From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Irvin, Theophilus, Jr.

(born: 1915  -  died: 2009) Theophilus Irvin, Jr. was the first African American to become a Kentucky Racing Commissioner, he issued licenses and tested the horses for drugs. He served in that post from 1979-1995. Irvin had been working with horses since he was a boy, he worked with his father who was a horse trainer. In 1931, when Theophilus Jr. was 15 years old, he began breaking horses at the Hickory Farm. He got his first trainers license in 1947 at Narragansett, RI, and would later train horses for persons such as J. Graham Brown and Keene Daingerfield. Theophilus Irvin, Jr. was the son of Ada Morton Irvin and Theophilus Irvin, Sr. The family of four lived on 511 Chestnut Street in 1920, according to the U.S. Federal Census. The family lived at 549 Thomas Street in 1932 [source: Polk's Lexington (Kentucky) City Directory]. Theophilus Irvin, Jr.'s birthdate is given as August 22, 1915 in the Kentucky Birth Index. He was married to Olive Bell Irvin (1914-1996). For more see J. Hewlett, "Theophilus Irvin , 93, dies - first African-American employed by the Ky. racing commission," Lexington Herald-Leader, 04/02/2009, Obituary section, p.95, and L. Taylor, "Winner of a different sort," Lexington Herald-Leader, 04/28/1999, p.A6.

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Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Polk's Lexington (Kentucky) city directory
NKAA Source: Lexington herald-leader (newspaper)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry:  Irvin, Theophilus, Sr.

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Irvin, Theophilus, Jr.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed September 30, 2020,

Last modified: 2017-10-31 19:05:27