Kentucky Trivia ● Kentucky Tweets
Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Kentucky’s 25th governor, John White Stevenson, born in 1812. In 1867, just five days after John L. Helm and Stevenson were elected governor and lieutenant governor, respectively, Helm died, and Stevenson became acting governor.
Wednesday, May 4, 1898, Plaudit won the 24th Kentucky Derby going the mile and a quarter in 2:09 on a good track, winning $4,850 for owner John E. Madden and trainer John Simms. He won by a nose. The 3rd-place horse finished 20 lengths back in the field of four. Willie Simms won his 2nd Derby in as many starts, and it would be his last.
Kentucky Trivia: Though Madden bred five Derby winners, Plaudit was his only winner as an owner. Madden sold the colt to William Collins Whitney for $25,000 after the Derby but repurchased him for $12,000 after Plaudit broke down in his next start. Plaudit died in 1919 and is buried in front of Walmart at Madden’s Lexington farm, Hamburg Place.
Thursday, May 4, 1899, Manuel won the 25th Kentucky Derby for diplomat Dave Hennen Morris and politician Alfred Hennen Morris. Trainer Robert J. Walden and Hall of Fame jockey Fred Taral completed the winning connections. The race ran in 2:12, winning $4,850. John E. Madden’s Mazo finished 3rd.
Friday, May 4, 1934, Governor Ruby Laffoon left for Louisville to attend the Derby. He did not comment when he would call a special session but he did say he planned to enjoy his Friday with a luncheon speech at noon, the annual Kentucky Colonels’ dinner, followed by a professional boxing match.
May 4, 1935, Omaha won the 61st Kentucky Derby for Belair Stud, jockey Willie Saunders, and trainer James E. Fitzsimmons in 2:05. The winning connections earned $39,925 on their way to the 3rd Triple Crown.
On May 4, 1938, arrangements to have the National Park Service remove a log cabin built in 1795 by Daniel Boone in Nicholas County and place it in a suitable site were canceled by the man who owned the farm the cabin resided on. Frank McEwen, the farm owner, changed his mind and “had no idea of giving the cabin to the U.S. or anyone else.”
May 4, 1940, Gallahadion won the 66th Kentucky Derby over seven other entries for owner Ethel V. Mars’s Milky Way Farm Stable. Ethel inherited the Mars Candy fortune. Jockey Carroll M. Bierman had what sportswriters called “one of the best derby rides,” beating the heavy favorite and paying $72.40 to win for trainer James E. Fitzsimmons. The winning time of 2:05 earned $60,150.
On May 4, 1943, virtually all of Kentucky’s 40,000 soft miners returned to work. During the strike, more than 100 Kentucky mines closed. But unlike strikes of past years, there was no violence or picketing. Instead, all mines closed by the strikes flew the U.S. flag because the government took possession of the mines.
May 4, 1946, Texas-bred Assault won the 72nd Kentucky Derby for King Ranch, jockey Warren Mehrtens, and trainer Max Hirsch in 2:06 3/5 for $496,000. Assault would become the 7th Triple Crown winner. The Derby crowd reached 100,000 for the 1st time.
On May 4, 1957, Iron Liege won the 83rd Kentucky Derby for Mrs. Gene Markey’s Calumet Farm and the 6th Derby for the red and blue silks. Jockey Bill Hartack and trainer Horace A. Jones completed the connections. Shoemaker misjudged the finish line and lost. The winning time of 2:02 1/5 earned $107,950.
On May 4, 1961, Governor Bert T. Combs dedicated the Kentucky Floral Clock. The giant hands weighed about a quarter of a ton apiece. There are other giant floral clocks, but Kentucky’s was unique because it originally kept time over a water pool instead of resting on a bank of earth.
May 4, 1963, Chateaugay won the 89th Kentucky Derby for Darby Dan Farm against nine other entries in 2:01 4/5. Trainer James P. Conway and jockey Braulio Baeza completed the winning connections for the $108,900 trophy and the blanket of roses. Braulio became the 1st Latino jockey to win the Derby.
