The Big 3 at the Kentucky Derby

Jimmy Winkfield, the first and only black jockey to win the Kentucky Derby, which he did in 1901 and 1902.

Jimmy Winkfield, the first and only black jockey to win the Kentucky Derby, which he did in 1901 and 1902.

A cultural anthropologist told me once that a look at jockeys and boxers will tell you who occupies the lowest rungs of American society– Irishmen gave way to black Americans who in turn gave way to recent Latino immigrants. I don’t know if I buy that theory totally, but it is rough, physical work, to be sure, not to mention dangerous. Regardless, race, class, and gender, a.k.a. the Big 3 of graduate school discussions, make themselves known almost every year in the form of op-eds, short bios, and other articles floating around myriad media outlets.

The field is changing– a Cajun man is arguably the most formidable figure in the sport right now, and a privileged woman from New Jersey is making a bid this year– but this is an amazing article about the current face of black jockeys, Kevin Krigger. If he wins on Saturday, he’ll be the first black jockey to win in over 100 years, which boggles the mind. I can’t wait to see the most diverse field in Derby history run tomorrow. 

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