LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A little known jockey and a lightly regarded horse pulled off an upset victory for trainer Doug O’Neill at last year’s Kentucky Derby.
On Saturday, he’ll give another relative unknown a chance of not only winning the big race but joining him in the record books if that happens.
Kevin Krigger, the first black jockey in the Derby since 2000, will be aboard O’Neill’s Goldencents, considered a much stronger contender than last year’s winner, I’ll Have Another.
Only six trainers have won consecutive Derbies in 138 years, and no black jockey has won since 1902.
The 29-year-old Krigger hails from St. Croix, Virgin Islands, and had some success on the smaller Northern California circuit before trying his luck in the big leagues of Los Angeles.
O’Neill is a friend of Krigger’s agent, Tom Knust, and was open to a suggestion of having the jockeyswing by his barn last summer. So Krigger started working out Goldencents in the morning about six weeks before the colt’s racing debut.
“He got off him and in his best U.S. Virgin accent just said, ‘Wow, man, this horse can really run,’” O’Neill recalled. “I had Kevin and Tom starting planting the seeds to the owners of Goldencents, and they fell in love with him right away, too.”