February 20, 2024



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Allen, Dudley

(born: 1845  –  died: 1911)

Dudley Allen, a slave born in Lexington, KY, was owned by either Walter or John Dunn. Allen became a noted thoroughbred owner and trainer. He owned a stock farm in Lexington, where he trained his own young horses and sold others to wealthy horsemen. Allen had purchased the farm after serving in the 5th U.S. Colored Cavalry Regiment.

Allen was the first African American to own a Kentucky Derby winner, in 1891: he was part-owner of Kingman, ridden by Isaac Murphy. Allen was one of two leading trainers at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY.

The following was submitted by University of Kentucky Anthropology Researcher Nancy O’Malley: Dudley died at his residence at 416 Kinkead Street in Lexington. He and his wife, Margaret Crittenden Allen (d. 1919), had lived in the home since around 1871 when Margaret purchased the lot from George B. Kinkead. The couple was married by Reverend George Downing in Lexington in 1866 after Dudley had served in the Army with Company M of the 5th U.S. Colored Cavalry, 1864-1866, as a Quartermaster Sergeant.

The 5th Colored Cavalry fought October 2, 1864, in Saltville, VA; “many of the soldiers had not been adequately trained and were not properly equipped, and a disastrous defeat followed.” The 5th Colored Cavalry also fought in Lexington on October 19 and in Harrodsburg on October 21, returning to Virginia in December when the Saltville works were destroyed.

Dudley Allen

Lexington, Kentucky; Cynthiana, Kentucky; Paris, Kentucky; Louisville, Kentucky; Helena, Arkansas; Harlem, Clay County, Missouri

Emily Libecap, Graduate Student Intern

Childhood and Family

Dudley Allen was born in Lexington, Kentucky. John Dunn enslaved him.1 Difference about his birth date was found in his military records. However, the 1900 census gives the date of March 1846.2 His father’s name was Hosea. Researchers are still looking for records of his mother’s name.3

Freedom and Military Service

Allen became free when he enlisted with the United States Colored Troops during the Civil War on August 29, 1864. He served in Company M, 5th Cavalry and, as a quartermaster sergeant. He was responsible for the company wagon and all the property it contained, as well as the care of horses and mules. Allen was discharged along with the rest of his regiment in Helena, Arkansas on March 16, 1866.4

Community and Career

Allen returned to Lexington and married Margaret Crittenden in 1870.5 They purchased a home in East Lexington in Kinkeadtown, a community located close to the Kentucky Association track. This is where Allen trained the horses in his own stable. It was during this time that Allen launched his 40-year career as an owner and trainer.

Allen’s stable was well-regarded and employed others, including his wife’s nephew. Allen worked as a trainer for the Runnymeade Stud Farm, as well as individual owners including Thomas Jefferson Megibben (founder and president of the Latonia Race Course). Allen also was a part-owner along with Kinzea Stone of Jacobin Stable in Georgetown, Kentucky.6

The 1891 Kentucky Derby

The highlight of Allen’s career was the 1891 Kentucky Derby. Kingman, trained and owned by Allen, won with Isaac Murphy aboard. Jacobin Stables registered Kingman for the race, as it would have been too controversial to outright list Allen as the horse’s owner. Allen and Murphy were the last African American owner-jockey pair to win the Derby in its history.7

Death and Legacy

Allen passed away at his home in 1911 due to kidney and heart disease. He was buried at the National Military Cemetery in the Lexington Cemetery. His wife followed him in death in 1919 and she was buried in Cove Haven Cemetery, also in Lexington, Kentucky. Allen’s legacy endures in his winning record with Isaac Murphy, and as the first and only African American horse owner to win a Kentucky Derby.8


“African Americans in the Derby.” n.d. Churchill Downs. https://www.kentuckyderby.com/history/african-americans-in-the-derby.

“Allen, Dudley.” n.d. In Notable Kentucky African Americans Database. Accessed November 11, 2019. https://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/items/show/1910.

“Compiled Military Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served with the United States Colored Troops: 1st through 5th United States Colored Cavalry, 5th Massachusetts Cavalry, 6th United States Colored Cavalry.” n.d. National Archive, Washington, DC. Record Group Number 94. National Archives and Records Administration.

“Death Certificate: Dudley Allen.” 1911. Fayette County, Kentucky. #25448.

Dyer, Frederick H. 1959. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion. Thomas Yoseloff.

“Fayette County Colored Marriage Record.” 1870. Fayette County Clerk, Lexington, Kentucky.

Giles, Yvonne. 2019. “Dudley Allen.” Research.

Kentucky Live Stock Record. n.d. “Horses in Training,” fall issues of 1877, 1878, 1880, 1881, 1882 edition.

Rees, Jennie. 2015. “Kentucky Derby 2015 Countdown: Kingman, 1891.” The Courier-Journal, April 15, 2015. https://www.courier-journal.com/story/sports/horses/triple/derby/2015/04/15/countdown-kentucky-derby-kingman/25784415/.

Renau, Lynn S. 1995. Jockeys, Belles and Bluegrass Kings. Louisville, Ky,: Herr House Press.

“SGT Dudley Allen (1845-1911) Grave Memorial.” n.d. Accessed September 22, 2020. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/271126/dudley-allen.

The Courier-Journal. 1891. “Kingman Sold At Auction In Latonia,” September 28, 1891.

The Daily Leader. 1894. “Allen Sued by Barkley Brothers Harness Makers,” July 24, 1894.

———. 1895. “Judge Parker’s Common Law Period Begins Today With A Big Docket,” May 14, 1895.

The Kentucky Leader. 1891. “Stands By Kingman: The Kentucky Association On Its Dignity,” May 12, 1891.

———. 1894. “Suit Over A Stake: Kinzea Stone Sues Dudley Allen, His Old Turf Partner,” November 27, 1894.

The Thoroughbred Record. 1900. “Training of Russell of Harlem, Missouri,” February 3, 1900.

“Twelfth Census of the United States.” 1900. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration. 1900 Clay County, Missouri Census, Index 204A.


When citing this article as a source in the Chicago Manual of Style use this format: Last name, first name of Author. Chronicle of African Americans in the Horse Industry. n.d. “Title of Profile or Story.” International Museum of the Horse. Accessed date. URL of the page cited.

  • 1.Military Records.
  • 2.1900 Clay County, Missouri Census.
  • 3.Death Certificate: Dudley Allen.
  • 4.Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, 1908.
  • 5.Fayette County Colored Marriage Record.
  • 6.“Horses in Training.”
  • 7.Giles, “Dudley Allen.”
  • 8.“African Americans in the Derby.”
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