LEXINGTON, KY (January 31, 2005) As part of Black History Month, the Kentucky Horse Park would like to invite visitors to pay their respects to one of Thoroughbred racing’s greatest legends, Isaac Burns Murphy, who was born in Fayette County in 1861 and is buried at the park.
John Nicholson, Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park stated, “Isaac Burns Murphy will continue to live in history as one of racing’s greatest jockeys. We are very proud of the fact that we have been able to pay homage to this terrific athlete by providing a place of honor for his remains in our cemetery.” He continued, “Thousands of visitors each year stop for a reflective moment at Mr. Burns’ burial site here at the park. We also offer other opportunities for visitors to learn more about his remarkable career, as he continues to be an inspiration.”
According to the African American Registry, “Isaac Burns Murphy was part of the superabundance of black jockeys in the history of horse racing. The horse racing sport was built with the talents of black people whose jobs typically included trainer, jockey, and owner.”
The Registry continues, “He first worked as an exercise boy at Lexington stables…soon the incredibly talented Murphy dominated the sport of horse racing. In 1879, he won a record thirty-five of seventy-five races he entered. He won forty-nine of fifty-one starts at Saratoga in 1882, and on several days he rode winners in every race. Murphy's abilities earned him the best mounts of his era. He soared to victory in three Kentucky Derbies and became the first back-to-back and three-time Kentucky Derby winner! He retired in 1892 to become a horse trainer. He achieved a record 628 wins in 1,412 races during the fifteen seasons he rode.”
Murphy was inducted into the Jockey's Hall of Fame at Saratoga in 1955. His body was reinterred at the Kentucky Horse Park in 1977.
Winter Season Hours and Rates: through March 14, admission is $9 for adults, $6 for children 7-12. Children six and under are always admitted free of charge. The park is open from 9 am until 5 pm Wednesday through Sunday. Admission includes the American Saddlebred Museum.
The Kentucky Horse Park is a working horse farm/theme park and equine competition facility dedicated to man’s relationship with the horse. An agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet, the park hosted 913,000 visitors and 80 special events and horse shows in 2003. The park is located at Exit 120, Interstate 75, just north of Lexington. The place to get close to horses, the park is open daily March 15 to October 31, and Wednesday through Sunday, November 1 to March 14.