Posted on May 26, 2011

Md. Legislator Angered About Absence of Black Jockeys in Preakness

AFRO (Baltimore), May 21, 2011

A Maryland legislator has expressed his anger that no Black jockeys are among those running in the Preakness field on May 21 in Baltimore.

State Del. Emmett C. Burns said discrimination still exists in the sport.

“The racial make-up today in the major horse races is quite different from years ago when black riders dominated the sport and won large prizes for white owners,” Burns said in a statement. “Experts say that the prestigious Jockey Club is a prime example of how White males with Southern roots and Ivy League backgrounds continue to dominate what has become an extremely profitable sport.”

Burns said Keith Chamblin, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association senior vice president, told reporters in 2009, “I’ve never contemplated an ad campaign to reach African-Americans specifically, nor would I.”

Burns contends that University of Arizona’s celebrated race track program has only graduated one Black student since January 1991.


28 responses to “Md. Legislator Angered About Absence of Black Jockeys in Preakness”

  1. john says:

    While on its face it appears to be true that blacks are few and far between as professional jockeys, I doubt that it has anything to do with a discriminatory selection process.

    On average blacks are more heavily muscled and have heavier bones than other races. In addition, small light blacks are comparatively rare nowadays – note how the lighter weight divisions in boxing are now mainly dominated by Hispanics, Asians, and other smaller races.

    I suspect that when blacks left the horse farms and breeders for the industrial north they simply had far less exposure to working with horses, including riding them competitively.

  2. sbuffalonative says:

    “The racial make-up today in the major horse races is quite different from years ago when black riders dominated the sport and won large prizes for white owners,”

    I’ll bet that black riders were deemed racially demeaning jobs which is why blacks are no longer likely to be jockeys.

  3. Antidote says:

    This is the final, absolute proof that there’s no pleasing “African Americans” and that at the end of time, when the universe implodes into nothingness, there will still be a Black whining and whinging about racism and a level playing field. Hustle and jive and shakedown

    In the last sixty years three generations of ornamental lawn jockies have been removed from lawns, pedestals, gates and even the steps of the 21 Club because they were racist and offended Blacks. Yet now we’re informed it’s racist that no Blacks wear the silks and caps. And, I suppose it’s also racist that Southern Men invented, developed and maintain the sport of racing.

  4. Question Diversity says:

    Now they’re complaining about the “lack” of black jockeys. Next, they’ll be complaining about the lack of black horse owners and trainers. Funny they care about horse racing all of a sudden, when for most of the rest of the country, it has become passe. Why? Because they want something, and they think their whining will turn into some sort of material goodies. (Usually it does, and that’s why they whine.)

  5. Wayne Engle says:

    I don’t know whether Burns is right about why there are “so few” black jockeys in racing today — and that’s only the half of it. I couldn’t care less.

    He seems to see no irony in mentioning the NBA, which used to be dominated by White players but which his “African Americans” have totally taken over. If it was OK for blacks to “take over” the NBA from Whites, why isn’t it OK for Whites (and Hispanics) to have “taken over” racing from blacks?

    A Southern friend from my Army days may have given the answer to that when I asked him one time why there were so few black jockeys. “Too big!” he said immediately. “They grow to such gargantuan sizes!”

  6. Urban Teacher says:

    Hard to know what to respond to in this one. The idea of race in racing or that the University of Arizona has a race track program?

    Guess it’s time to bring back the Camptown Races.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been following the races ever since Sunday Silence and Easy Goer were fighting it out on the track, and I’ve only seen one black jockey make it to the elite of the sport. That was in 2000 Kentucky Derby, and I never saw him in a big race again.

    Instead of griping about non-existent big-race black jockeys, how about attacking the huge and ugly addiction that the horse racing and breeding industry has on the labor of illegal immigrants? One of the best jockeys in the country is Martin Garcia, and he has already had to go back to Mexico once in the past year because of “visa irregularities”. I suppose being an illegal immigrant in the first place before making it big on the track could have something to do with having an irregular work permit.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Maybe because they are bigger than the horses?

  9. Flaxen-headed Strumpet says:

    Could it be that contemporary would be petite Black jockeys have gotten too fat off food stamps?

  10. Tom S. says:

    *State Del. Emmett C. Burns said discrimination still exists in the sport.

    This country is in a financial freefall and THIS is what this affirmative action “legislator” is worried about! As usual, blacks want in on what the White man creates and finances. If hes so “angered” why doesn’t he start grooming his own race horses and hire black jockeys?

    *“The racial make-up today in the major horse races is quite different from years ago-

    Yeah, and the racial make-up of the NBA and the NFL is “quite different” from years ago, so whats your point Emmett?

