn’t include a bit more “docu” and somewhat less soap. For anybody mildly interested in horseracing, details surrounding the sport — the high risk to jockeys, their diminutive size, how they get paid — are fascinating enough, but the […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content