O'Neill, Krigger chase Derby history together
TribLIVE Sports Videos
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A little-known jockey and a lightly regarded horse pulled off an upset victory for trainer Doug O'Neill at last year's Kentucky Derby.
On Saturday, he'll give another relative unknown a chance of not only winning the big race, but also joining him in the record books if that happens.
Kevin Krigger, the first black jockey in the Derby since 2000, will be aboard O'Neill's Goldencents, considered a much stronger contender than last year's winner, I'll Have Another.
Only six trainers have won consecutive Derbies in 138 years, and no black jockey has won since 1902.
The 29-year-old Krigger, who hails from St. Croix, Virgin Islands, had some success on the smaller Northern California circuit before trying his luck in the big leagues of Los Angeles.
O'Neill is a friend of Krigger's agent, Tom Knust. So Krigger started working out Goldencents in the morning about six weeks before the colt's racing debut.
And suddenly, the Derby rookie was the colt's regular rider. They've won four of six races together, including the Santa Anita Derby, which I'll Have Another won last year before heading to Churchill Downs.
One of Goldencents' owners is Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino, who has a 5 percent share in the colt. Krigger never had watched a college basketball game start to finish until he saw the Cardinals beat Michigan for the national championship earlier this month.
“That made me a Louisville Cardinals fan,” he said.
Krigger figures to pick up a lot more fans of his own if he can win the Derby, a feat no black jockey has accomplished since Jimmy Winkfield won his second straight in 1902. He keeps a picture of Winkfield in his locker.
Krigger has wanted to be a jockey since he was 5, when he hopped on a horse his grandmother gave him. He would watch races on TV, and “ride his mother's couch like it was a horse,” his father, Albert Krigger, said.
When he was in kindergarten, Krigger told his mother about his future career plans.
“She thought I was kidding,” he said.
Krigger, who came to the U.S. in 2001, will have about 30 friends and family — including his fiancee and his four children, ages 2 to 11 — cheering him on Saturday.
“I've always thought of myself as the best rider in the world, and there's no reason why I shouldn't,” he said. “Goldencents is the horse that is going to help me prove that.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Robbery, other counts held against Glassport suspect
- Pirates come back to take series from Padres
- Rain plays havoc with American Legion teams
- Starkey: Is this Huntington’s best Bucs team?
- East Deer police chase ends in arrest
- Pirates notebook: Kang settling in to comfort zone
- Mother of Wilkinsburg toddler found dead in ravine charged with her murder
- 92-year-old Rostraver home invasion victim questioned by suspect in court
- Weather puts county emergency operations into ‘storm mode’
- Mt. Pleasant Borough councilwoman swaps role to deliver ‘apology’
- U.S. job openings stay high, but actual hiring falters in May