TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Kentucky Derby Day!

May 1, 1775, Benjamin Logan arrived in Kentucky County, Virginia with a survey party led by John Floyd and erected “a little town,” they named St. Asaph’s.  Logan built a cabin and planted a corn crop, which he would later use as proof to make his claim to 1,400 acres, despite returning to Eastern Virginia and not returning until March 1776 with his family.  Today Logan’s fort is located in Lincoln County.

May 1, 1905, the Seelbach Hotel celebrated its grand opening, drawing 25,000 visitors to its five-hour public inspection, including the South’s first roof garden.  Over the years, celebrities and dignitaries visited, including Presidents Taft, Wilson, F.D. Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, and Clinton.  Another special guest was Al Capone, whose legacy remains with the large mirror he sent from Chicago so that he could watch his back.

Localtonians wishes a Happy Birthday to Mayfield native Bobbie Ann Mason, born in 1940.  Bobbie was a novelist, short story writer, essayist, and literary critic whose memoir was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

May 1, 1943, the 69th Kentucky Derby was also known as the “Street-Car Derby.”  Colonel Matt Winn lobbied for the 1943 Kentucky Derby despite many restrictions related to the war effort.  Instead, he promised to organize a “Street-Car Derby,” where out-of-state patrons could not travel to Louisville, and locals had to use the street-Car rather than drive to the track.  The horse with the shortest odds in Derby history wins at 2-5, Count Fleet, who would become the 6th Triple Crown winner.

May 1, 1948, Warren Wright’s Calumet Farm’s Citation wins the 74th Kentucky Derby in 2:05 2/5.  Eddie Arcaro was in the reins and Ben Jones trainer.  Citation goes on to be the 7th Triple Crown winner.

May 1, 1954, Determine wins the 80th Kentucky Derby, the first grey colt to win the roses.  Andrew J. Crevolin was the lucky owner, William Molter the conditioner and Raymond York was in the irons.  Determine went in 2:03 to earn $102,050.  York last rode in a race at Santa Anita in 2000, becoming the first jockey to officially ride in seven different decades.

Kentucky Trivia: The winning owner of the 1954 Derby thrust the trophy up in the air, where he lost control.  The lid came flying off, and the base came crashing down, landing on his foot.  Although he broke the foot and damaged the trophy, he had won the roses.

May 1, 1965, Kentucky bred Lucky Debonair wins the 91st Kentucky Derby after winning the Santa Anita Derby and Bluegrass Stakes.  The winning time was 2:01 1/5 for owner Ada L. Rice Racing Stable, trainer Frank Catrone and jockey Willie Shoemaker, claiming $112,000 for first place.

May 1, 1968, Marine Corps CPL David A. Jones from Ft. Thomas in Campbell County died in the Vietnam War.

May 1, 1969, Marine Corps PFC Michele L. Jackson from Bowling Green died in the Vietnam War.

May 1, 1969, the Louisville Zoo opens with 250 animals on exhibit.  The admission price was 50 cents for adults and 25 cents for children 5 -14.  The 134-acre site today currently exhibits over 1,700 animals.

May 1, 1970, Army SSG Robert L. Collett, Jr., from Ages in Harlan County, Army SP5 Lowell T. Jarboe from Clarkson in Grayson County and Army PFC Thomas J. Kaaufman from Lexington, died in the Vietnam War.

May 1, 1971, Cañonero II, a Kentucky bred and Venezuelan champion, wins the 97th Kentucky Derby with Gustavo Ávila up in 2:03 1/5.  Venezuelan owner Edgar Caibett hired Juan Arias to condition the colt.  The Keeneland graduate sold for only $1,200 and won $145,500 for the Derby win, the richest Derby to date.  Fans wager $6,389,567 to set another Derby record.

May 1, 1972, Muhammad Ali (36-1) fights George Chuvalo (66-17-2) in Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver, British Columbia.  In his second fight against the Canadian, Ali hit Chuvalo at will, but the bout still went 12 rounds.  Ali loathed hurting fighters that he could beat easily.

May 1, 1976, surgeon, civil rights organizer and Murray native Theodore Roosevelt Mason Howard dies.

May 1, 1976, the 102nd Kentucky Derby still uses the old paddock.  Bold Forbes, with Hall of Fame rider Angel Cordero Jr. aboard, holds off Honest Pleasure.  Owner, E. Rodriguez Tizol and trainer Lazaro Barrera take the roses in 2:01 3/5 to win $165,200.

May 1, 1982, the 108th Kentucky Derby was won by Gato Del Sol, bred and owned by Arthur B. Hancock III and Leone J. Peters.  Jockey Eddie Delahoussaye and trainer Edwin J. Gregson completed the winning connections.  Starting from post 18 at odds of 21-1, he charged home to win by 2 1/2 lengths in 2:02.40 to win $428,850.

May 1, 1989, Chris Antley’s streak of winning a race every day comes to an end at 64 days.  In a career that spanned from 1983 until he died in 2000, he won 3,480 races with documented purse earnings of $92,261,894.

May 1, 1993, Virginia bred; Sea Hero wins the 119th Kentucky Derby.  Owner Paul Mellon, 85, one of the wealthiest men in America, had already begun the process of dispersing his thoroughbred holdings.  Mack Miller hired Jerry Baily for a winning time of 2:02.42.  The winning connections earn $735,900.

May 1, 1999, the 125th Kentucky Derby winner Charismatic comes from the claiming ranks to win the roses for D. Wayne Lukas, jockey Chris Antley and owners Robert B. & Beverly J. Lewis.  The winning time of 2:03.29 earns $886,200.  Donald Trump watches in person with his girlfriend, Melania Knauss.  They would marry six years later.

May 1, 2004, 7-0, Smarty Jones wins the 130th Kentucky Derby.  For the win, the colt cashed the largest payday in North American history, $5,854,800.  To celebrate Oaklawn Park’s 100th anniversary, the track’s owner, Charles Cella, promised a $5 million bonus to any 3-year-old who swept Oaklawn’s Rebel Stakes, Arkansas Derby and the Kentucky Derby.

May 1, 2009, Rachel Alexandra wins the Kentucky Oaks by 20 1⁄4-lengths, by far the largest margin of victory in Oak’s history.

May 1, 2010, Super Saver wins the 136th Kentucky Derby.  Jockey Calvin Borel captured his third Derby win in the last four years, while trainer Todd Pletcher picked up his first Derby victory in 25 tries.  The winning time of 2:04 4/5 earned $1,425,500.

May 1, 2015, Campbell Brown, 47, a fifth-generation Brown family member, began his tenure as President of the Old Forester brand.  George Garvin Brown, who started the company in 1870, still has his signature on the bottle.

May 1, 2020, 334 Kentuckians were in the hospital recovering from the coronavirus, 178 were intensive care and at least “1,752” individuals have recovered from the virus, a statistic that is not very clear.  Governor A. Beshear announced eight deaths for the day for a total of 248.