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Monica R. Saunders

Oliver Lewis was born the son of a slave woman during the period preceding the Emancipation Proclamation. Although little is known about his early years, Lewis grew up to become one of the most renowned African American jockeys in horse racing history. Using various accounts and histories from the period, however, speculation about how Lewis came to be such an adept horseman becomes possible.

After the Civil War sharecropping replaced slavery as a means for plantation owners to maintain control over their newly liberated slaves Some sharecroppers worked as stable hands and exercise boys for the plantation owners racehorses The most proficient of these boys for most of them were barely fourteen or fifteen were chosen as jockeys a highly desirable position Even during slave times the title of jockey allowed an African American many freedoms that others were denied African American jockeys both during and after the Civil War ...

Article

Monica R. Saunders

jockey, was born the son of a slave woman sometime during the period shortly before the Emancipation Proclamation. There is little known today about the early years of Lewis, who grew up to become one of the most renowned African American jockeys in horse racing history. Using other accounts and histories from the period, however, speculation about how Lewis came to be such an adept horseman is possible.

After the Civil War sharecropping replaced slavery as a means for plantation owners to maintain control over their newly liberated charges Some of these sharecroppers were used as stable hands and exercise boys for the plantation owners racehorses The most proficient of these boys for most of them were barely fourteen or fifteen were chosen as jockeys a highly desirable position Even during slavery times the title of jockey allowed an African American many freedoms that were refused his fellows African ...

Article

Pellom McDaniels

jockey. Isaac Murphy was born Isaac Burns within the converging contexts of slavery and the beginning of the American Civil War on David Tanner's Pleasant Green Hill Farm in Clark County, Kentucky. Murphy's mother, America, an enslaved domestic servant, and his father, Jerry Burns, an enslaved laborer who would later become a Union soldier and die of camp fever at Camp Nelson, Kentucky, left no record of an official marriage or narrative of their lives together. After Emancipation, Murphy's mother migrated with her son and daughter to the growing urban center of Lexington, Kentucky, where they began a new life as freedmen.

Murphy's adherence to Victorian definitions of morality, self-control, and integrity—endorsed by his mother and reinforced by his community—would shape his definition of manhood and masculinity, which would be the foundation of his future success as a jockey and as a man.

In 1874 Murphy s mother apprenticed ...

Article

Robert Fikes

Isaac Murphy was born Isaac Burns on a farm near Frankfort, Kentucky, the son of James Burns, a bricklayer, and a mother (name unknown) who worked as a laundrywoman. During the Civil War his father, a free black, joined the Union army and died in a Confederate prisoner-of-war camp. Upon the death of his father, his widowed mother moved with her family to Lexington, Kentucky, to live with her father, Green Murphy, a bell ringer and auction crier. Accompanying his mother to work at the Richard and Owings Racing Stable, the diminutive Isaac was noticed by the black trainer Eli Jordan, who had him suited up for his first race at age fourteen. His first winning race was aboard the two-year-old filly Glentina on September 15, 1875 at the Lexington Crab Orchard Standing five feet tall and weighing only seventy four pounds Murphy had by the ...

Article

Robert Fikes

jockey, was born Isaac Burns on a farm near Frankfort, Kentucky, the son of James Burns, a bricklayer, and a mother (name unknown) who worked as a laundrywoman. During the Civil War, his father, a free black, joined the Union army and died in a Confederate prisoner-of-war camp. Upon the death of his father, his widowed mother moved with her family to Lexington, Kentucky, to live with her father, Green Murphy, a bell ringer and auction crier. Accompanying his mother to work at the Richard and Owings Racing Stable, the diminutive Isaac was noticed by the black trainer Eli Jordan, who had him suited up for his first race at age fourteen. His first winning race was aboard the two-year-old filly Glentina on 15 September 1875 at the Lexington Crab Orchard Standing five feet tall and weighing only seventy four pounds Murphy had by the ...

