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May 19, 1840, John Adair, Kentucky’s 8th Governor (1820-24), died. Kentucky historian Lowell H. Harrison opined that the most important measure implemented during Adair’s administration was creating the Bank of the Commonwealth in 1820. The bank made generous loans and liberally issued paper money. The legislature revoked its license in 1823.
On May 19, 1865, Canadians arrested the future Governor of Kentucky, 48-year-old Luke Pryor Blackburn, for conspiracy to kill President Lincoln by Yellow Fever. Blackburn had retreated to Montreal at the time to lessen the heat of the Yellow Fever plot. Allegedly, Blackburn sent contaminated clothing to Lincoln. Blackburn became Kentucky’s 28th Governor in 1879 at 63.
Wednesday, May 19, 1875, the first Kentucky Oaks ran at the Louisville Jockey Club, later known as Churchill Downs. Vinaigrette won the 1 ½ mile race in 2:39¾, winning $1,175. The Oaks and the Derby are the oldest continuously contested sporting events in American history and the only horse races held at their original site since their conception.
Thursday, May 19, 1894, the 19th Preakness makes its return at a new track and a new distance. The Brooklyn Jockey Club’s Gravesend Course hosted the 1 1/16 mile test. Assignee goes in 1:49 1/4 at odds of 4-1. The colt by Spendthrift earned $1,830 for the Keene family.
May 19, 1919, Augustus O. Stanley, the 38th Governor of Kentucky, resigned and James D. Black, Kentucky’s 39th Governor, took office. Stanley left office to become Kentucky’s 26th Class II Senator. Governor Black served for seven months and devoted his term to education. He had served as superintendent of the Knox County public schools for two years and was instrumental in the founding of Union College in Barbourville. He served as president of the college from 1910 to 1912.
May 19, 1923, Zev wins the 49th Kentucky Derby for Harry Sinclair’s Rancocas Farm and trainer David J. Leary. Jockey Earl Sande wins his first of three Derbies in 2:05.2/5, earning $53,000. John E. Madden bred the Kentucky colt. Harry Sinclair named Zev after his lawyer; however, Colonel J.W. Zevely could not keep Harry, one of the wealthiest men in America, out of jail over the infamous Teapot Dome scandal that erupted during the Derby.
Kentucky Trivia: John E. Madden named his Lexington breeding farm Hamburg Place in honor of the horse that funded the acquisition. John bought Hamburg for $1,200, won $38,595 and sold him for $40,001. Mr. Madden used these winnings and profits and bought 235 acres from the family of Lucretia Hart, who married Henry Clay, Sr., that farm was called Overton Farm. Hamburg would grow to 2,000 acres.
May 19, 1928, Reigh Count wins the 54th Kentucky Derby for Fannie Hertz. Her husband founded the Yellow Cab Company in Chicago in 1915 and later the Hertz Corporation. Trainer Bert S. Michell and jockey Chick Lang bring the colt home in 2:06 to win $55,375 for the connections.
May 19, 1937, the first electrical pole was raised in Henderson for the first rural electric cooperative in Kentucky. Kentucky Governor A. B. “Happy” Chandler, a Henderson native, was essential in securing rural electric power for the Bluegrass State during his time in office.
May 19, 1962, Muhammad Ali (14-0) fought Billy Daniels (16-0) in St. Nicholas Arena, New York. Daniels, from New York, was 6-4 and an Air Force veteran. He was a good boxer with decent punching power and came into the fight undefeated and rated 10th in the world heavyweight rankings by Ring Magazine. He was featured on the cover with Clay as two young unbeaten contenders. Daniels was cut in the second round, and that caused the fight to be stopped in the seventh.
May 19, 1989, the NCAA placed Kentucky’s basketball team on three years’ probation, stopping short of issuing the death penalty. They imposed a two-year ban on the postseason and a one-year ban on live television. One reason for reduced penalties was the resignation of Coach Sutton and staff and replacing Athletics Director Cliff Hagan with C.M. Newton.
May 19, 1990, watch the 115th Preakness Stakes. Triple Crown (TC) Productions provides a $1 million bonus for the horse who performs the best in all three TC races and a $5 million bonus for a TC winner.
May 19, 2003, Conservation Officer Douglas Wayne Bryant, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, was killed when his patrol truck was intentionally struck by the car of a man he was pursuing in Fort Mitchell.