The recently completed 2011 Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Horseracing (Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes races) is the zenith of American horsemanship. In the rarefied air of American sporting events, only the World Series (baseball) and Super Bowl (football) come close to matching its significance. However, neither have deeper, older roots in history. Also, one can associate the level of difficulty of winning the Triple Crown by knowing that no horse has won all three races since 1978.
This year, Americans were excited as oddsmakers were enthusiastically chattering about the possibility of a female jockey, Rosie Navpravnik, winning at the track. Not in the news was Maryland State Delegate Emmett C. Burns’ comments. While speaking specifically about the Preakness, which Maryland hosts, he caused a brief lamp to be held to one of horse racing's most uncomfortable secrets: the absence of Black jockeys in big time races. Burns revealed that the wildly popular University of Arizona's race track program has graduated only one Black since 1991 and that the racial makeup today in the major horse races is quite different from years ago when Black riders dominated the sport and won large prizes for White owners.