The Bottom Line
- A truly amazing story about one of America's greatest horsemen
- Detailed account of the Maestro's many struggles, both on and off the track
- Winkfield is an inspiration to people of all ethnic backgrounds
- No fault was found with this work. A fitting tribute by a top racing writer
- Winkfield got his start in his native Kentucky as a share cropper.
- His first experience as a jockey was at Latonia Racetrack, considered the "big time"
- He traveled around the country to ride, ending up in New York, Chicago, and Louisiana
- Despite winning 2 straight Kentucky Derbys, losing when trying for his third turned trainers away
- Unable to get live mounts he joined the exodus of American jockeys to Europe, settling in Russia
- Here he was admired for his riding and training skills, and was respected by the royal family
- The rise of the Bolsheviks forced yet another exodus, this time to France via Poland
- After setting up a successful stable at Maisons-Laffitte, the Nazi invasion shut down French racing
- His life came full circle when he left France to escape the Nazis, returning to America
- Finally in 1961 Churchill Downs invited him to the Kentucky Derby as a special guest.
Guide Review - Black Maestro by Joe Drape
He won the Derby in 1901 and 1902, but when going for the three-peat in 1903, an apparently bad ride aboard the heavy favorite Early caused a quick downfall in his career. Trainers ceased to give him live mounts, so he crossed the Atlantic to Europe and restarted his career in Czarist Russia. He was a popular figure in Moscow, as both a jockey and a trainer, but with the start of the Russian Revolution, racing in that country was shut down. He fled to Poland then France, and again opened a public stable out of Maisons-Laffitte. World War II and the rise of the Nazi's again forced him to flee, as the German army commissioned French tracks and training centers as barracks as well as stole top French bloodstock, bringing them back to Germany. Winkfield returned to America, but when he died, he was buried in France with a headstone marked "Moscow", in Cyrillic, showing his appreciation for the city that loved him most.