Museum Enhances Exhibit Based On African Americans In Thoroughbred Racing

Louisville, KY (March 2, 2015) – The Kentucky Derby Museum welcomes several new additions to its collection, representing the Museum’s largest collection of artifacts documenting African Americans in Thoroughbred racing.

Among the items currently highlighted are ankle boots used by inaugural Derby winner Aristides, two artifacts related to three-time Derby winning jockey Isaac Murphy and the racing silks formerly owned by famed musician Stanley Burrell, more popularly known as “M.C. Hammer.”

Aristides’ boots are the oldest items on display, which were worn by the horse during his racing career, and donated by Jessie and Betty Thornton. Rode by African American jockey Oliver Lewis to victory in the original Derby, the boots are believed to have been used in the 1875 Kentucky Derby, but this has not been substantiated.

Also available for viewing is a sculpture of Murphy, created by Louisvillian Ed Hamilton and a gift to the Museum from Churchill Downs. The NAACP presented this sculpture depicting the great African American jockey to the track in 1980. The gravestone that marked Murphy’s original grave in African Cemetery #2 in downtown Lexington, Kentucky will also be on display. Donated by Betty Earle Borries, the stone was lost for several decades due to being unmarked, but was rediscovered by Keeneland librarian Amelia Buckley, writer Frank Borries and local man Eugene Webster in the 1950s.

The most recent piece is from Burrell, who partnered with his father, Lewis, and two brothers to form Oaktown Stable in the 1990s. The group’s filly, Lite Light, won the Kentucky Oaks in 1991, and their colt, Dance Floor, finished third in the 1992 Kentucky Derby. The silk pattern reflects Burrell’s personal style fans will remember from hit-songs like “U Can’t Touch This” and “2 Legit 2 Quit.”

Noted trainer and native Kentuckian Oscar Dishman is also represented by the 1979 Florida-Bred Three-Year-Old Champion Trophy won by his most famous horse, Silver Series. The Dishman family donated approximately 500 items from Oscar’s personal collection to the Museum in 2001.

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