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 Isaac Burns Murphy

Isaac Burns Murphy

Birth
Fayette County, Kentucky, USA
Death 12 Feb 1896 (aged 35)
Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky, USA
Burial Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky, USA
Memorial ID 5145 · View Source
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Horse Racing Jockey. An African-American whose father was a Union soldier who died in a Confederate prison, he was the top jockey of his era and is still considered by many to be the greatest jockey in history. He had a horse racing career that saw him win over 600 races, by far the most in his time. His style was a marked contrast to the accepted jockey practices of the day - he rarely used his whip or his spurs, preferring to talk to the horse. He was said by his contemporaries to be able to persuade his horses to win for him. Scrupulously honest and a man of great integrity, many times he was offered large sums of money to fix races. Instead of accepting the money and living in luxury, he chose to rebuff the bribery each time, and continued to race with dignity and honesty. At the height of his career he was paid an astounding sum (for that day) of $10,000 a year. He won numerous famous races multiple times, including the Kentucky Derby thrice, the first jockey to ever do it. He was so successful he retired at age 36, but died at 37 of pneumonia. When the cemetery he was originally buried in was abandoned and became overgrown, his remains were removed to Kentucky Park and lie now near some of the famous horses in history.

Bio by: Russ Dodge


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 16 Apr 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5145
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Isaac Burns Murphy (1 Jan 1861–12 Feb 1896), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5145, citing Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .