GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was the first African American female horse racing jockey and the first woman to serve as a California horse racing steward.Licensed to ride at Thistledown in North Randall, Ohio, when she was 17 years old, White began her career riding for her father, trainer Raymond White, in June 1971.She finished 11th in her first race, on a gelding named Ace Reward. White earned her first win as a jockey on September 3, 1971, riding Jetolara to victory at Waterford Park (now Mountaineer Park) in Chester, West Virginia.Today in our History – October 29, 1953 – Cheryl White (October 29, 1953 — September 20, 2019) was born. White’s debut on track garnered significant attention. National newspapers covered her first start as a jockey, and she appeared on the cover of the July 29, 1971 issue of Jet Magazine.White is credited with 226 wins and earnings of $762,624 in Thoroughbred racing, but her career also included Quarter Horse, Arabian, Paint, and Appaloosa racing. In total, White estimates that she won about 750 races. As a Thoroughbred rider, White became the first woman to win two races on the same day in two states in 1971 when she rode a winner at Thistledown and then at Waterford. She was also the first female jockey to win five races in one day, accomplishing that feat on October 19, 1983 at Fresno Fair.As an Appaloosa rider, White was the first woman to win the Appaloosa Horse Club’s Jockey of the Year award, scoring the title in 1977, and then again in 1983, 1984, and 1985. She was inducted into the Appaloosa Hall of Fame in 2011.After passing the California Horse Racing Board’s Steward Examination in 1991, White retired from riding in 1992 to become a racing official. She returned to the saddle for appearances in the Lady Legends for the Cure event held by Pimlico Race Course from 2010-2014. Her final ride was aboard Macho Spaces at Pimlico in 2014.Born in Cleveland, White died on September 20, 2019 at the age of 65, in Youngstown, Ohio. “Cheryl was never a great self-promoter, and wasn’t concerned with the politics of racing,” her brother, Raymond White Jr., said in a press release announcing her death. “She just did her thing. She didn’t understand what she had accomplished. I don’t know that she understood her significance, or place in history.” Cheryl White, America’s first black female jockey, passed away at the age of 65 on September 20, 2019. Her memorial was held on October 18 at Thistledown Race Track in Cleveland, OH, where she rode her first race on June 15, 1971 at the age of 17.Cheryl was no stranger to horses growing up. She was born into a horse racing family and was raised on a horse farm. Her father, Raymond White, Sr., was an accomplished Thoroughbred trainer, and her mother, Doris, was a racehorse owner.Over the course of her 21-year career as a jockey, Cheryl won over 750 races. As reported by a recent betchicago article, when asked about her first race at Thistledown, astride a horse named Ace Reward, Cheryl said, “I just wanted those gates to open. I wasn’t nervous and knew I’d be first out and get the lead.”Cheryl was right. Ace Reward started off in the lead in the fifth race at Cleveland’s Thistledown Race Track and for about three-eighths of a mile in the $2,600, six-furlong race, it looked as if the filly would carry her rider to a historic victory. However, the filly lagged and the pair finished last out of 11 horses.Be that as it may, the five-foot-three, 107-pound White, atop her father’s horse, made history as the first black female jockey in the United States. That outing was the first of two scheduled probationary rides for White as she worked toward becoming the first nonwhite woman licensed to jockey.That wouldn’t be the only time Cheryl White would make history.On September 2, 1971, at Waterford Park, Cheryl became the first black woman to win a Thoroughbred horse race in the United States. As a Thoroughbred jockey, she also because the first woman to win two races on the same day in two states when she won a race in Thistledown in Ohio and then another one at Waterford Park in West Virginia. Cheryl accomplished another historic milestone when, on October 19, 1983 at the Fresno Fair, she because the first female jockey to win five races in one day.Cheryl graced the cover of the July 1971 issue of Jet magazine and the front page of The Plain Dealer on June 16, 1971 due to her groundbreaking achievements and for breaking the color barrier in horse racing. She is also in the Appaloosa Hall of Fame, has been nominated for the Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame and is a recipient of the Award of Merit by the African American Sports Hall of Fame.Cheryl’s family would like to create a permanent memorial and foundation in her honor. The foundation will help inspire and introduce horses, horse racing, riding and other aspects of the industry to children who are underprivileged and at risk, but will be open to all children no matter their background.To donate to the Cheryl White Memorial Foundation, visit this website. All donations will be put towards the permanent memorial and foundation.“Cheryl was never a great self-promoter, and wasn’t concerned with the politics of racing,” said her brother, Raymond White, Jr. “She just did her thing. She didn’t understand what she had accomplished. I don’t know that she understood her significance, or place in history.”Cheryl is survived by her brother Raymond White, Jr.; nephews Raymond White III, Christopher Scott and Luciano White; niece Nikki White; great-nieces Jocelyn White and Sheena White; great-nephew Raymond White IV; and countless racetrack friends that were her extended family.“Cheryl is a true legend and will be missed terribly by all who love her,” said Raymond. “We are extremely saddened and heartbroken beyond comprehension to have lost Cheryl. She has been taken home by God to join our mother and father, Doris and Raymond White Sr.” Reserach more about this great American champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!