Kentucky Derby

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Kentucky Derby
Grade I race
Kentucky Derby.svg
The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports
LocationChurchill Downs
Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Race typeThoroughbred
Race information
Distance1 14 miles (10 furlongs; 2,012 m)
Record1:59 25 secs, Secretariat (1973)
WeightColt/Gelding: 126 lbs (57.2 kg)
Filly: 121 lb (55 kg)
PurseUS$2 million
1st: $1,425,000
BonusesUS$ 200
Jump to: navigation, search
For the season point system, see Road to the Kentucky Derby. For the 2014 race, see 2014 Kentucky Derby.
Kentucky Derby
Grade I race
Kentucky Derby.svg
The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports
LocationChurchill Downs
Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Race typeThoroughbred
Race information
Distance1 14 miles (10 furlongs; 2,012 m)
Record1:59 25 secs, Secretariat (1973)
WeightColt/Gelding: 126 lbs (57.2 kg)
Filly: 121 lb (55 kg)
PurseUS$2 million
1st: $1,425,000
BonusesUS$ 200

The Kentucky Derby /ˈdɜrbi/ is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds, held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, United States, on the first Saturday in May, capping the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival. The race is one and a quarter miles (2 km) at Churchill Downs. Colts and geldings carry 126 pounds (57 kilograms) and fillies 121 pounds (55 kilograms).[1] The race is known in the United States as "The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports" or "The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports" for its approximate duration, and is also called "The Run for the Roses" for the blanket of roses draped over the winner. It is the first leg of the US Triple Crown and is followed by the Preakness Stakes, then the Belmont Stakes. Unlike the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, which took hiatuses in 1891-1893 and 1911-1912, respectively, the Kentucky Derby has been run every consecutive year since 1875. A horse must win all three races to win the Triple Crown.[2] The attendance at the Kentucky Derby ranks first in North America and usually surpasses the attendance of all other stakes races including the Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, and the Breeders' Cup.[3]


In 1872, Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr., grandson of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition, traveled to England, visiting the Derby, a famous race that had been running annually since 1780.[4] From there, Clark went on to Paris, France, where in 1863, a group of racing enthusiasts had formed the French Jockey Club and had organized the Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamps, which at the time was the greatest race in France.

A thoroughbred horse is depicted on the reverse of the Kentucky state quarter

Returning home to Kentucky, Clark organized the Louisville Jockey Club for the purpose of raising money to build quality racing facilities just outside of the city. The track would soon become known as Churchill Downs, named for John and Henry Churchill, who provided the land for the racetrack.[5] Officially, the racetrack was incorporated as Churchill Downs in 1937.[6]

The Kentucky Derby was first run at 1 12 miles (2.4 kilometres), the same distance as the Epsom Derby. The distance was changed in 1896 to its current 1 14 miles (2.0 kilometres). On May 17, 1875, in front of an estimated crowd of 10,000 people, a field of 15 three-year-old horses contested the first Derby. Under jockey Oliver Lewis, a colt named Aristides, who was trained by future Hall of Famer Ansel Williamson, won the inaugural Derby. Later that year, Lewis rode Aristides to a second-place finish in the Belmont Stakes.

Although the first race meeting proved a success, the track ran into financial difficulties and in 1894 the New Louisville Jockey Club was incorporated with new capitalization and improved facilities. Despite this, the business foundered until 1902 when Col. Matt Winn of Louisville put together a syndicate of businessmen to acquire the facility. Under Winn, Churchill Downs prospered and the Kentucky Derby then became the preeminent stakes race for three-year-old thoroughbred horses in North America.

