Down the stretch they come: FSU history professor talks about milestone ride for Kentucky Derby jockey

All eyes are on Louisville, Kentucky, this weekend for the annual Run for the Roses. The 147th Kentucky Derby will take place Saturday, May 1, at the famed Churchill Downs with 20 horses competing for the first leg of the Triple Crown.

Kendrick Carmouche will be riding the horse Bourbonic. He will be the first Black jockey to ride in the event since 2013.

Associate Professor of History Katherine Mooney studies the cultural history of inequality and authored the book, “Race Horse Men.” In the book, Mooney examines the generations of Black men who built the horse racing industry and who were ultimately driven from their jobs with the rise of Jim Crow laws.

Mooney also wrote a piece for The Conversation in 2019 about how African Americans disappeared from the Kentucky Derby.

As reporters cover this year’s Kentucky Derby, Mooney is available to provide commentary on Carmouche’s participation in the event.

Katherine Mooney, associate professor of history, College of Arts and Sciences

“Kendrick Carmouche’s ride in the 2021 Kentucky Derby is a milestone. African American riders were the first Black sports celebrities until they lost their careers to Jim Crow by the 1920s. So, Carmouche’s presence is a chance to reckon with that history. But as a second-generation African American jockey, he should also remind us to celebrate the century of men and women who refused to let bigotry drive them from a sport they helped to build.”