Black Kentucky Derby jockey will be first since 2013
This year’s Kentucky Derby will include a Black jockey for the first time since 2013, the Associated Press reported.
Kendrick Carmouche is now one of the few Black riders in the sport of competitive horse racing, and one of few to compete in the first leg of the Triple Crown horse racing series, over the past century.
“As a Black rider getting to the Kentucky Derby, I hope it inspires a lot of people because my road wasn’t easy to get there and I never quit,” Carmouche said, according to the AP.
He added, “What I’ve been wanting all my career is to inspire people and make people know that it’s not about color. It’s about how successful you are in life and how far you can fight to get to that point.”
Carmouche is making history as one of only two Black jockeys born in the U.S. to compete in the Derby since 1921. The last time a Black jockey participated in the race was in 2000 when Marlon St. Julien competed in the annual event.
Black riders used to dominate the sport back in earlier centuries. In the first ever Kentucky Derby, held in 1875, 13 of the 15 jockeys were Black.
Chris Goodlett, a historian at the Kentucky Derby Museum, attributed the decline in Black representation to segregation and Jim Crow laws, AP reported.
Carmouche said if he were to win this year’s derby, “it would touch a lot of people,” the AP reports.
“A lot of people will be crying, a lot of people will be happy and a lot of happy tears.”
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