Derby participants are limited to three-year-old horses. No horse since Apollo in 1882 has won the Derby without having raced at age two.[7]

Thoroughbred owners began sending their successful Derby horses to compete a few weeks later in the Preakness Stakes at the Pimlico Race Course, in Baltimore, Maryland, followed by the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York. The three races offered the largest purse and in 1919 Sir Barton became the first horse to win all three races. However, the term Triple Crown didn't come into use for another eleven years. In 1930, when Gallant Fox became the second horse to win all three races, sportswriter Charles Hatton brought the phrase into American usage. Fueled by the media, public interest in the possibility of a "superhorse" that could win the Triple Crown began in the weeks leading up to the derby. Two years after the term was coined, the race, which had been run in mid-May since inception, was changed to the first Saturday in May to allow for a specific schedule for the Triple Crown races. Since 1931, the order of Triple Crown races has been the Kentucky Derby first, followed by the Preakness Stakes and then the Belmont Stakes. Prior to 1931, eleven times the Preakness was run before the Derby. On May 12, 1917 and again on May 13, 1922, the Preakness and the Derby were run on the same day. On eleven occasions the Belmont Stakes was run before the Preakness Stakes.

On May 16, 1925, the first live radio broadcast of the Kentucky Derby was originated by WHAS and was also carried by WGN in Chicago.[8] On May 7, 1949, the first television coverage of the Kentucky Derby took place, produced by WAVE TV, the NBC affiliate in Louisville. This coverage was aired live in the Louisville market and sent to NBC as a kinescope newsreel recording for national broadcast. This broadcast was the first time Zoomar lenses were used on a broadcast TV sports show. On May 3, 1952, the first national television coverage of the Kentucky Derby took place, aired from then-CBS affiliate WHAS-TV.[9] In 1954, the purse exceeded $100,000 for the first time. In 1968 Dancer's Image became the first (and to this day the only) horse to win the race and then be disqualified after traces of phenylbutazone, an analgesic and anti-inflammatory drug, were found in the horse's urinalysis; Forward Pass won after a protracted legal battle by the owners of Dancer's Image (which they lost). Forward Pass thus became the Eighth winner for Calumet Farm. Unexpectedly, the regulations at Kentucky thoroughbred race tracks were changed some years later, allowing horses to run on phenylbutazone. In 1970 Diane Crump became the first female jockey to ride in the Derby, finishing 15th aboard Fathom.

The fastest time ever run in the Derby (at its present distance) was set in 1973 at 1 minute 59 2/5 seconds when Secretariat broke the record set by Northern Dancer in 1964. Not only has Secretariat's record time stood for 41 years, but in the race itself, he did something unique in Triple Crown races: each successive quarter, his times were faster. Though times for non-winners were not recorded, in 1973 Sham finished second, two and a half lengths behind Secretariat in the same race. Using the thoroughbred racing convention of one length equaling one-fifth of a second to calculate Sham’s time, he also finished in under two minutes. Another sub-two-minute finish, only the third, was set in 2001 by Monarchos at 1:59.97.[10]

The 2004 Derby marked the first time that jockeys, as a result of a court order, were allowed to wear corporate advertising logos on their clothing.

In 2005, the purse distribution for the Derby was changed, so that horses finishing fifth would henceforth receive a share of the purse; previously only the first four finishers did so.

Norman Adams has been the designer of the Kentucky Derby Logo since 2002. On February 1, 2006, the Louisville-based fast-food company Yum! Brands, Inc. announced a corporate sponsorship deal to call the race "The Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands."[11]

In 2007, HM Queen Elizabeth II, on a visit to the United States, joined the racegoers at Churchill Downs.

In 2010 Calvin Borel set a new record, being the first jockey to win 3 out of 4 consecutive Kentucky Derbys.[12]


In addition to the race itself, a number of traditions play a large role in the Derby atmosphere. The mint julep, an iced drink consisting of bourbon, mint, and a sugar syrup, is the traditional beverage of the race. The historic drink can be served in an ice-frosted silver julep cup, but most Churchill Downs patrons sip theirs from souvenir glasses (first offered in 1939 and available in revised form each year since) printed with all previous Derby winners. Also, burgoo, a thick stew of beef, chicken, pork, and vegetables, is a popular Kentucky dish served at the Derby.

