Issac Burns (1861-1896) was born in Frankfort, Kentucky. His father fought in the Civil War and died a POW in Camp Nelson. Issac moved to Lexington to be raised by his grandfather Green Murphy, whose last name Issac would adopt (going by Issac Burns Murphy).
At the age of 14 Issac began training to be a jockey. Murphy would win 628 races total in his career. He competed in eleven Kentucky Derbies, winning three of them; in 1884 on Buchanan, 1890 on Riley, and 1891 on Kingman. Kingman was also the only horse owned by an African-American to win the Kentucky Derby. He is also the only jockey to win the Derby, the Kentucky Oaks, and Clark Handicap in the same year (1884). He had a winning percentage of 44%, which has yet to be surpassed.
In 1896 Issac Burns Murphy died of pneumonia in Lexington. He was buried in an unmarked grave and was all but forgotten until the 1960s when University of Kentucky researchers spent three years locating his grave. His remains were removed and interred next to the famous horse Man O' War at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. When the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame was opened in 1955, Murphy was the first inductee. Since 1995 the National Turf Writers Association gives the Issac Murphy Award to the jockey with the highest win percentage in North America.