LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Ed Brown Society, named in honor of the celebrated African American horseman who served as a jockey, trainer and owner, seeks to educate young Black people about equine history and the role of Brown and other horsemen of his race.

Governor Andy Beshear joined in the effort, by signing a proclamation recognizing the contributions of African Americans to horse racing.

What You Need To Know

  • Black jockeys once made up the majority in horse racing

  • A number of Black jockeys are in the The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Kentucky 

  • Black people weren't allowed to attend the Kentucky Derby during segregation

  • The Ed Brown Society seeks to educate young Black people about equine history

"Brown's most distinguished career highlights include two stand-out victories. He rode Kingfisher to win the fourth running of the Belmont stakes in 1870 and led Baden Baden as a trainer in 1877 to win the third running of the Kentucky Derby. And whereas Brown started training for other owners and used his profits to build a quality racing stable that competed under the name Ed Brown and company," Beshear said. 

Ray Daniels and Greg Harbut, who are heavily involved in the racing industry and board members of the society, were also recognized by the Governor.

"Harbut and Daniels are taking on the task of restoring the past about the history and contributions of African Americans in the horse racing industry. Additionally, they embrace the call to lift as they climb by making opportunities for more African Americans to be at the forefront of the sport. I can't imagine a better way to start derby week than assuring Derby is truly available for everyone."

Beshear named the week of April 25 as Ed Brown Society Week in Kentucky. That's something Daniels said holds special importance.

"We want to focus on the past, we want to focus on the present, and focus on the future, and on the past. We want to acknowledge and educate about the wonderful history of African Americans in horse racing in our great state in particular. Edward Brown being from our great state, it was an obvious choice for us to uplift his story being sold on the steps of Lexington Courthouse and making it to the elite level of the Hall of Fame in our historic racing industry," Daniels said. 

Multi-generational horse owner Harbut also chimed in to drive home the importance of honoring Brown.

"To see the record he was able to accomplish, not only as a jockey and trainer as well as owner, is just very significant. We wanted future students to be able to look up and recognize the individual who overcame obstacles and barriers that were put in front of him and what better individual to model that after than Ed Brown," Harbut said. 

Harbut's Grandfather was a part owner of a horse that finished 11th in the Kentucky Derby Back in 1962. Harbut's horse, Necker Island, finished 9th in last year's Run for the Roses.