Jimmy Winkfield Snapback

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Jimmy Winkfield Snapback

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James “Jimmy” Winkfield was a Thoroughbred jockey and the last African American winner of the Kentucky Derby with a story showcasing the harsh treatment black athletes have historically faced in America. During slavery, slaves trained some of the finest horses, developing the skills    necessary to be premier jockeys, and black riders soon dominated the sport. Jimmy Winkfield won the Kentucky Derby in 1901 and 1902, but enduring racist sentiments led to violence against black   jockeys by white riders who pushed them out of the sport. Jimmy received death threats from the KKK, and after breaking a contract because of a lack of racing opportunities, he accepted an offer to jockey in Russia. He became a major racing star jockeying throughout Russia, Poland and France and finished with over 2600 career wins. 

The European racing environment paid little attention to jockey color, but when he returned to Kentucky in 1961, sixty years after his Derby wins there, he again faced discrimination. At a pre-Derby event where he and his daughter were specially invited guests of Sports Illustrated, they were denied entry by staff and were only let in after the magazine’s writers explained they were their guests. 
Jimmy Winkfield passed away in 1974 in France, but thirty years later in 2004 he joined two other African American jockeys in the Thoroughbred Hall of Fame. 

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