We are a community-based organization that curates live events during the weeks leading up to the Kentucky Derby to spotlight the successful history and founding contributions of African Americans in Thoroughbred Racing.
When we launched our first event - "The Run for the Roses Gala" seven years ago, we had one specific purpose in mind: To bring a Kentucky Derby Style celebration to the Harlem Community that recognized the immense legacy and history of the Black Jockeys who comprised 13 of the 15 riders in the first running of the Kentucky Derby in 1875. We started out as a one-day event with a gathering of about 150 people and introduced the pomp and circumstance of the Kentucky Derby - Harlem Style.
Since that time we have transformed this event into a three-week series, with guests traveling from all over the Tri-State Area and beyond for a one-of-a-kind, rich cultural experience - The Harlem Derby.
We are proud of what we've built in the Harlem community. We were the first to host the Harlem Derby in 2013. Since that time this trend has caught fire. Following our inaugural launch, a year later more than a dozen Uptown bars and restaurants hosted Harlem Derby celebrations for the first time to include The Red Rooster, The Cecil's Steak House, Barawine, BLVD Bistro NY, Gin Fizz, B2 Harlem, and many more!
The rest is history. Now eight years strong, we curate the most highly anticipated Kentucky Derby themed, community-wide celebration in Harlem!
MEET ROB OWENS
Rob Owens is the Founder and President of Harlem Derby. A native Kentuckian and former athlete who grew up surrounded by the formality and ceremony of the Kentucky Derby, it was only natural that he created Harlem Derby as a natural extension of his southern roots after relocating to New York City and settling in Harlem.
Rob is dedicated to sharing the legacy of the Black Jockeys. He created Harlem Derby in 2013 to spotlight their accomplishments and give back to inner-city youth who might benefit from their amazing successes. The Harlem Derby Style Hat collection names all of the Black Jockeys and allows fashion enthusiasts to celebrate these iconic figures in style. In addition to his work as a designer, Rob produces all Harlem Derby events. He is also a stylist and model.