Join us for the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby today at 6:20 p.m. EDT/5:30 p.m. CT Watch it live here on NBC.
Kevin Krigger: Born: October, 23, 1983 – ST CROIX, VI USA
Kevin with his horse GOLDENCENTS
Associated Press–Journeyman Kevin Krigger, 29, is the jockey for Goldencents, whom he has ridden in all six of the colt’s races.
The Kentucky Derby’s 139th running is this weekend, and it will feature a sight that’s been a rarity in the race for much of the past century — an African-American jockey.
“Everything that comes with the Derby right now for me is not the same as the majority of the other riders, or any other riders, because I’m the only African-American rider in the race,” Kevin Krigger says.
Krigger was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but he’s been racing in California. He’s the first African-American jockey to ride in the Derby in more than a decade.
“All my life I grew up watching races and I knew there weren’t too many African-American jockeys,” Krigger says. “Being African-American is just a part of who I am.”
Krigger will be riding Goldencents, a favorite in the race. And he’s confident about his chances: “I’m going to be the first African-American to win the Kentucky Derby since 1902. And that’s a hell of a milestone.”
Yes, he said the first since 1902. African-American jockeys are rare now, but they used to dominate the sport. Most of the jockeys in the first Derby were black, including the winner. In later years, there were legendary black jockeys who won multiple Derbys and earned international fame.
“That was the face of horse racing until the latter 1890s, when it all started to change,” says Maryjean Wall, a longtime horse racing writer who teaches at the University of Kentucky.
Jim Crow, segregation and African-Americans departing the rural South for cities all contributed to a white takeover of horse racing in the 20th century. Christopher Klein at History.com tells us more: