Most people don’t know the rich history of black jockeys in the Kentucky Derby and other big horse races across America. In fact, 13 of the 15 jockeys to appear in the first Kentucky Derby were African American. This is the story of the last black man to win the Kentucky Derby, Jimmy Winkfield. He won back-to-back Derbys in 1901 and 1902.
At the time, the top jockeys were all black, so what happened? Racism and big money led to white jockeys pushing blacks out. It’s ugly and sad. This takes us back to the reparations debate, where numerous opportunities for building black wealth were interfered with by racism, death threats and black people being run off of their property and opportunities. If this had not happened, there would be many wealthy black families in horse racing today.