Breeders’ Cup Weekend: No Fade to Black

By Michael-Louis Ingram
Updated: October 23, 2007
2007 Breeders Cup
PHILADELPHIA — As we wind down to the 24th edition of the Breeders Cup, it makes sense to backtrack to where it all starts and ends — with great horses and great riders.

Jockeys from all over the world will converge on Monmouth Park to compete for fame and first place money — but very few of those faces will be Black.
Long before Tyson, Ali, Dolemite, Stag-O-Lee and Jack Johnson could assume the mantle of “Baddest Man On The Planet,” the pride that carried the weight of an entire people in sporting society and beyond was placed on the shoulders of the little big men who matriculated their noble beasts to victory in the early days of thoroughbred racing.

While some may know of the exploits of jockeys like Oliver Lewis, Jimmy Winkfield and the nonpareil Isaac Murphy, their stories are woefully forgotten.

The dominance of Black folk in the early years of racing as jockeys and trainers led to their eventual force out by whites due to racism — and economics — since the turn of the 20th century.
But as we head for the quarter pole of the new millennium, for the first time in this race for recognition, evidence of a refilling of the ranks is in effect across North America.

The Caribbean Connection
While African — Americans were steered away from racing, the skill sets among riders in the Caribbean were getting noticed by trainers elsewhere.

//<![CDATA[ u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan>Canadau003c/span>u003cspan> would become the home for a new wave of Black talent, as the Island Brethren would slowly, but effectively eliminate the stigma of their questioned abilities. u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan>At u003cb>u003ci>Woodbine Race Tracku003c/i>u003c/b>, located in the Toronto suburbs, legions of faithful fans always pay attention whenever they see a program with the name Patrick Husbands on it. Husbands, a 34 year old born in Bridgetown, Barbados has been among the leading jockeys at Woodbine’s meet for nine years. u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan>A fourth-generation rider, Patrick’s father Walter was a champion rider back home. In the same fashion as the great Black jockeys of the early era, Husbands won major races often – and early, winning the prestigious u003cb>u003ci>Cockspur Cupu003c/i>u003c/b> at age 16. “It never entered my mind that I wouldn’t be a jockey,” said Husbands. What I felt, however, was one day I would leave to see just how far I could go away from the island.” u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan>His brother Simon, who was riding in Canada, talked him into coming to Ontario, and Patrick did everything he could to get a shot at riding. “It was discouraging sometimes trying to get a mount,” Husbands would say about those early years. “But when you set a goal, you have to stay mentally tough and believe you when all others tell you otherwise – because they’re not sitting atop the horse.”u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan>Husbands would go on to win the Sovereign Award – given to the top jockey in Canada – for five years straight (1998 – 2003)n and become the first Black jockey to ever win the Canadian Triple crown (Queens’ Plate, Prince of Wales and Breeders’ Stakes) aboard u003cb>u003ci>Wandou003c/i>u003c/b> in 2003. u003cspan> u003c/span>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003cspan>  u003c/span>u003cb>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003cspan>  u003c/span>u003c/b>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cb>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/b>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan>Currently, Husbands is ranked #21 in the Top 100 Jockeys across “,1] ); //–> //]]>

Canada would become the home for a new wave of Black talent, as the Island Brethren would slowly, but effectively eliminate the stigma of their questioned abilities.

At Woodbine Race Track, located in the Toronto suburbs, legions of faithful fans always pay attention whenever they see a program with the name Patrick Husbands on it. Husbands, a 34 year old born in Bridgetown, Barbados has been among the leading jockeys at Woodbine’s meet for nine years.

A fourth-generation rider, Patrick’s father Walter was a champion rider back home. In the same fashion as the great Black jockeys of the early era, Husbands won major races often — and early, winning the prestigious Cockspur Cup at age 16.

“It never entered my mind that I wouldn’t be a jockey,” said Husbands. “What I felt, however, was one day I would leave to see just how far I could go away from the island.”

His brother Simon, who was riding in Canada, talked him into coming to Ontario, and Patrick did everything he could to get a shot at riding. “It was discouraging sometimes trying to get a mount,” Husbands would say about those early years.

“But when you set a goal, you have to stay mentally tough and believe you when all others tell you otherwise — because they’re not sitting atop the horse.”

Husbands would go on to win the Sovereign Award — given to the top jockey in Canada — for five years straight (1998-2003) and become the first Black jockey to ever win the Canadian Triple crown (Queens’ Plate, Prince of Wales and Breeders’ Stakes) aboard Wando in 2003.

