April 6, 2013, was a happy day for Kevin Krigger when the 3-year-old colt he was riding, Goldencents, rallied to the finish line at the Santa Anita Derby, winning Grade 1, the $1 million Delta Jackpot and Santa Anita’s Sham Stakes ($100,000). Now he’s moving on to the Kentucky Derby next week on May 3-4, 2013. The St. Croix, U.S.V.I., native is the first African American to win the Santa Anita Derby. Hopefully, he’ll be the first to win the Kentucky Derby in 111 years.
“It’s a lifetime achievement,” Krigger tells reporters. “It’s going to mean everything to me. Every horseman dreams about getting into the Run for the Roses.”
Blacks dominated the first Kentucky Derby in 1875, 13 out of 15. We excelled in horse racing, winning 15 of the first 28 derbys. So the first celebrity athletes were actually jockeys, until Jim Crow reared its ugly head.
Find out who some of them are. –yvette caslin