Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs Racetrack in Louisville curates the second largest audience of horse racing in the country, following the Kentucky Derby.
Oaks Day is reserved for the fillies, or young female horses, and one team of Black women horse owners have created history after securing their first win, reports WKYT.
Part of the oldest contested sporting event in the nation’s history, the first all-Black woman group of owners part of Living the Dream are celebrating big after their victory scored by their horse “Seven Scents,” and subsequently paving the way for more Black ownership.
“We’re not only owners, we’re winners. We’re showing up at the tracks, we’re representing and we’re taking home prizes,” horse owner Dr. Tiffany Daniels said.
The group of five women owners all agree that acknowledging the Black contributions made to the sport is long overdue.
“The first jockey to win the Kentucky Derby was an African American male. We’re in 2022 right now and we don’t see a lot of us,” said Coya Robinson, another horse owner.
She shared that representation was a major reason for her joining the sport, to feel pride when walking onto a track knowing she’s embodying Black excellence.
“It was a chance for me to live a legacy for my four daughters, for my goddaughters, so I thought it was a good opportunity as a woman,” Robinson said.
Dr. Daniels expressed that the rich Black history surrounding the 148-year-old event has gone undiscussed and thus unheard of. The group of Black women are here to make their mark and introduce more Black aficionados to the industry.
“Us specifically, we’re following in the footsteps of Eliza Carpenter, who was a slave who became a horse owner and an actual jockey,” she said.
As we honor the ladies on this Oaks Day, hear from one of these owners who is making history. She says women can and should leave their mark on the horse racing industry and sport @WKYT WKYT pic.twitter.com/dGjTVXkhsk
— Shelby Lofton (@ShelbyWKYT) May 6, 2022
According to Dr. Daniels, the Lexington-based Ed Brown Society will lead efforts to help propel more minority representation at the horse track.
They aim to advance inclusion in the thoroughbred industry to the next generation of Black horse owners.