[Ed. – The conflict isn’t just external. About a third of the way through, the author writes, ‘But how, Harbut asks, can he be expected to give up his hard-won seat in the owner’s box beneath Churchill Downs’s iconic twin spires? His grandfather Tom could not even sit in the grandstand to watch the 1962 Derby.’ In other words, Harbut is torn between supporting BLM’s ‘cause’ and reaping the rewards of equality that already exist for blacks despite BLM’s message that it doesn’t. Can’t have it both ways.]
In any other year, Greg Harbut would be enjoying the achievement of a lifetime. On Saturday, he will watch his horse Necker Island enter the starting gate for the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby, a moment of pride for a family that over the generations has built its success in the thoroughbred business.
His grandfather Tom bred and owned a horse that ran in the 1962 Derby, and his great-grandfather Will once graced the cover of The Saturday Evening Post alongside the magnificent athlete he cared for, the great Man o’ War.
But this isn’t like any other year. Harbut is the rare Black horse owner in a sport that is among the whitest in America. Now, he is hearing calls that he should boycott America’s most famous race.