Department of Economics
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Institutional Affiliation: Temple University
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|January 2019||Beating the Odds: Black Jockeys in the Kentucky Derby, 1870-1911|
with Hugh Rockoff: w25461
The Kentucky Derby is the premier American horse race. The first race was held in 1875 and 13 of the 15 jockeys were African Americans. African American jockeys continued to play an important role until the turn of the 19th century when they were forced from the Kentucky Derby and the other big American races, victims of the rising tide of Jim Crow. This paper uses a new data set based on the odds on all the entries in the Kentucky Derby between 1875 and 1915 to examine the willingness of owners and trainers to hire African American jockeys and the willingness of fans to bet on them.