Kendrick Carmouche is going to be the first Black jockey to compete in the Kentucky Derby since 2013 on Saturday. Carmouche will be riding Burbonic, who is a 30-1 long shot to win the 2021 installment of the iconic race.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Carmouche said he wants this to be an inspiration to people.
"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. "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 joins Marlon St. Julien (2000) as the only United States-born Black jockey to compete in the Kentucky Derby since 1921. St. Julien rode Curule in the 2000 Kentucky Derby and finished seventh.
Kevin Krigger, who is from the U.S. Virgin Islands, was the last Black jockey to compete in the Kentucky Derby and did so back in 2013. He was the jockey for Goldencents, who finished 17th in the 19-horse field. Goldencents had 5-1 odds prior to the 2013 Kentucky Derby as one of the favorites in the race.
Looking further back into the history of the race, 13 of the 15 jockeys in the inaugural Kentucky Derby in 1875 were Black. In addition, Black jockeys won 15 of the first 28 installments of the iconic race.
But as Kentucky Derby Museum historian Chris Goodlett told the Associated Press, Jim Crow laws and segregation in the United States became primary reasons Black jockeys weren't as prevalent in the Kentucky Derby in the 1900s.
Isaac Burns Murphy is the only Black jockey to have won the Kentucky Derby, the Kentucky Oaks, and the Clark Handicap in the same year, which occurred in 1894. Murphy also won the Kentucky Derby on two other occasions in 1890 and 1891.