Louisville Clock (often called the Louisville Derby Clock)

The infield, a spectator area inside the track, offers general admission prices but little chance of seeing much of the race. Instead, revelers show up in the infield to party with abandon. By contrast, "Millionaire's Row" refers to the expensive box seats that attract the rich, the famous and the well-connected. Women appear in fine outfits lavishly accessorized with large, elaborate hats. As the horses are paraded before the grandstands, the University of Louisville Marching Band plays Stephen Foster's "My Old Kentucky Home," a tradition which began in 1921.[13]

The Derby is frequently referred to as "The Run for the Roses," because a lush blanket of 554 red roses is awarded to the Kentucky Derby winner each year. The tradition originated in 1883 when New York socialite E. Berry Wall presented roses to ladies at a post-Derby party that was attended by Churchill Downs founder and president, Col. M. Lewis Clark. This gesture is believed to have led Clark to the idea of making the rose the race's official flower. However, it was not until 1896 that any recorded account referred to roses being draped on the Derby winner. The Governor of Kentucky awards the garland and the Kentucky Derby Trophy. Pop vocalist Dan Fogelberg composed the song "Run for the Roses" which was released in time for the 1980 running of the race.[14]


Most wins by a jockey
Most wins by a trainer
Most wins by an owner
Stakes record
Record Victory Margin
Longest shot to win the Derby


