Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame seeks public’s help with Latino exhibit

October 23, 2017 GMT

The Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum is partnering with the University of SC Department of History to develop an exhibit dedicated to the contributions to horse racing made by Aiken’s Latino community to the local Thoroughbred racing industry, according to a recent release from the City of Aiken Parks, Recreation and Tourism.

“We invite everyone involved in the horse industry in any position to share their stories regarding the rise of the Latino population in horse racing, which will become an exhibit at the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum in Aiken,” said Gabrielle Kuenzli, a professor of Latin American history at the University of South Carolina, in a recent email. “Interviews may be carried out in Spanish or English, and individual’s backgrounds, such as experience in Latin America in ranches or jockey schools is most welcome.”

Kuenzli also said that those who are interviewed may identify themselves or remain anonymous.

According to the release, the Latino community has made significant contributions to racing. They have worked as grooms, exercise riders, trainers and owners. The museum would like to highlight these contributions. However, they need to public’s help, asking anyone with stories or photographs to contact Kuenzli or Museum Coordinator, Lisa Hall.

According to Kuenzli, horse racing is one of the oldest and most celebrated sports in America and reflects a population change in the Southeast through the rise of Latino jockeys.

According to Kuenzli, in the 2015 Kentucky Derby, 61 percent of the jockeys were Latino and in that same year, Victor Espinoza rode American Pharaoh to a Triple Crown Victory. It was the first in 37 years, the last Triple Crown Victory being in 1978.

According to the release, Hall and Kuenzli will document the history of the Latino population in horse racing, using the Aiken Training Track to showcase the growing Latino community in a rural southern community.

The Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum is located in Hopelands Gardens at 135 Dupree Place. It is open Sept. through May, Tuesday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.

Anyone with information concerning Latinos in horseracing may contact Hall at halloffame@cityofaikensc.gov or Kuenzli at kuenzli@sc.edu.

More information about the Racing Hall of Fame can be found at www.aikenracinghalloffame.com.