6 Greatest African-American Men to Ride in the Kentucky Derby

Written by Jae Jones

It is very easy to forget the great accomplishments of African-American horsemen in the early years. There were many Kentucky Derbys won by black jockeys. Here are 6 great horse riders who should always be remembered.

1. Oliver Lewis
Oliver Lewis rider of the first Kentucky Derby winner. In 1875, Lewis rode in the very first Kentucky Derby on the winning horse, Aristides.

Jimmy Winkfield

2. Jimmy Winkfield
Jimmy Winkfield winner of the Kentucky Derby in 1901 and 1902. He is best remembered for being the last African American riders in the Kentucky Derby.


3. Willie Simms
Willie Simms who won the Derby twice and each of the Triple Crown races at least once. Simms became an American Hall of Fam thoroughbred horse racing jockey. His career began in 1887 and was one of the most successful careers in horse racing using the short-stirrup style.


4. James Perkins

James Perkins won the Derby at only 15-years-old.



5. Isaac Murphy

Isaac Murphy was the first jockey to win three Kentucky Derbys and won an astonishing 44% of all races he rode. Murphy is considered one of the greatest horse races of all times.


6. Alonzo Clayton

Alonzo “Lonnie” Clayton was the youngest Black jockey in 1892 to win a Kentucky Derby during his time.


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About the author

Jae Jones

Jae Jones has been writing professionally for over 10 years. She holds a degree in Business Administration, and enjoys writing on various topics.

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Rewinding To Remember