05/05/2005 11:00PM

House lauds Winkfield


The House of Representatives passed a resolution on Thursday honoring Jimmy Winkfield, the African-American jockey who won two Kentucky Derbies and later spent most of his life in exile in Europe.

The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky and Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois, was written to honor a "Kentucky legend," according to Whitfield.

Winkfield "overcame adversity throughout his life to become one of the greatest jockeys of all time," Whitfield said. "Wink was a true Kentuckian who won all his Derbies on Kentucky-bred horses."

Winkfield won the 1901 Kentucky Derby on His Eminence and the 1902 Derby on Alan-a-Dale. One of three African-American jockeys to ride Derby winners, he was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 2004.

Winkfield fled the United States for Russia after segregation laws sought to remove African-Americans from racing. In Russia, he won the national riding title three times, while also regularly riding in Germany.

In 1917, following the Bolshevik revolution, Winkfield left Russia for France, escorting several hundred members of the racing industry from Odessa into Europe. He retired from riding in 1930 and bought a farm outside of Paris, but fled France after the Nazi occupation in 1940. After the war, Winkfield briefly returned to the United States to train, but he eventually went back to his farm in France, where he died in 1974 at the age of 94.