Alonzo “Lonnie” Clayton (July 26, 1876 – October 1, 1917) was a prominent African-American jockey who achieved significant success during the late 19th century. He is best known for being the youngest jockey to win the Kentucky Derby, a record that still stands to this day. Clayton was born on July 26, 1876, in Kansas. His father was also a jockey, and he learned the art of horse racing from him. At the age of 15, Clayton began his professional career as a jockey and quickly gained attention for his talent and skill.
In 1892, at the age of 15 years, 283 days, Clayton made history by winning the Kentucky Derby aboard Azra. This victory made him the youngest jockey to ever win the prestigious race. Clayton’s victory at such a young age was remarkable and earned him widespread recognition in the racing community.
Following his Kentucky Derby win, Clayton continued to have a successful career as a jockey. He competed in various races across the United States and achieved numerous victories. However, his career was tragically cut short.
On October 1, 1917, Lonnie Clayton died in a racing accident at the age of 41. He was riding in a race at the Latonia Race Track in Kentucky when his horse fell, resulting in fatal injuries. Despite his untimely death, Clayton’s contributions to horse racing and his historic Kentucky Derby win remain an important part of racing history.
Lonnie Clayton’s legacy as the youngest jockey to win the Kentucky Derby continues to be remembered and celebrated in the horse racing community. His achievements opened doors for future generations of African-American jockeys and left an indelible mark on the sport.