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Kentucky Trivia ● Kentucky Tweets

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to John James Audubon, born in 1785.

April 26, 1865, a posse tracked John Wilkes Booth to a barn near Bowling Green, Virginia and killed him.

Happy Birthday to Madison County native Fiddlin’ Doc Roberts, born in 1897.

April 26, 1911, Deputy Jailer Edward O’Banon, Hopkins County Jail, succumbed to a head injury sustained the previous day when an inmate attacked him with a shovel during an escape attempt in Madisonville.

By April 26, 1921, Uncle Sam’s dry agents had shut down 97 moonshine plants in the Eastern and Western Kentucky Districts within two months.  The Eastern District had twice as many stills.  

April 26, 1927, Taylor’s Kentucky Boys recorded Forked Deer.  Dennis W. Taylor, a farmer and talent scout for the Starr Piano Company in Kentucky, came up with the band’s name.  Taylor also introduced Fiddlin’ Doc Roberts, Welby Toomey, and Red Foley to the record business.

On April 26, 1930, 350 students and faculty members of Georgetown College narrowly escaped being trapped in a fire that gutted the college’s chapel building at 10:00 a.m.  Children playing outside ran in and told the convocation class on the 2nd floor, the brick structure was on fire.  As they left, the students carried valuable artwork to safety.

April 26, 1937, Deputy Town Marshal Willie Smith, Manchester Police Department, died in an ambush while taking a subject into custody for a competency hearing.

April 26, 1944, Skytracer won the Blue Grass Stakes held at Churchill Downs, and ten days later, he finished 9th in the 70th Kentucky Derby.

April 26, 1948, Marie The Body McDonald, right, with Mrs. Danny Bordett, arrived at Lexington’s Blue Grass Field.  She came home to visit relatives in Burgin.  Cora Marie Frye was McDonald’s birth name.

April 26, 1951, the Blue Grass Stakes ran in two divisions for the only time.  Mameluke won the 1st heat and finished last in the Derby; Ruhe won the 2nd heat and finished 3rd for the Roses nine days later.

On April 26, 1954, the Air Force Academy Location Committee visited Shakertown Village.  The academy, approved by Congress days earlier, eventually chose Colorado Springs and moved into the new quarters in 1958 after years of construction.

April 26, 1961, the NBA Chicago Packers drafted Vanceburg native Ralph E. Davis Jr.  For the 1961–62 season he posted career-high averages of 10.4 points, 3.2 assists, and 2.1 rebounds per game.

April 26, 1968, Army SP4 Billy R. Foster from Monticello in Wayne County, Army SGT Danny E. Hereau from Louisville, and Army SP5 Michael P. Stiles from Raywick in Marion County, all died in the Vietnam War.

April 26, 1973, My Gallant, bred by Leslie Combs, won the GI Blue Grass stakes going 1 1/8 miles on the dirt.  The colt finished 9th in the Kentucky Derby that ran nine days later.

April 26, 1974, the Kentucky State Racing Commission ended speculation that the Kentucky Derby might split into two heats.  Governor W. Ford confirmed he would approve the decision.  Thirty-one horses were ready to enter, but Churchill would only accommodate twenty-six.  Twenty-three sprang from the gate on May 4 with Cannonade winning.

April 26, 1977, Lieutenant Willis Durwood Martin, Kentucky State Police, died when a 21-year-old driver struck his department vehicle head-on.

April 26, 1979, Spectacular Bid won the Blue Grass Stakes and paid $2.10 to win, the smallest mutual payoff for a $2-win ticket in the track’s history.  He won the Kentucky Derby nine days later.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Campbellsville native John Bradley “J.B.” Holmes, born in 1982.  J.B. has won five PGA tournaments.

April 26, 1984, Leslie Brownell Combs II, President of Spendthrift Farm, sent letters to the 17 Directors of Churchill Downs informing them of his firm’s intent to buy a controlling interest in the historic track.  In the letter, he offered $100 per share.

April 26, 1994, the FBI rewarded John W. “Jay” Spurrier III, the man who made their BOBTROT investigation a success.  His sentence included two years probation, six months home dentition, and a $2,000 fine.  His crime: conspiracy to commit extortion and derive citizens of the honest services of a public official.  He faced 41 months in jail and a $175,000 fine.

April 26, 1999 Churchill Downs Inc. purchased Calder Race Course in Miami.

April 26, 2002, Shane Ragland received 30 years in prison after jurors delivered a guilty verdict 30 days earlier for the killing of Trent DiGiuro.  However, he only served five years, 11 months, and 27 days. His wealthy, connected father helped.

On April 26, 2003, 757 runners took to the streets for the 2nd running of the Derby Festival Marathon.

April 26, 2004, jockeys with mounts in the upcoming Derby went to court to overturn a state law that prohibited them from wearing advertising on their pants.  Shane Sellers, Jerry Bailey, and Jose Santos appeared in a Louisville federal court to testify they could earn $100,000 on Derby if allowed.  Three days later, a federal judge sided with the daredevils.

April 26, 2009, Churchill Downs unveiled a bronze statue of Barbaro, the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, in front of gate one, next to the museum.

By KY Bluegrass

April 26, 2011, for the 1st time in U.S. history, American women passed men in gaining advanced college degrees and bachelor’s degrees, a trend that defined who went to work and who stayed home to tend the family.

April 26, 2013, Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey broke Calumet Farm’s 1941 record for the number of winners during a Keeneland meet.  The husband and wife team won 25 races during 16 days of racing, shattering Calumet’s 12 wins during 11 days.

April 26, 2015, Santa Anita hosted the GIII $100,250 Wilshire Stakes for fillies and mares three-years-old and upward.  A Keeneland graduate won in a three-way photo finish.

April 26, 2016, the state board, restocked with Governor M. Bevin’s appointees, quickly approved the long-sought-after tax incentives worth up to $18 million for Noah’s Ark Theme Park.  The attraction opened later that summer.

April 26, 2019, Navy Fireman 3rd Class Willard “William” Irvin Lawson’s body arrived in Kentucky for a final burial near his Milton hometown.  In 2015, the military began exhuming veterans’ bodies for DNA killed aboard the USS Oklahoma during the Pearl Harbor attack.

On April 26, 2020, the governor announced 308 individuals in hospitals due to the deadly virus, 166 in ICU.  Over 4,000 Kentuckians tested positive, and 208 died.  Kentuckians stayed away from emergency rooms, the roads, gatherings, and extended family.  The global death toll surpassed 200,000.

April 26, 2022, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare claimed the world’s oldest person, 119-year-old Kane Tanaka of Japan, died, making Maria Branyas of Spain, at 116 years, 47 days, the oldest living person.  On the other hand, Jeanne Louise Calment, a French woman who died in 1997, remains the longest-lived person at 122 years and 164 days.