When you look at the Kentucky Derby and this weeks Belmont Stakes with all white jockeys, horse owners and fans in the stands, you might be suprised to know that these annual, internationally televised, accplaimed events holds their very existence to African Americans.
You’ll may be even more surprise know that the winner of the first Kentucky Derby was Black.
AMERICAN JOCKEYS IN THE BELMONT
Hall of Famer Ed Brown became the first African-American jockey to win the Belmont Stakes in 1870 aboard Kingfisher. Following his riding career, Brown became a successful trainer and in 1877 he trained Kentucky Derby winner Baden Baden, who third in the 11th running of the Belmont Stakes. Born in Lexington, Ky. in 1850, Brown died of tuberculosis in nearby
Louisville on May 11, 1906.
The only African-American jockey to win the Belmont Stakes twice was Hall of Famer Willie Simms with Commanche (1893) and Henry of Navarre (1894). Simms is also known for introducing the “short” style of riding by leaning forward, crouched over the withers with his feet tucked into short stirrups. He is the only black rider to win all three Triple Crown events; he won the Kentucky Derby with Ben Brush (1896) and Plaudit (1898) and the Preakness with Sly Fox (1898). Simms’ record in the Belmont also included one second-place finish (Handspring in 1896), two thirds (Nanki Poo in 1895 and Octagon in 1897) and
a fourth (Chaos in 1890).
Jockey Oliver Lewis, who captured the inaugural running of the Kentucky Derby in 1875 on Aristides, finished second, two lengths behind Calvin, in the ninth running of the Belmont that year. In 1889, jockey Anthony “Tony” Hamilton rode odds-on favorite Diablo to a second-place finish in the 23rd running of the Belmont. During his career, Hamilton won many major races including the Brooklyn (Exile in 1889 and Hornpipe in 1895), Metropolitan (Counter Tenor in 1896) and Suburban (Lazzarone in 1895) Handicaps, as well as the country’s oldest stakes race, the Phoenix Handicap (Sligo in 1881).
Beaver Dam, New York native Shelby “Pike” Barnes won the 24th running of the Belmont in 1890 aboard Burlington. Barnes’ riding career was cut short due to problems maintaining his weight. Fourth- and last-place finisher R. Cooper was ridden by James Lee, whose record of sweeping the entire six-race card at Churchill Downs on June 5, 1907 still stands. Among his career wins were the 1908 Travers with Dorante and the 1909 California Derby with High Private.
For smother viewing click start then click stop allowing the gray line to fill to the far right.
The Below excerpts where taken from a article published by the University Of Kentucky School Of Agriculture:
Lexington played a significant role in the early history of horse racing and the equine industry, but few people are aware of the African-American jockeys, trainers, grooms, and handlers who helped shape the Bluegrass' horse heritage.
Located on East Seventh Street, the cemetery was built in 1869 by former slaves who were members of the Union Benevolent Society No. 2. This site is the final resting place of at least 80 known African-Americans who held a prominent place in the early years of Thoroughbred racing.
Some of the notable individuals include Oliver Lewis, winning jockey of the first Kentucky Derby; James "Soup" Perkins, who is tied as the youngest winning jockey of the Kentucky Derby; and Abraham "Abe" Perry, trainer of the winner of the 1885 Kentucky, Tennessee, and Coney Island derbies. Isaac Murphy, who rode three Kentucky Derby winners and holds the all-time highest winning percentage of any jockey, was originally buried there. His remains are now located at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Just like golf, as the winning purses for the Kentucky Derby became bigger, Black jockeys like golf caddies began to dissappear. Black people must understand that in America, money means power, that is why we must begin to use our $1 trillion buying power to change our future. It's in our own hands.