‘Prince of Jockeys: The Life of Isaac Burns Murphy’ comes to Kentucky Derby Museum

Louisville, KY (January 29, 2015) – The Kentucky Derby Museum will host “The Prince of Jockeys: The Life of Isaac Burns Murphy,” a traveling exhibit dedicated to one of history’s greatest jockeys, in collaboration with Black History Month. The exhibit will be on display in the second floor Pollard Gallery from Feb. 1 to May 31, and is based on Pellom McDaniels’ recently released biography of the same name.

Murphy, the first black jockey to earn enshrinement into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame, mounted three Kentucky Derby winners in his career. His first victory came aboard Buchanan in 1884, followed by Riley and Kingman in 1890 and 1891, respectively, and won 44 percent of the races he entered overall. Born in Frankfort, Kentucky but raised in Lexington, Kentucky, Murphy proved to be an example of African American success and achievement. Using photographs, illustrations and texts, the exhibit of 25 didactic panels explores the significance of African Americans to the development of horse racing as a spectator sport, and highlights how Murphy came to be known as the “Prince of Jockeys.”

“We are extremely proud to help celebrate the deep history of African American riders in the Kentucky Derby through this exhibit,” Museum President Lynn Ashton said. “Murphy is a legendary figure in Thoroughbred circles, and his career and achievements are delightfully highlighted for a new generation.”

McDaniels, an assistant professor of African American Studies and the faculty curator of African American Collections at Emory University, will be at the Museum Feb. 22 to discuss and autograph copies of “The Prince of Jockeys.” Guests can purchase their own version in the Finish Line Gift Shop. A former college and professional football player, McDaniels played defensive end for Oregon State University and with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs before retiring in 2000. He is a 2015 recipient of the NCAA’s Silver Anniversary Award, presented to former student-athletes for athletic and professional success.

The Kentucky Derby Museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit museum in Louisville, Kentucky dedicated to celebrating and sharing the Kentucky Derby experience.