Kentucky Derby-winning Black Jockeys Recognized : Official Travel Source

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Kentucky Derby-winning Black Jockeys Recognized

Kentucky Derby-winning Black Jockeys Recognized

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 24, 2024) – This year’s historic celebration of the 150th Run for the Roses commemorates not only America’s longest continuously running sporting event, but also pays homage to the historic Black jockeys from the early days of horse racing.

In celebration of the 150th Kentucky Derby and the 20th anniversary of Gallopalooza, the organizations orchestrated the creation of 150 horse statues, including 11 sponsored by Louisville Tourism to artistically represent the 11 Black jockeys who have won the Kentucky Derby.

To honor their legacy, the Louisville Visitor Centers will display 11 miniature horses through September. Currently, the collection can be viewed at the brand-new Airport Welcome Center, with part of the collection shifting to the downtown Louisville Visitor Information Center when it reopens in late April following an extensive renovation.

These 11 horses were painted by local artists and tell the stories of Louisville’s exceptional Black history-makers, starting with the first jockey to win the inaugural Kentucky Derby in 1875:

Oliver Lewis – Aristides (1875) – Artist: Darryl Tucker
William Walker – Baden-Baden (1877) – Artist: Humberto Lahera
George Garrett Lewis – Fonso (1880) – Artist: Aesha Jackson
Babe Hurd – Apollo (1882) – Artist: Simone Renae Brown
Isaac Murphy – Buchanan (1884), Riley (1890), Kingman (1891) – Artist: Victor Sweatt
Erskine Henderson – Joe Cotton (1885) – Artist: Keith Anderson
Isaac Lewis – Montrose (1887) – Artist: Ken Burney
Alonzo “Lonnie” Clayton – Azra (1892) – Artist: Kacy Jackson
James “Soup” Perkins – Halma (1895) – Artist: Maria Beltran
Willie Simms – Ben Brush (1896), Plaudit (1898) – Artist: Sheila Fox
Jimmy Winkfield – His Eminence (1901), Alan-a-Dale (1902) – Artist: Winnie Tataw

“When guests visit Louisville, we want to impart the stories and contributions these notable horsemen had on the sport of Thoroughbred racing. Louisville would not be the creative, innovative, passionate city that it is without its diverse community and heritage,” said Cleo Battle, Louisville Tourism President and CEO. “This is a great opportunity to celebrate and shine a light on our city’s rich history.”

To learn more about Louisville’s Black Heritage in Racing, please see the Kentucky Derby Museum’s website or visit the museum’s permanent exhibit which includes oral history interviews, artwork and a collection of artifacts from the early days when Black horsemen dominated the sport, to the Jim Crow era that led to the exclusion of Black jockeys and today’s modern times.

First launched in 2004 and brought back in 2009 and 2015, Gallopalooza instills and increases civic pride by uniting the community through the display of artistically created horse (and julep cup) statues. For more information and to learn more, visit

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