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Jockeys/Trainers in Kentucky
Start Year : 1880
End Year : 1947
As fewer African American jockeys became riders in the Kentucky Derby and other horse racing competitions, there were still African American men employed as trainer jockeys. For Kentucky, some were listed in the various city directories from the 1880s up to the late 1940s. Those born in Kentucky and employed in other states, can be found in the U.S. Census data. These men and boys as young as 9 years old, earned a living training race horses. Below are some of their names.

Source: 1880 U.S. Federal Census

  • Alex Cottril (b.1865 in Alabama) - jockey - Josh Burnside Farm - Boyle County, KY
  • Bill Fisher (b.1867 in KY) - jockey - boarder - East Walnut Street, Cynthiana, KY
  • William Arthur (b.1822 in KY) - jockey - husband of Kitty Arthur - Main Street, Danville, KY
  • Austin Farris (b.1864 in KY) - jockey - son of Ann Farris - 5th Street, Lexington, KY
  • Charles Green (b.1864 in KY) - race rider - son of Amanda Green - Lincoln Avenue, Lexington, KY
  • Claiborne Howard [Jr.] (b.1864 in KY) - race rider - son of Claiborne and Mary Howard - Lexington, KY
  • Farmer Howard (b.1866 in KY) - race rider - son of Claiborne and Mary Howard - Lexington, KY
  • Benjamin Howard (b.1870 in KY) - race rider - son of Claiborne and Mary Howard - Lexington, KY
  • Thomas Smith (b.1862 in KY) - race rider - son of Martha Smith - Lee's Row, Lexington, KY
  • Scott Welson (b.1850 in KY) - race rider - husband of Harriett Welson - Todd Street, Lexington, KY
  • John Williams (b.1863 in KY) - race rider - Hill Street, Lexington, KY
  • Harrison Williams (b.1864 in KY) - race rider - son of Charles and Eliza Jackson - Georgetown St., Lexington, KY
  • Joe Caldwell (b.1864 in KY) - race rider - son of Lily Lucy - Main Street, Lexington, KY
  • Braxton Woodward (b.1861 in KY) - race rider - son of Bailer and Jane Woodward - East Third St., Lexington, KY
  • George Bush (b.1862 in KY) - rider for Barak G. Thomas - Dog Fennel - Fayette County, KY
  • George Clay (b.1864 in KY) - rider for Barak G. Thomas - Dog Fennel - Fayette County, KY
  • John Forest (b.1864 in KY) - rider for Barak G. Thomas - Dog Fennel - Fayette County, KY
  • James Caluces (b.1866 in KY ) - rider for Barak G. Thomas - Dog Fennel - Fayette County, KY
  • John Williams (b.1866 in KY) - rider for Barak G. Thomas - Dog Fennel - Fayette County, KY
  • Carl Tankseily (b.1866 in KY) - rider for Barak G. Thomas - Dog Fennel - Fayette County, KY
  • John Morgan (b.1866 in KY) - rider for Barak G. Thomas - Dog Fennel - Fayette County, KY
  • Aleck Brown (b.1866 in KY) - rider for Barak G. Thomas - Dog Fennel - Fayette County, KY
  • Arthur Cooper (b.1870 in KY) - rider for Barak G. Thomas - Dog Fennel - Fayette County, KY