Kentucky Derby winners
2014California ChromeVictor EspinozaArt ShermanSteve Coburn & Perry Martin2:03.66
2013OrbJoel RosarioClaude McGaughey IIIStuart S. Janney III & Phipps Stable2:02.89
2012I'll Have AnotherMario GutierrezDoug O'NeillJ. Paul Reddam2:01.83
2011Animal KingdomJohn VelazquezH. Graham MotionTeam Valor2:02.04
2010Super SaverCalvin BorelTodd PletcherWinStar Farm2:04.45
2009Mine That BirdCalvin BorelBennie L. Woolley, Jr.Double Eagle Ranch et al.2:02.66
2008Big BrownKent DesormeauxRichard E. Dutrow, Jr.IEAH Stables / P. Pompa2:01.82
2007Street SenseCalvin BorelCarl NafzgerJames B. Tafel2:02.17
2006BarbaroEdgar PradoMichael R. MatzLael Stables2:01.36
2005GiacomoMike E. SmithJohn ShirreffsJerry & Ann Moss2:02.75
2004Smarty JonesStewart ElliottJohn ServisSomeday Farm2:04.06
2003Funny CideJose SantosBarclay TaggSackatoga Stable2:01.19
2002War EmblemVictor EspinozaBob BaffertThoroughbred Corp.2:01.13
2001MonarchosJorge F. ChavezJohn T. Ward, Jr.John C. Oxley1:59.97
2000Fusaichi PegasusKent DesormeauxNeil DrysdaleFusao Sekiguchi2:01.00
1999CharismaticChris AntleyD. Wayne LukasBob & Beverly Lewis2:03.20
1998Real QuietKent DesormeauxBob BaffertMichael E. Pegram2:02.20
1997Silver CharmGary StevensBob BaffertBob & Beverly Lewis2:02.40
1996GrindstoneJerry BaileyD. Wayne LukasOverbrook Farm2:01.00
1995Thunder GulchGary StevensD. Wayne LukasMichael Tabor2:01.20
1994Go for GinChris McCarronNick ZitoCondren & Cornacchia2:03.60
1993Sea HeroJerry BaileyMacKenzie MillerRokeby Stables2:02.40
1992Lil E. TeePat DayLynn S. WhitingW. Cal Partee2:03.00
1991Strike the GoldChris AntleyNick ZitoBCC Stable2:03.00
1990UnbridledCraig PerretCarl NafzgerFrances A. Genter2:02.00
1989Sunday SilencePat ValenzuelaCharlie WhittinghamH-G-W Partners2:05.00
1988Winning ColorsGary StevensD. Wayne LukasEugene V. Klein2:02.20
1987AlyshebaChris McCarronJack Van BergD. & P. Scharbauer2:03.40
1986FerdinandBill ShoemakerCharlie WhittinghamElizabeth A. Keck2:02.80
1985Spend A BuckAngel Cordero, Jr.Cam GambolatiDennis Diaz2:00.20
1984SwaleLaffit Pincay, Jr.Woody StephensClaiborne Farm2:02.40
1983Sunny's HaloEddie DelahoussayeDavid C. Cross, Jr.D. J. Foster Stable2:02.20
1982Gato Del SolEddie DelahoussayeEdwin J. GregsonHancock & Peters2:02.40
1981Pleasant ColonyJorge VelasquezJohn P. CampoBuckland Farm2:02.00
1980Genuine RiskJacinto VasquezLeRoy JolleyDiana M. Firestone2:02.00
1979Spectacular BidRonnie FranklinBud DelpHawksworth Farm2:02.40
1978AffirmedSteve CauthenLaz BarreraHarbor View Farm2:01.20
1977Seattle SlewJean CruguetWilliam H. Turner, Jr.Karen L. Taylor2:02.20
1976Bold ForbesAngel Cordero, Jr.Laz BarreraE. Rodriguez Tizol2:01.60
1975Foolish PleasureJacinto VasquezLeRoy JolleyJohn L. Greer2:02.00
1974CannonadeAngel Cordero, Jr.Woody StephensJohn M. Olin2:04.00
1973SecretariatRon TurcotteLucien LaurinMeadow Stable1:59.40
1972Riva RidgeRon TurcotteLucien LaurinMeadow Stud2:01.80
1971Canonero IIGustavo AvilaJuan AriasEdgar Caibett2:03.20
1970Dust CommanderMike ManganelloDon CombsRobert E. Lehmann2:03.40
1969Majestic PrinceBill HartackJohnny LongdenFrank M. McMahon2:01.80
1968*Forward PassIsmael ValenzuelaHenry ForrestCalumet Farm2:02.20
1967Proud ClarionBobby UsseryLoyd Gentry, Jr.Darby Dan Farm2:00.60
1966Kauai KingDon BrumfieldHenry ForrestFord Stable2:02.00
1965Lucky DebonairBill ShoemakerFrank CatroneAda L. Rice2:01.20
1964Northern DancerBill HartackHoratio LuroWindfields Farm2:00.00
1963ChateaugayBraulio BaezaJames P. ConwayDarby Dan Farm2:01.80
1962DecidedlyBill HartackHoratio LuroEl Peco Ranch2:00.40
1961Carry BackJohnny SellersJack A. PriceKatherine Price2:04.00
1960Venetian WayBill HartackVictor J. SovinskiSunny Blue Farm2:02.40
1959Tomy LeeBill ShoemakerFrank E. ChildsFred & Juliette Turner2:02.20
1958Tim TamIsmael ValenzuelaJimmy JonesCalumet Farm2:05.00
1957Iron LiegeBill HartackJimmy JonesCalumet Farm2:02.20
1956NeedlesDavid ErbHugh L. FontaineD & H Stable2:03.40
1955SwapsBill ShoemakerMesh TenneyRex C. Ellsworth2:01.80
1954DetermineRaymond YorkWilliam MolterAndrew J. Crevolin2:03.00
1953Dark StarHank MorenoEddie HaywardCain Hoy Stable2:02.00
1952Hill GailEddie ArcaroBen A. JonesCalumet Farm2:01.60
1951Count TurfConn McCrearySol RutchickJack J. Amiel2:02.60
1950MiddlegroundWilliam BolandMax HirschKing Ranch2:01.60
1949PonderSteve BrooksBen A. JonesCalumet Farm2:04.20
1948CitationEddie ArcaroBen A. JonesCalumet Farm2:05.40
1947Jet PilotEric GuerinTom SmithMaine Chance Farm2:06.80
1946AssaultWarren MehrtensMax HirschKing Ranch2:06.60
