Acclaimed Thoroughbred racing cartoonist Pierre Bellocq, better known to generations of racing fans as "Peb," is scheduled Saturday to complete a mural at the Churchill Downs new clubhouse that depicts every jockey that has won the 130 renewals of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) . Starting with the great African American jockey Oliver Lewis, who rode Aristides to victory in the first Kentucky Derby in 1875, and ending on the right with Stewart Elliott, the rider of 2004 winner Smarty Jones, all 96 jockeys who have piloted Thoroughbreds to victory are pictured. Bellocq's mural, which measures 36 feet by five feet, has been mounted on the wall of the 2nd floor of the new clubhouse. He's been working on the mural for the past six months."This work – to do something for Churchill Downs – has been a dream of mine for a long, long time," said Bellocq. "There was an inspiration about it, especially because of my affinity with jockeys. I've been in America for the last 50 years and have devoted all my life to this beautiful artistic visual side of racing." The 77-year-old Bellocq has devoted much of his time to researching pictures of all of the Derby-winning jockeys – especially those from the race's earliest days – and to determine the correct colors of silks worn by those riders. "Peb's tribute to Kentucky Derby winning jockeys is a wonderful tribute to these special athletes and a one-of-a-kind work that will bring joy this spring to patrons of our new clubhouse and to generations of Kentucky Derby fans to come," said Steve Sexton, president of Churchill Downs. Pierre "Peb" Bellocq launched his career on April 1, 1955, when his first cartoon appeared in the pages of The Morning Telegraph, which was then the sister publication of the Daily Racing Form. Several books highlighting his work have been published and an exhibition of his work recently opened an 18-month run at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Fans of Bellocq's work will have a chance to take a smaller version of the artist's latest creation home with them on May 21 when Churchill Downs offers a special poster giveaway of Peb's mural featuring the Kentucky Derby winning jockeys.