  • Benjamin Bryce (b.1868 in KY) - rider for Barak G. Thomas - Dog Fennel - Fayette County, KY
  • Frank Shelton (b.1860 in KY) - jockey for Barak G. Thomas - Dog Fennel - Fayette County, KY
  • Isaac Murphy (b.1861 in Bourbon Co., KY) - jockey - boarder - Frankfort, KY
  • Robertson Thomas (b.1867 in KY) - jockey - boarder - Frankfort, KY
  • Walter Johnson (b.1867 in KY) - jockey - boarder - Frankfort, KY
  • Willie Payne (b.1868 in KY) - jockey - boarder - Frankfort, KY
  • Thomas Kendrick (b.1865 in KY) - jockey - boarder - Frankfort, KY
  • William Wilson (b.1867 in KY) - jockey - son of James and Susan Wilson - 2nd Street, Frankfort, KY
  • Merett Johnson (b.1867 in KY) - race rider - son of Reuben and Georgia Lewis - Georgetown, KY
  • Jack Mefford (b.1860 in KY) - race rider - son of Reuben and Georgia Lewis - Georgetown, KY
  • Thomas Spots (b.1866 in KY) - race rider - son of George and Rose Spots - Georgetown, KY
  • Thomas Stepp (b.1869 in KY) - race rider - son of Emma Stepp - Georgetown, KY
  • Rodes Stepp (b.1871 in KY) - race rider - son of Emma Stepp - Georgetown, KY
  • John Lewis (b.1868 in KY) - race rider - son of Cena Lewis - Green Street, Glasgow Junction, KY
  • Dan Doritha (b.1866 in KY) - race rider - boarder - Henderson, KY
  • John Levill (b.1864 in KY) - race rider - boarder - Henderson, KY
  • George Williams (b.1866 in KY) - race rider - boarder - Henderson, KY
  • Joseph Johnson (b.1865 in KY) - race rider - Keene, KY
  • Cleland McElroy (b.1850 in KY) - jockey - husband of Mary McElroy - Republican Street, Lebanon, KY
  • Charles Reynolds (b.1852 in KY) - jockey - boarder - Reese's Alley - Louisville, KY
  • Charles Sweeny (b.1867 in KY) - jockey - son of Malvina Pendleton - Louisville, KY
  • Sam Bowman (b.1865 in KY) - race rider - son of Lizzie Black - Louisville, KY
  • Alex Brown (b.1866 in KY) - race rider - son of C. and Celia Brown - Louisville, KY
  • John Dady (b.1861 in KY) - race rider - son of Harrison and Mira Dady - Eddie Street, Louisville, KY
  • John Lucas (b.1864 in Tennessee) - race rider - Mayfield, KY
  • Frank Thomas (b.1859 in KY) - jockey - son of Harrison and Mahala Thomas - Midway, KY
  • John Coleman (b.1866 in KY) - jockey - the brother of Enis Coleman - Midway, KY
  • Alonzo Allen (b.1864 in KY) - race rider - son of Joseph and Jane Allen - Midway, KY
  • Grant Allen (b.1870 in KY) - race rider - son of Joseph and Jane Allen - Midway, KY
  • Harry Colston (b.1845 in KY) - jockey - son of Henny Colston - Midway, KY
  • John Dupuy (b.1864 in KY) - jockey - son of Moses and Harriet Dupuy - Midway, KY
  • Winston Lewis (b.1851 in KY) - jockey - husband of Appoline Lewis - Midway, KY 
  • Tobe Davis (b.1864 in Tennessee) - jockey - son of Mary Davis - Paducah, KY
  • William Williams (b.1867 in Tennessee) - Jockey - son of Mary Williams - Paducah, KY

