theGrio’s 100: Kevin Krigger, jockey, chases dreams and sets impressive standard

Who is Kevin Krigger?

Kevin Krigger is a professional jockey. Of the estimated 1,000 jockeys competing around the country, only some five percent are African-American.

The St. Croix native rode his first horse at the age of five, watched horse races on TV and was convinced he would make a career out of the sport when he was in kindergarten.

Why is he on theGrio’s 100?

Last year, Kevin Krigger became just the second black jockey since 1921 to compete in the Kentucky Derby. Even before the Derby, Krigger understood the importance of him being in the field of 19 and the potential impact of motivating young African-Americans to the racetrack:

“I pray to God they do,” said Krigger, who has been riding in the U.S. since 2001. “The world is a place where people should unify no matter your color or your race or your language. I hope I can motivate anyone who wants to become a jockey.”

Krigger didn’t win the Derby, but he’s no stranger to history. Before the Derby, he became the first African-American to win a million-dollar race in the United States.

What’s next for Krigger?

After a disappointing finish in the Kentucky Derby, Krigger lost the mount on Goldencents and returned to Golden Gate Fields where he last raced in December, 2011.

Krigger, who also changed agents, said the move was a family decision.

Krigger hopes to return to the Kentucky Derby soon.

Follow Kevin Krigger on Twitter @KevinKrigger