Photographer Barbara Livingston is used to taking shots of jockeys in action, but for the 2012 Thoroughbred Jockey Calendar the Eclipse Award winner focused on something else entirely: the conditioned and fit physique of those in charge of piloting their equine co-stars.
In an attempt to offer up a different side of horse racing, 12 top jockeys stepped up to the challenge of turning model for a day.
Calvin Borel, Shaun Bridgmohan, Javier Castellano, Kent Desormeaux, Ramon Dominguez, Garrett Gomez, Channing Hill, Julien Leparoux, Edgar Prado, Mike Smith, Terry Thompson and John Velazquez all posed, some with out shirts, to both promote the sport of horse racing and raise money for a good cause. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF).
The calendar was the brainchild of Christine Sabia, president of Black Liner Productions, a marketing firm located in Connecticut. Sabia felt there was not enough focus on the jockeys as athletes, so she teamed with Livingston, a two-time Eclipse Award winner and one of America's most highly regarded racing photographers, to shoot the photos.
"Generally it's all about the horses, but to us, the jockeys and the horses work as a team," Sabia explained.
Sabia asked Desormeaux, a friend and client, to help make the calendar happen.
"Without Kent's help, I don't think this project would have been possible, he was instrumental in pulling together the jocks; working with Kent, Barbara, and all the jockeys was great fun," Sabia said.
"I've actually spent my professional lifetime photographing jockeys, but just as part of the coverage of the sport, but as far as a project focusing on jockeys, this is the first I can remember and certainly the first on this big a scale," Livingston said. "We already know what they look like with silks on. This is to show them sexy as well as incredibly talented, and it was a lot of fun."
"I'm used to my picture being taken when I'm in action doing my job, and this was a little different," said Gomez, one of the featured jockeys who is also on the cover. "But working with Barbara and Christine made it very fun. It feels really good any time that I can be part of anything to benefit a charity."
The calendar, which ships in June, is on sale now for $13.99 plus shipping, at www.blacklinerproductions.com. The calendar will also be on sale at Churchill Downs, Santa Anita and other racetracks.