Above: Kevin Krigger on Goldencents
By the Caribbean Journal staff
A pair of US Virgin Islands jockeys will be looking to make history on Saturday at the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby: Kevin Krigger and Victor Lebron, both natives of St Croix.
Both are the first US Virgin Islands-born jockeys to qualify for the Derby.
Krigger himself is on the cusp of history — a victory would make him the first African-American jockey to win the Derby since 1902 riding a horse called Goldencents.
The horse is notable for another reason — it’s owned by Hall of Fame basketball coach Rick Pitino.
Krigger qualified for the Derby by winning the Santa Antia Derby in April on Goldencents.
Lebron is riding a horse called Frac Daddy. But while Goldencents is currently at 7-1 odds, Frac Daddy’s odds are at 23-1.
“The participation of two Virgin Islanders in such a prestigious event, who got their start in the Virgin Islands and still participate locally, is a tremendous recognition of the talent we have in the Territory and how we must nurture our young people for the eventual exposure as Ambassadors they bring to us,” USVI Governor de Jongh said earlier this week. “The community’s coming together and pride that is felt and exhibited is on par with the international recognition that we are receiving because of these two young men.”
The USVI’s Department of Tourism has looked to capitalize on the notoriety, with both jockeys set to wear apparel including the USVI logo.
“We are extremely proud of these talented Virgin Islands athletes and pleased that both were very willing to partner with us to promote the USVI,” said Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty.