Black jockeys used to be the norm, dominating Thoroughbred racing in the 1890s.  But 1902 was the last year a black jockey won the Kentucky Derby, and no woman has ever won.

That’s why the 2013 Derby was notable:  Not only did a black jockey — Kevin Krigger — ride in the Derby, but so did Rosie Napravnik, who came in fifth.

My novel, REGRET NOT A MOMENT, is all about racism and sexism in horse racing.  My heroine, Devon, re-builds a horse-breeding/racing operation destroyed by the Great Depression.  One of the stable’s black grooms, Jeremiah, evolves into a world class jockey and trainer.  Devon’s daughter becomes a jockey.  As the story progresses from the Gatsby era through three decades, Devon must face prejudice against women in the male-dominated world of horse racing.  What’s more, she has a run-in with the Ku Klux Klan after Jeremiah fires a white jockey.  It’s a delicious, highly satisfying scene that I hope my readers will enjoy reading.  I certainly enjoyed writing it.

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One thought on “Racism at the Races

  1. Aquila

    I grew up on Walter Farley and Marguerite Henry and British pony club books and Australian brumby stories. Tucked amongst them was Little Vic by Doris Gates (1951).

    I loved it because it was about a grandson of Man o’ War (and I’d read Walter Farley’s Man of War to death), and a boy battling to be his jockey . I probably barely took in the significance of Pony’s skin colour at the time, but rereading it later I had a better understanding of it.

    And google just told me it was actually made into a TV series in the 70s. And I did (being a cynic – or a realist) just dig deeper to check the character wasn’t whitewashed – and wonderfully he wasn’t.

    All the best to Kevin and Rosie, and the fictional counterparts who help them build their dreams!

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