Oliver Lewis rider of the first Kentucky Derby winner Aristides
Jimmy Winkfield winner of the Kentucky Derby in 1901 and 1902
After the turn of the century, racing started to be a higher profile sport, and blacks were mostly seen only as stable help. The last black jockey to win the Kentucky Derby, Jimmy Winkfield who won in both 1901 and 1902, left the US for Europe and a lucrative racing career where it is rumoured he even rode for the Czar of Russia. He became fluent in several languages before he retired with over 2300 winners to his credit. Winkfield was finally inducted in the Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2004 and in 2005 Aqueduct Racetrack in New York City renamed the Best Turn Stakes to the Jimmy Winkfield Stakes, an early prep for the Kentucky Derby.
Isaac Murphy's grave at the Kentucky Horse Park
Isaac Murphy who won 44% of all his races
Here are a few other prominent black horsemen of the 1800's:
|Ed Brown who trained 1877 Kentucky Derby winner Baden-Baden||Alonzo Clayton who won the Kentucky Derby at only 15 years of age||James Perkins who also won the Derby at only 15||Willie Simms who won the Derby twice and each of the Triple Crown races at least once.|
Patrick Husbands has won the Sovereign Award for Champion Jockey in Canada 7 times
Here are some links to some interesting articles on the web:
- Winning Black Jockeys in the Kentucky Derby - by James Robert Saunders and Monica Renae Saunders
- Black Maestro: The Epic Life of an American Legend - a bio of Jimmy Winkfield by Joe Drape
- The Great Black Jockeys: The Lives and Times of the Men Who Dominated America's First National Sport - a book by Edward Hotaling
- Africa is a Jockey - oddly named but interesting article about black jockeys in Africa and America.
- African-Americans in the Kentucky Derby - a very nice history from Churchill Downs.
- A brief history of black jockeys in the United States - from Forbes, mostly about Jimmy Winkfield.
- Black in the Saddle - mostly based on info from the Hotaling book with lots of excerpts. Really very good despite the corny title.
- African-Americans in The Sports Arena: Horse Racing - a very nice history of the first identifiable African-American sportsmen
- Abe Hawkins - from the Fair Grounds Racing Hall of Fame, arguably the first African American athlete to gain national prominence.
- African-Americans in the Racing Hall of Fame:
- More from About.com: African American History - guide Femi Lewis has more on history
Photographs by author or from the Kentucky Derby media guide.