Considered one of the greatest jockeys in American history, Isaac Murphy’s career inspired along list of “firsts.” He was the first rider to win three Kentucky Derbys and the only jockey to win the Derby, Oaks and Clark Handicap in the same year.
He ultimately rode 628 champions, winning 44 percent of his races (no other rider since has come close). Murphy was the first rider voted into the Jockey Hall of Fame and the first to win successive Derby crowns (1890 and 1891).
This distinction went unmatched until another outstanding black rider, Jimmy Winkfield, won back-to-back crowns in 1901 and 1902.
Photo courtesy of Hard Road to Glory, Champions of American Sport, New York: Harry N. Abrams-Abbeville Press, Inc., 1984, p. 111