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Although some jockeys have won purses in the million dollar range, even the highest-paid jockeys in America earn less than the top performers in other sports. Generally, they receive mount fees and a percentage of the purse or overall winnings of a race. For example, if a purse is $3,000, a jockey usually gets 10 percent, or $300 if his or her horse wins the race. Jockeys receive smaller percentages for placing or showing (second and third places), and only receive the basic mount fee if the horse isn't in the top three.

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