  11. Anonymous says:

    This reminded me of something. Some years ago I attended a horse show and one of the contestants was a black man dressed in top of the line English attire. So, who was the groom who gave him a leg up on his horse? A skinny black kid.

    By the way, I watch a lot of Animal Cops and blacks generally don’t treat their horses very well. Just saw one today where a poor black and white paint died in front of the HSPCA, they didn’t make it in time. Seems the horse had been down for two days and someone had seen him the day before on the ground and did nothing. They couldn’t bring cruelty charges because the owners (both black) of the two other horses there claimed they didn’t who the horse belonged to.

    I know this is a bit off topic, but thought I’d throw it in while I’m thinking of it. I was reading a book about the South some years ago and the author stated that the first animal cruelty laws were passed in the South after the War when the slaves were freed. Seems like they all wanted their forty acres and a mule, but they weren’t too kind to their mules.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t it amazing how blacks can see “racism” in everything?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Why doesn’t he get angry about the lack of whites in pro basketball? Seems to me it used to be a white sport.

  14. Joe B says:

    This is a put on, right. Does this mean I can put my black jockey statue back out on the front lawn to, you know, encourage more black kids to become jockeys?

  15. flyingtiger says:

    Blacks dominated horse racing in the 1880s. Their decendants have moved on to better jobs.

  16. Anonymous says:

    The black jockey may be a thing of the past, but his spirit will live on through lawn ornaments clear across the country.

  17. ex-Indianapolis says:

    When the typical black at age 12 is too big to be a jockey, it follows that the adults are going to be way too big. Can you imagine the scene where some judge orders several black jockeys into the Preakness or Kentucky Derby. After several rounds of carrying a 5′ 3″ and 265 lb female jockey, Sea Biscuit or Secretariat would be ready for the glue factory.

  18. John Engelman says:

    Different racial groups have different average aptitudes. This is particularly true in sports. In athletics winning is too important to discriminate against anyone for any reason but lack of talent.

    Whites do not complain about the paucity of whites in professional basketball. We accept the fact that basketball is something few of us excel at.

  19. Anonymous says:

    “The racial make-up today in the major horse races is quite different from years ago when black riders dominated the sport and won large prizes for white owners,” And the opposite could be said about professional basketball. Why is everything seen by blacks through the lens of color-coded injustice. Wait, I know, pour government funds into programs for minorities to assure equality. Have an affirmative action program to assure that blacks win as many races as others. Give black jockeys a few extra yards head start to assure fairness for years of discrimination. And if black jockeys don’t win a fair share of races, give them money as compensation for the shame of it all.

  20. Shawn (the female) says:

    So what we need is to make sure that there’s at least one all-black horse entered in every race, regardless if he qualifies (give him a 30-second head start to ‘level the playing field’), as well as a black and white horse and lots of brown horses for diversity appreciation. Under no circumstances, though, shall there ever be a solid white horse entered in any race. That would be ‘racist’. Racist racers cannot be allowed in races.

  21. ProudtobeWhite says:

    Anyone else see the parallel here…black jockeys are analogous to the black burden riding on the backs of White society, with the host animal getting whipped and kicked in the ribs all the time by its diminutive tormentor…

  22. Anonymous says:

    Hey Emmett… Maybe you missed the introductions to the jockeys on TV. It appeared to me most were Latinos because they had trouble speaking English.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Re: Shawn (the female)

    No white horses allowed? That would be devastating news at Patchen-Wilkes Farm; they breed white racehorses:

  24. Shawn (the female) says:

    Anon 24, beautiful horses, those. Fortunately, race horses don’t think like humans. And they don’t understand sarcasm, either.

  25. WASP says:


    Blacks are not needed because all the running and jumping is done by the horse! So whites will do.

    Black has sex with horse… kidding

    That will make the horses run faster!

    How about more whites in the 100 meter dash in the Olympics? ALL the runners are black. How about some white ones?

    I keep calling for a petition to get more white players in the NBA. I want more players that “look like me” Why isn’t the lack of white players being investigated by the EEOC?

  26. AvgDude says:

    This is ridiculous. How often does anyone see a black man who is around 5′ tall and weighs less than 120 lbs? That’s what you have to be to work as a jockey.

  27. SKIP says:

    PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE! let’s STOP using the terminology of “African AMERICANS” They are, they always have been and they always will be AFRICANS! nothing more, unless one wished to add murderers, rapists, armed robbers, looters, pillagers, arsonists, parasites, pimps, thugs, thieves, frauds, litigants! or all in one word again, AFRICANS!