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Person Profile

C. J. McMahon

Opelousas, Louisiana; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Michael Phelps, Graduate Student Intern

Childhood in Horse Family

C. J. “Stacks” McMahon is a Thoroughbred jockey from Louisiana. His father, Charles McMahon, was a notable Quarter Horse jockey and his mother, Sandra McMahon, worked as a jockey agent.




 McMahon’s grandfather, Philip Calais, Sr. and uncle, Philip Calais, Jr. were both Quarter Horse trainers. McMahon attributes his successful career to his family's encouragement and support.


Early Career and Accomplishments

McMahon became licensed as a jockey at the age of sixteen with his first win aboard Peter’s Valentino at Evangeline Downs in May 2011.




 As of October 2019, McMahon has stacked up over 900 wins and $20.8 million in earnings. So far, his most successful years have been 2015 and 2016 when he was ranked eleventh and thirteenth for total wins among North American jockeys. According to McMahon, his biggest accomplishments have been, “winning the Lone Star Park leading rider title [in 2015], winning the [2016] Super Derby and, of course, the [2016] Oklahoma Derby. I think winning the Super Derby topped everything so far.”


Legacy - On Being a Black Jockey

Ultimately, McMahon would like to see himself atop a horse in the Kentucky Derby, which would be a historic feat. There have been very few African American jockeys to race in the Derby since the famous riders of the late 1800’s. McMahon claims that he wants to be recognized for his achievements rather than skin tone. “There have been a lot of good, successful Black jockeys,” he stated. “I hope to be one of them.” Ultimately though, “I want people to look up to me as a person and not just notice the color of my skin.”



Buchanan, Robin. 2016. “Jockey C. J. McMahon: Texas Chrome the Ride of a Lifetime.” Lady and The Track. November 1, 2016.

“C. J. McMahon Jockey Profile.” n.d. Equibase. Accessed October 19, 2019.

Genaro, Teresa. 2015. “C. J. McMahon And The Rise And Fall Of The Black Jockey.” The Guardian, July 16, 2015, sec. Sport.

Jockey C. J. McMahon Talks about Getting into Racing. 2019. Lone Star Park, Grand Prairie, TX.

“McMahon Racks Up Ten Wins To Get Jockey Of The Week Title.” 2015. Paulick Report. June 15, 2015.

Stevens, Don. 2019. Stacks Is Back!  A Short Chat With Jockey C. J.  McMahon.

Taylor, Jeff. 2014. “Jockey McMahon Back In Action.” Daily Racing Form, August 6, 2014.


When citing this article as a source in 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 page cited.

  • 1Jockey C. J. McMahon Talks about Getting into Racing.
  • 2Buchanan, “Jockey C. J. McMahon.”
  • 3“C.J. McMahon Jockey Profile.”
  • 4Buchanan, “Jockey C. J. McMahon.”
  • 5Genaro, “C. J. McMahon and the Rise and Fall of the Black Jockey.”