1945Hoop Jr.Eddie ArcaroIvan H. ParkeFred W. Hooper2:07.00
1944PensiveConn McCrearyBen A. JonesCalumet Farm2:04.20
1943Count FleetJohnny LongdenDon CameronFannie Hertz2:04.00
1942Shut OutWayne D. WrightJohn M. Gaver, Sr.Greentree Stable2:04.40
1941WhirlawayEddie ArcaroBen A. JonesCalumet Farm2:01.40
1940GallahadionCarroll BiermanRoy WaldronMilky Way Farm2:05.00
1939JohnstownJames StoutJim FitzsimmonsBelair Stud2:03.40
1938LawrinEddie ArcaroBen A. JonesHerbert M. Woolf2:04.80
1937War AdmiralCharley KurtsingerGeorge ConwayGlen Riddle Farm2:03.20
1936Bold VentureIra HanfordMax HirschMorton L. Schwartz2:03.60
1935OmahaWillie SaundersJim FitzsimmonsBelair Stud2:05.00
1934CavalcadeMack GarnerBob SmithBrookmeade Stable2:04.00
1933Brokers TipDon MeadeHerbert J. ThompsonEdward R. Bradley2:06.80
1932Burgoo KingEugene JamesHerbert J. ThompsonEdward R. Bradley2:05.20
1931Twenty GrandCharley KurtsingerJames G. Rowe, Jr.Greentree Stable2:01.80
1930Gallant FoxEarl SandeJim FitzsimmonsBelair Stud2:07.60
1929Clyde Van DusenLinus McAteeClyde Van DusenHerbert P. Gardner2:10.80
1928Reigh CountChick LangBert S. MichellFannie Hertz2:10.40
1927WhiskeryLinus McAteeFred HopkinsHarry P. Whitney2:06.00
1926Bubbling OverAlbert JohnsonHerbert J. ThompsonEdward R. Bradley2:03.80
1925Flying EbonyEarl SandeWilliam B. DukeGifford A. Cochran2:07.60
1924Black GoldJ. D. MooneyHanley WebbRosa M. Hoots2:05.20
1923ZevEarl SandeDavid J. LearyRancocas Stable2:05.40
1922MorvichAlbert JohnsonFred BurlewBenjamin Block2:04.60
1921Behave YourselfCharles ThompsonHerbert J. ThompsonEdward R. Bradley2:04.20
1920Paul JonesTed RiceBilly GarthRal Parr2:09.00
1919Sir BartonJohnny LoftusH. Guy BedwellJ. K. L. Ross2:09.80
1918ExterminatorWilliam KnappHenry McDanielWillis Sharpe Kilmer2:10.80
1917Omar KhayyamCharles BorelCharles T. PattersonBillings & Johnson2:04.60
1916George SmithJohnny LoftusHollie HughesJohn Sanford2:04.00
1915RegretJoe NotterJames G. Rowe, Sr.Harry P. Whitney2:05.40
1914Old RosebudJohn McCabeFrank D. WeirHamilton C. Applegate2:03.40
1913DonerailRoscoe GooseThomas P. HayesThomas P. Hayes2:04.80
1912WorthCarroll H. ShillingFrank M. TaylorHenry C. Hallenbeck2:09.40
1911MeridianGeorge ArchibaldAlbert EwingRichard F. Carman2:05.00
1910DonauFrederick HerbertGeorge HamWilliam Gerst2:06.40
1909WintergreenVincent PowersCharles MackJerome B. Respess2:08.20
1908Stone StreetArthur PickensJ. W. HallC. E. & J. W. Hamilton2:15.20
1907Pink StarAndy MinderW. H. FizerJ. Hal Woodford2:12.60
1906Sir HuonRoscoe TroxlerPete CoyneBashford Manor Stable2:08.80
1905AgileJack MartinRobert TuckerSamuel S. Brown2:10.75
1904ElwoodShorty PriorCharles E. DurnellMrs. C. E. Durnell2:08.50
1903Judge HimesHal BookerJohn P. MayberryCharles R. Ellison2:09.00
1902Alan-a-DaleJimmy WinkfieldThomas C. McDowellThomas C. McDowell2:08.75
1901His EminenceJimmy WinkfieldFrank B. Van MeterFrank B. Van Meter2:07.75
1900Lieut. GibsonJimmy BolandCharles HughesCharles H. Smith2:06.25
1899ManuelFred TaralRobert J. WaldenA. H. & D. H. Morris2:12.00
1898PlauditWillie SimmsJohn E. MaddenJohn E. Madden2:09.00
1897Typhoon IIButtons GarnerJ. C. CahnJ. C. Cahn2:12.50
1896Ben BrushWillie SimmsHardy Campbell, Jr.Mike F. Dwyer2:07.75
1895HalmaSoup PerkinsByron McClellandByron McClelland2:37.50
1894ChantFrank GoodaleH. Eugene LeighLeigh & Rose2:41.00
1893LookoutEddie KunzeWilliam McDanielCushing & Orth2:39.25
1892AzraAlonzo ClaytonJohn H. MorrisBashford Manor Stable2:41.50
1891KingmanIsaac MurphyDud AllenJacobin Stable2:52.25
1890RileyIsaac MurphyEdward CorriganEdward Corrigan2:45.00
1889SpokaneThomas KileyJohn RodegapNoah Armstrong2:34.50
1888Macbeth IIGeorge CovingtonJohn CampbellChicago Stable2:38.00
1887MontroseIsaac LewisJohn McGintyLabold Brothers2:39.25
1886Ben AliPaul DuffyJim MurphyJ. B. A. Haggin2:36.50
1885Joe CottonErskine HendersonAbe PerryJames T. Williams2:37.25
1884BuchananIsaac MurphyWilliam BirdWilliam Cottrill2:40.25
1883LeonatusBilly DonohueRaleigh ColstonChinn & Morgan2:43.00
1882ApolloBabe HurdGreen B. MorrisMorris & Patton2:40.00
1881HindooJim McLaughlinJames G. Rowe, Sr.Dwyer Bros. Stable2:40.00
1880FonsoGeorge LewisTice HutsellJ. Snell Shawhan2:37.50
1879Lord MurphyCharlie ShauerGeorge RiceDarden & Co2:37.00
1878Day StarJimmy CarterLee PaulT. J. Nichols2:37.25
1877Baden-BadenBilly WalkerEdward D. BrownDaniel Swigert2:38.00
1876VagrantBobby SwimJames WilliamsWilliam Astor, Jr.2:38.25
1875AristidesOliver LewisAnsel WilliamsonHal P. McGrath2:37.75