Article

Eric Paul Roorda

the most successful jockey in the history of the Dominican Republic, and one of the top thoroughbred racehorse riders in the world, was born on 14 January 1985, and grew up on a farm near San Francisco de Macorís, in the bucolic Cibao Valley, where he became familiar with riding horses. He got his start at the Hipódromo V Centenario (Quincentennial Anniversary Racecourse) in Santo Domingo, the only horseracing track in the Dominican Republic, where he began his racing career at the age of 14. His natural ability as a rider soon became evident there, on the eastern outskirts of the capital metropolis, where he won four Dominican national riding titles in quick succession.

Rosario moved to the United States in 2006 where he rose rapidly in the ranks to become a leading rider He started out in Northern California where he found immediate success at Golden Gate ...

Article

Steven P. Savage

William Simms (better known as Willie) was born in Augusta, Georgia, the son of former slaves. Enticed by racing silks as a boy, he ran away from home to become a jockey. He worked for C. H. Pettingill's stable in New York for two years, until trainer Con Leighton “discovered” him riding in Clifton, New Jersey, in 1887.

For Simms's first important race, Leighton assigned him to ride the two-year-old Banquet, a 20-1 underdog, in the 1889 Expectation Stakes. Banquet defeated both the favorite, Bellisarius, ridden by Edward “Snapper” Garrison, and Banquet's preferred stablemate, Chaos. Later, at Monmouth Park in New Jersey, Simms guided Chaos, now a 30-1 underdog, to victory over favored Banquet. Freelancing in 1891, Simms enjoyed great success at Saratoga. In 1892P. J. Dwyer hired Simms who won the Champion Stakes aboard Lamplighter After signing with the Rancocas Stable later ...

Article

Steven P. Savage

jockey and trainer, was born William Simms in Augusta, Georgia, the son of former slaves, whose names are unknown. Enticed by racing silks as a boy, he ran away from home to become a jockey. He worked for C. H. Pettingill's stable in New York for two years, until the trainer Con Leighton “discovered” him riding in Clifton, New Jersey, in 1887 or 1888.

For Simms's first important race, Leighton assigned him to ride the two-year-old Banquet, a 20-1 underdog, in the 1889 Expectation Stakes. Banquet defeated both the favorite, Bellisarius, ridden by Edward “Snapper” Garrison, and Banquet's preferred stablemate, Chaos. Later, at Monmouth Park in New Jersey, Simms guided Chaos, now a 30-1 underdog, to victory over favored Banquet. Freelancing in 1891 Simms enjoyed great success at Saratoga. In 1892P.-J. Dwyer hired Simms who won the Champion Stakes aboard Lamplighter After ...

Article

Elizabeth Kuebler-Wolf

slave, jockey, and horse trainer, was born Charles Stewart, most likely in the first years of the nineteenth century, in Pocahontas, Virginia, the son of a free, mixed-race man named Charles Stewart, a sailor, and an enslaved woman, Sally Vaughan, who was owned by a man named Enoch Vaughan. Charley's parents were not married at the time of his birth. Enoch Vaughan died when Charley was a baby, and for several years he lived with the free members of his father's family, residing with his aunt Mary Stewart. When Charley was about twelve years old Enoch Vaughan's daughter Lizzie Pace sold him in order to pay her husband s gambling debts Stewart later recalled that his father was out of town when this sale occurred and thus did not have the opportunity to buy his son This was only the first of ...

Article

Kelly M. Jordan

jockey and trainer, was born in Chilesburg, Kentucky, the youngest of seventeen children in a family of sharecroppers. He first worked at the racetrack shining shoes and made his way to stable hand, then exercise rider, and finally jockey. At the age of sixteen he was riding in races. Nicknamed “Wink,” he secured a place in racing history by age twenty-two for winning the Kentucky Derby back-to-back: in 1901 on His Eminence and in 1902 on Alan-A-Dale. During his career he won an amazing twenty-six hundred races. He also was a talented horse trainer in his later years.

In 1904 Winkfield fled the United States rumor had it that he had a falling out with a racehorse owner and raced in Russia There he continued his winning career taking the Russian and Moscow derbies more than once He scored victories in other races in Germany Russia and Poland ...