Jockey Oliver Lewis Won the 1st Kentucky Derby 147 Years Ago (LISTEN) –

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by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

In the wake of the recent Kentucky Derby upset, today we take a brief look at Oliver Lewis, the jockey who won the very first Derby, and the history of Black jockeys at the event.

To read about it, read on. To hear about it, press PLAY:


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Hey, this is Lori Lakin Hutcherson, founder and editor in chief of goodblacknews.org, here to share with you a daily drop of for Monday, May 9th, 2022, based on the “A Year of Page-A-Day Calendar” published by Workman Publishing.

Jockey Oliver Lewis won the inaugural Kentucky Derby  atop the colt Aristides on May 17, 1875. One of thirteen Black jockeys in the fifteen-strong field, Lewis set an American record with his time of two minutes, 37.75 seconds over the mile and a half distance. (For the record, the Kentucky Derby became a 1.25 mile race in 1896).

Although Blacks dominated horseracing in the late 1800s, winning fifteen of the first twenty-eight Kentucky Derbies, by the early 1900s, they’d been pushed out of the sport, which also had become less accessible to the working classes.

James Winkfield won the Kentucky Derby in 1901 and 1902, but after 1921 there were no Black riders in the race until Marlon St. Julien in 2000.

To learn more about Oliver Lewis and the long heritage of African American people in horse racing, including the recent group of Black women owners who made history at the annual Kentucky Oaks Day horse racing event in Louisville when their horse “Seven Scents” scored first place during competition, you can watch the Kentucky Derby video on the history of Black Jockeys on YouTube, and check out the links provided in today’s show notes and in the episode’s full transcript posted on goodblacknews.org.

This has been a daily drop of , written, produced and hosted by me, Lori Lakin Hutcherson.

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