A † designates a Triple Crown Winner.
A ‡ designates a filly.

*In 1968, Dancer's Image, ridden by Bobby Ussery, trained by Lou Cavalaris, Jr., and owned by Peter Fuller, finished first, but was disqualified after a post-race urine sample revealed traces of a banned drug in the horse. The drug in question - phenylbutazone - is now legal for use on racehorses in many states, including Kentucky.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Tenth Race Churchill May 1, 2004". May 1, 2004. Daily Racing Forum. Accessed on May 9, 2006.
  2. ^ Novak, Claire (23 September 2013). "Will Take Charge Wins Pennsylvania Derby". Blood Horse. Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  3. ^ ^ 2009 The Original Racing Almanac, page 140 for Kentucky Derby, page 156 for the Preakness Stakes, page 241 for Kentucky Oaks, page 167 for Belmont Stakes, page 184 Breeders' Cup, June 26, 2008.
  4. ^ "Racing for the Roses - History of Kentucky Derby". 15 February 2014. Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  5. ^ Ward, Arch (April 30, 1936). "Talking It Over". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 5, 2012.  (subscription required)
  6. ^ "History Of Churchill Downs". Churchill Downs. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Martin, Kevin. "Longshot Apollo wins the Kentucky Derby, 1882". Colin's Ghost. Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  8. ^ "Derby To Go On The Air", The New York Times, May 16, 1925, p. 11
  9. ^ "Kentucky Derby History". Kentucky Derby Info. Retrieved 2011-12-29. 
  10. ^ Dandrea, Phil (2010). Acanthus Publishing. 
  11. ^ Isidore, Chris (2006-05-05). "Kentucky Derby including Yum Brands in its name". Archived from the original on 2006-05-17. Retrieved 2010-05-10. 
  12. ^ Derby Racing - Ricky Price, 2010 and Kentucky Derby official site, 2010
  13. ^ "My Old Kentucky Home". 
  14. ^ "Dan Fogelberg Prodigy Chat transcript". Retrieved 5/4/13. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]