Source: Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville

  • George Banks -1880 directory
  • Thomas Guest - 1884 directory
  • Henry Gibbs - 1886 directory
  • Thomas Robinson - 1886 directory
  • Edward Rutherford - 1886 directory
  • Alexander Shields - 1886 directory
  • Charles Taylor - 1886 directory
  • Edward West - 1886 directory

Source: Emerson and Dark's Lexington Directory 1898-9

  • James Bibbs (1883-1939) - Bibbs was born in Lexington, KY, and according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, he was the son of Nathan and Amanda Bibbs. James Bibbs was a teenager when he was listed as a horse jockey in the 1900 census and in the 1898-9 city directory. He roomed at 96 Constitution Street, and his family lived on S. Limestone. He would later become the husband of Mattie Bibbs. According to his death certificate, Bibbs' was a jockey his entire work life. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Lexington, KY.
  • Thomas M. Britton (1870-1901) - Britton had been a competing jockey. He won the Tennessee Derby in 1891 aboard Valera, and the Kentucky Oaks aboard Miss Hawkins. He won the 1892 Tennessee Derby aboard Tom Elliott [source: last paragraph of "Negro riders of renown," Daily Racing Form, 02/17/1922, p.2].
  • Robert Clark
  • James Grimes (b.1868) - Grimes was born in Kentucky and was the husband of Fannie Grimes. The couple lived on W. 4th Street. James Grimes is listed in the city directory as a jockey, and a year later he is listed in the 1900 U.S. Census as a cook.
  • Thomas Smith (b.1862) - Smith was born in Kentucky, the son of Martha Smith, and the husband of Mary Jane Smith. He and his wife lived on Race Street. Smith is listed in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census as a race rider, and he is listed in the city directory as a jockey.
  • Frank Williams (b.1872) - Williams was born in Tennessee, and his parents were from Kentucky, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. He was the husband of Annie Williams and the couple lived on Pine Street. Williams is listed in the census as a horse trainer, and as a jockey in the city directory

Source: Owensboro City Directory (Evansville, IN)

  • Julius T. Patterson (b.1872) - Patterson was born in Kentucky, he was the husband of Georgia Patterson, and the family of six lived on Jackson Street, according to the 1910 U.S. Federal Census. Patterson is listed as a jockey in the city directory, and as a race horse trainer in the census. (1899-1900 directory)

Source: Owensboro City Directory(Cleveland, OH)

  • Ernest Smith (1901-1902 directory)

Source: 1900 U.S. Federal Census

      Walnut Hill, Fayette County, Kentucky - Thomas H. Stevens Farm

  • Sam Green (born in KY)
  • Claude Patterson (b.1883 in KY)
  • Henry Johnson (b.1875 in KY)

      Harlem Village, Cook County, Illinois

Source: "Found dead," Bourbon News, 06/16/1908, p.5

  • French Brooks (c.1856-1943, born in KY) - Noted race horse trainer at Wood Clay Farm in Bourbon County in 1908. French Brooks was born in Paris, KY, the son of Milton True and Jinnie Lacy [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death #10182]. He is buried in #2 Cemetery in Lexington, KY. He was the father of groomer Warner Brooks.

Source: 1930 U.S. Federal Census

  • Warner Brooks (1877-1952, born in KY) - groom - Lexington, KY. Warner brooks was a groom at a race track in Lexington, KY.  He was born in Bourbon County, KY, the son of French Brooks.  He was a veteran of the Spanish-American War and is buried in the Camp Nelson National Cemetery [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death - Registrar's #1242].
  • John Huston (b.1900 in KY) - rider - Husband of Margaret Huston - Rear Brock, Louisville, KY

Source: Polk's Lexington (Kentucky) City Directory

  • Roscoe Huguley (b.1900) - According to his WWI registration card, Huguley was in Georgia in 1918. He was born in Kentucky and is listed in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census employed as a horse trainer and head of the household of two older sisters, who were cooks, and a younger sister. Huguley was married to Alta Huguley when he was listed as a jockey in the 1931 Lexington city directory.
  • Richard Mitchell (1931 directory)
  • Lewis White (b.1883) - White's WWI registration card, signed in 1918, gives his occupation as a horse rider for Will Perkins whose business address was on 3rd Street in Lexington. White is listed as a jockey in the 1931 Lexington city directory. [Will Perkins was a horse trainer and the brother of jockey James "Soup" Perkins and horse trainer Frank Perkins.]
  • Arthur Pinkston (1939 directory)
  • Joseph H. Parks (1947 directory)

Source: 1940 U.S. Federal Census

  • Melvin Johnson (b.1916 in KY) - jockey - husband of Louise Johnson - Crittenden Drive, Louisville, KY
  • Henry Johnson (b.1918 in KY) - jockey - husband of Helen Johnson - Floyd Street, Louisville, KY
  • Max Maupins (b.1885 in KY) - jockey valet - Lexington, KY
  • Robert Wallace (b.1908 in Missouri) - jockey - Newport, KY

See the photo image of an African American jockey riding a horse (scroll down) and images of jockeys from Kentucky, at the Discover Black Heritage website.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky



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