BLACK JOCKEYS AND THE KENTUCKY DERBY
Surprisingly to many, African-American jockeys dominated the first runnings of the Kentucky Derby in the late 1800's; their accomplishments were largely ignored for almost a century but their legacy runs deep in the sporting roots of Americana. Who were these early American sports legends and why did they virtually disappear from the track and the history books...the forgotten heroes...this is the remarkable tale of African-American jockeys.
In their era, the best black jockeys were nationally-known sports figures and perhaps the most celebrated of them all was ISAAC MURPHY...he emerges as a superstar...the Michael Jordan of his time. JIMMY WINKFIELD, two-time Kentucky Derby winner, was the first successful American rider to make it big internationally, especially in Russia and France. JIMMY WINKFIELD's 1902 Kentucky Derby victory was the last by an African-American jockey; blacks almost vanished from the saddle due to racism, discrimination and exclusion that began in the early 1900's.
As the Ku Klux Klan swept through Kentucky, blacks retreated to positions where they were safe and that talent pool was lost. African-American jockeys won half of the first 28 runnings of the Kentucky Derby but for 79 years, not a single black jockey even had a mount in a Triple Crown race - that drought ended with the 2000 Kentucky Derby...CURULE ridden by MARLON ST. JULIEN.
Although the racial climate has changed for the better in the American sports world, it remains unlikely that African-American jockeys will ever again be as commonplace as a century ago. The historic role and the contributions of African-Americans in horse racing is enormously important not only because they were forced out of the sport but also because they were written out of its history; and to write them back into its history books now...to rediscover their role is to give encouragement to young people all over the country. We didn't discover diversity...it's all the more admirable now because it's always been there from the beginning.
|Format(s) Available:||DVD And VHS|
|Category:||U.S. & Canadian Flat Racing|