Currently, Husbands is ranked 21st in the Top 100 Jockeys across //<![CDATA[ u003ci>Equibase, u003c/i>u003c/b>winning $7.2 million in purses at a 19% clip.u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cb>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/b>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan>Husbands’ achievement would spark a Barbadian invasion across all of Canada as jockeys like Quincy Welch, Rickey Walcott, Anderson Trotman, Jason & Paul Leacock, Renaldo Cumberbatch, Anderson Ward, Desmond Bryan, Venice Richards, Richard Lopez and Juan Crawford would go west and dominate at tracks like u003cb>u003ci>Stampede Parku003c/i>u003c/b> (Calgary), u003cb>u003ci>Northlands Parku003c/i>u003c/b> (Edmonton) in Alberta and u003cb>u003ci>Assinaboia Downsu003c/i>u003c/b> in Winnipeg.u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cb>u003cspan>’Nuffn Respect!u003c/span>u003c/b>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cb>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/b>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan>While Patrick Husbands firmly eliminated the notion of talent and heart from the naysayers, Trinidadian Emile Ramsammy had already made his presence felt beforehand, winning the Sovereign Award back-to-back in 1996 -97. Ramsammy is ranked #43 among the top 100, earning $4.39 million in prize money.u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan>Their efforts completed the Caribbean connection first established by Jamaica’s George HoSang, who was an impact rider in Canada during the late 1970s and 1980s. u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan>Other riders from Jamaica, Barbados and Guyana would also add to the mix, making for one of the most competitive riding colonies anywhere. Woodbine and u003cb>u003ci>Fort Erieu003c/i>u003c/b> racetracks would have among their talent pool champion jocks like Christopher Griffith, Eldridge Lindsay, Shane Ellis, Jono Jones, Slade Callaghan, Andrew Stephen, and Shawn Norville. u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan>The unbridled success of riders from all over the Caribbean would facilitate opportunities down south in the U.S.u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan>Over the past 15 years, Black jockeys have made light-year jumps across America as well. In New England, riders like Josiah Hampshire and Jamaican Winston Thompson are among the best at area tracks like “,1] ); //–> //]]> North America, according to Equibase, winning $7.2 million in purses at a 19% clip.

Husbands’ achievement would spark a Barbadian invasion across all of Canada as jockeys like Quincy Welch, Rickey Walcott, Anderson Trotman, Jason & Paul Leacock, Renaldo Cumberbatch, Anderson Ward, Desmond Bryan, Venice Richards, Richard Lopez and Juan Crawford would go west and dominate at tracks like Stampede Park (Calgary), Northlands Park (Edmonton) in Alberta and Assinaboia Downs in Winnipeg.
‘Nuff Respect!

While Patrick Husbands firmly eliminated the notion of talent and heart from the naysayers, Trinidadian Emile Ramsammy had already made his presence felt beforehand, winning the Sovereign Award back-to-back in 1996-97. Ramsammy is ranked 43rd among the top 100, earning $4.39 million in prize money.

Their efforts completed the Caribbean connection first established by Jamaica’s George HoSang, who was an impact rider in Canada during the late 1970s and 1980s.

Other riders from Jamaica, Barbados and Guyana would also add to the mix, making for one of the most competitive riding colonies anywhere. Woodbine and Fort Erie racetracks would have among their talent pool champion jocks like Christopher Griffith, Eldridge Lindsay, Shane Ellis, Jono Jones, Slade Callaghan, Andrew Stephen, and Shawn Norville.

The unbridled success of riders from all over the Caribbean would facilitate opportunities down south in the U.S.

