Historical Marker #1475 in Jeffersontown notes the history of recognized jockey and horse trainer Roscoe Goose, who won the 1913 Kentucky Derby riding Donerail.
Kentucky is known for producing the horses that win high-stakes races, but in racing's early days the Bluegrass State was also the home of many of the riders who guided their steeds to victory. African American jockeys were likely to be found racing mounts in the second half of the nineteenth century. In fact, black jockeys won over half of the first twenty-eight Kentucky Derbies. But, after the turn of the century, more and more black jockeys were replaced by white riders.
Roscoe Goose, born in 1891 in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, was a white jockey who found success during this era. Goose came from a family of horsemen and began riding at a very early age at Kentucky county fair races. By 1908, he rode in his first Kentucky Derby. In 1913, at age twenty-two, Goose won the Kentucky Derby. That day he was riding Donerail, who was listed at 91-1 odds of winning. Donerail, on the last turn of the race, and urged on furiously by Goose, passed the favorite Ten Point and won, which made Donerail the longest-priced victor in Derby history.
After a successful jockey career, which included 135 victories and 12 wins in stakes, Goose remained in the horse racing industry as a trainer. Goose had significant success as a trainer. In 1939 and 1940, he scored victories in stakes races. He also served as a mentor for young jockeys, often opening his home to poor, aspiring, and traveling riders.
In 1948, Goose was chosen president of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Breeders' Association, a position he held for three years. He later served as the stable superintendent at Churchill Downs and as a purchasing agent for various owners. In 1957, Goose was named to the inaugural class of inductees to the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame. Roscoe Goose passed away at age 81 in 1971 at his home near Churchill Downs from a heart attack. He was buried in Cave Hill Cemetery. It was learned after Goose's death that he had quietly amassed a $1.2 million fortune, most of which was left to family members and friends.