On April 6, 2013, horse jockey Kevin Krigger became the first black jockey to win the Santa Anita Derby in 76 years. The 29 year-old rider says he’s destined to win the upcoming Kentucky Derby on May 4th. If Krigger’s horse Goldencents leads them to victory, he will be the first black jockey to win the race since 1902. The first was a black man named Jimmy Winkfield.
Kevin Krigger is a native of St. Croix, Virgin Islands. He jumped on a horse around age 4, in his first expression of a desire to ride. His family finally accepted his wish and he got his own horse at 10 years old. He came to America in 2001 and began riding as an apprentice at Thistledown in North Randall, Ohio. His apprenticeship lasted another year before he began to compete with experienced jockeys and fulfill the weight requirement. A jockey’s ideal weight is 112 pounds.
Krigger is a father of four children. He is engaged to Taisha Mintas.
In 2007, Kevin Krigger suffered an injury from the race at Turfway Park in Ohio. His horse clipped heels at the start of the race, throwing Krigger from his mount and eventually falling on top of him.
Krigger suffered three fractured neck vertebrae from the accident with Polar Vixen. Only three months into recovery, he vowed to ride again. His neck healed incorrectly and his races were limited. Finally, in 2010, he chose to have surgery to correct the problem. He returned to riding a year later and in 2011, he came in second at Golden Gate Fields. His performance got the attention of officials and he was invited to Santa Anita where he made history on April 6th.
Krigger has won continuously with Goldencents. His purse earnings over the past year were $3,651,569. He has never been to the Kentucky Derby; he refused to go until he was in the race. May 4th will be his first time at the prestigious event and he has claimed the Triple Crown in victory with Goldencents.