Over the past 15 years, Black jockeys have made light-year jumps across America as well. In New England, riders like Josiah Hampshire and Jamaican Winston Thompson are among the best at area tracks like //<![CDATA[ u003ci>Suffolk Downsu003c/i>u003c/b> and u003cb>u003ci>Rockinghamu003c/i>u003c/b>u003cb>u003ci> Parku003c/i>u003c/b>u003cb>u003ci>.u003c/i>u003c/b>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cb>u003ci>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/i>u003c/b>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan>In the New York / Mid – Atlantic area, Shaun Bridgmohan, younger brother Jermaine Bridgmohan, Rajiv Maragh, Clive Beech, Kerwin John, Navin Mangalee, Macelin Manickram and Kendrick Carmouche are stars at u003cb>u003ci>Belmont Parku003c/i>u003c/b>, u003cb>u003ci>the Meadowlands, Finger Lakes, Philadelphia Park, Delaware Park and Aqueduct Race Track.u003c/i>u003c/b>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cb>u003ci>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/i>u003c/b>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan>The elder Bridgmohan, originally from Spanish Town, Jamaica, has the distinction of being one of only 11 thoroughbred jockeys ever to win six races on a nine-race card at a New York track on 2/15/98. He is ranked #27 on the Top 100, with over $5.7 million in purses, while fellow countryman Maragh is #41 ($4.45 million), and Carmouche #42 ($4.425 million).u003cspan>  u003c/span>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan>Down the coastline heading south you’ll find talent such as Deshawn Parker, Charles Forrest, Gary Bain, Andrew Ramgeet, Dale Whittaker and Marlon St. Julien at u003cb>u003ci>Mountaineer Race Track, Colonial, Calder, Charles Town and Louisiana tracks like Fair Grounds, Delta Downs and Evangeline Downsu003c/i>u003c/b>.u003cspan>   u003c/span>u003cb>u003ci>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/i>u003c/b>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cb>u003ci>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/i>u003c/b>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan>Mr. Parker is ranked #89 on the top 100, with $2.7 million purses.u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan>In the southwest and west coast, Anthony Mawing, Leslie Mawing, Carl Williams, Kevin Krigger, Dihigi Gladney and Barrington Harvey can be found riding the circuit in Phoenix (u003cb>u003ci>Turfn Paradise, Yavapi Downsu003c/i>u003c/b>), the northern California’s fair circuit (u003cb>u003ci>Bay Meadows, Golden Gate Downs) u003c/i>u003c/b>andu003cb>u003ci> u003c/i>u003c/b>Washington state’s u003cb>u003ci>Empire Downs.u003c/i>u003c/b> u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan>They say figures don’t lie – and in all likelihood, either Patrick Husbands or Shaun Bridgmohan have mounts for this Breeders’ Cup and will have an opportunity to add to their already impressive resumes in becoming the first Black jockey to get to the BC winner’s circle; more on that when we play handicapper on Thursday.”,1] ); //–> //]]> Suffolk Downs and Rockingham Park.
In the New York/Mid-Atlantic area, Shaun Bridgmohan, younger brother Jermaine Bridgmohan, Rajiv Maragh, Clive Beech, Kerwin John, Navin Mangalee, Macelin Manickram and Kendrick Carmouche are stars at Belmont Park, the Meadowlands, Finger Lakes, Philadelphia Park, Delaware Park and Aqueduct Race Track.

The elder Bridgmohan, originally from Spanish Town, Jamaica, has the distinction of being one of only 11 thoroughbred jockeys ever to win six races on a nine-race card at a New York track on 2/15/98. He is ranked 27th on the Top 100, with over $5.7 million in purses, while fellow countryman Maragh is 41st ($4.45 million), and Carmouche 42nd ($4.425 million).

Down the coastline heading south you’ll find talent such as Deshawn Parker, Charles Forrest, Gary Bain, Andrew Ramgeet, Dale Whittaker and Marlon St. Julien at Mountaineer Race Track, Colonial, Calder, Charles Town and Louisiana tracks like Fair Grounds, Delta Downs and Evangeline Downs.
Mr. Parker is ranked 89th on the top 100, with $2.7 million purses.
In the southwest and west coast, Anthony Mawing, Leslie Mawing, Carl Williams, Kevin Krigger, Dihigi Gladney and Barrington Harvey can be found riding the circuit in Phoenix (Turf Paradise, Yavapi Downs), the northern California’s fair circuit (Bay Meadows, Golden Gate Downs) and Washington state’s Empire Downs.

They say figures don’t lie — and in all likelihood, either Patrick Husbands or Shaun Bridgmohan have mounts for this Breeders’ Cup and will have an opportunity to add to their already impressive resumes in becoming the first Black jockey to get to the BC winner’s circle; more on that when we play handicapper on Thursday.

//<![CDATA[ u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan>Maybe that would inspire casting of Husbands or Bridgmohan for “The Isaac Murphy Story.”u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan>(Next time – it’s all about the ladies.)u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan>u003ca hrefu003d”mailto:mingram@suavvmagazine.com” targetu003d”_blank” onclicku003d”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)”>mingram@suavvmagazine.comu003c/a>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan>u003ca hrefu003d”mailto:michaelingram@blackathlete.com” targetu003d”_blank” onclicku003d”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)”>michaelingram@blackathlete.comu003c/a>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cdiv>u003cspan>u003cspan> u003c/span>u003c/span>u003c/div> u003cbr>”,0] ); D(["ce"]); //–> //]]>

Maybe that would inspire casting of Husbands or Bridgmohan for “The Isaac Murphy Story.”

Next time: It’s all about the ladies.