May 4, 1968, Dancers Image crossed the finish line 1st in the 94th Kentucky Derby, but DQ’d for having bute in his system. The second-place runner Forward Pass officially won, giving Mrs. Gene Markey’s Calumet Farm homebred their 8th and last Derby to date. Richard Nixon witnessed the 1st horse DQ’d from the Derby. The following year, Nixon returned to Churchill Downs, fulfilling a promise he made to attend the Derby if he won the Presidency. To this day, Nixon is the only sitting president to attend the famed race. The winning time of 2:02 1/5 earned $122,600.
On opening day, May 4, 1969, many youths attacked workers and looted the Fontaine Ferry Park. The pillagers destroyed the portable food stands and many buildings. The damage cost the park $18,000, and it took 25 police officers to quiet the situation. The park closed that day, never to reopen as Fontaine Ferry Park.
On May 4, 1974, Cannonade won the 100th Kentucky Derby for John M. Olin. Woody Stephens won his 1st of two Derbies, and jockey Angel Cordero Jr. won his 1st of three. The race ran in 2:04 and earned $274,000 for the connections. This Derby enjoyed the largest field to date with 23 entries.
On May 4, 1982, opposition to mining UK’s Robinson Forest came from an unexpected source–the official publication of the state’s coal industry, the Kentucky Coal Journal. Rep. Carl “Chris” Perkins of Hindman wrote a piece opposing the coal removal telling the university they should stop now unless they were broke. Chris’s father was prominent Congressman Carl D. Perkins.
May 4, 1985, Spend a Buck went wire to wire to win the 111th Kentucky Derby by 5 ¼ lengths for Dennis Diaz’s Hunter Farm with Ángel Cordero Jr. up. Trainer Cam Gambolati remains the only Connecticut native ever to train a Derby winner. Dennis Diaz’s widow sold the Kentucky Derby owner’s trophy through an auction in 2015 for $188,305.
On May 4, 1988, the federal government announced a program to mail every American household an 8-page brochure that contained frank information about AIDS and ways to avoid infection. The government sent out over 817 million pamphlets.
May 4, 1991, Calumet Farm bred Strike the Gold who won the 117th Kentucky Derby for owners Brophy, Condren, and Cornacchia in 2:03.08. Trainer Nick Zito and jockey Chris Antley both won their 1st Derby. The winning connections earned $655,800.
On May 4, 1993, Scott County, with little opposition or fanfare, approved a new $23 million mega high school for 1,600 students. The 20-minute meeting had 50 people, with one person who opposed it. Locals had to approve an increase in property taxes. The school system had an average of 100 new students a year.
On May 4, 1994, the Department of Defense revived the Lexington Blue Grass Army Depot in Avon. The Pentagon selected it as one of 25 sites nationwide to serve as regional Finance and Accounting Service Centers for the Defense Department.
On May 4, 1996, William T. Young’s Grindstone won the 122nd Kentucky Derby by a nose over Bob Baffert’s 1st Derby horse, Cavonnier. Trainer D. Wayne sent out a record five Kentucky Derby starters for this race, one of which was Overbrook Farm’s homebred. Lukas enjoyed his 3rd Derby triumph, and 2nd in a row. Jerry Bailey went in 2:01.06 to win $869,800. For the 1st time in 20 years, the Derby had a full field of 20. Also, 300 families bet from home in a trial run of new technology for the 1st time.
On May 4, 1998, a grand jury indicted a Tennessee man for pushing sponges up horses’ noses before they ran at Churchill Downs in an attempt to fix races. He is the same man convicted of stealing a mare in foal to Secretariat 15 years prior.
May 4, 2002, War Emblem won the 128th Kentucky Derby for Prince Ahmed bin Salman of the Saudi Arabian royal family, principle owner of The Thoroughbred Corporation. Bob Baffert won his 3rd Derby. Jockey Victor Espinoza won his 1st of three Derbies. The final time of 2:01.13 earned $875,000.
May 4, 2013, Orb won the 139th Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands for Ogden Mills Phipps and Stuart Janney III. Lexington native Claude McGaughey III and jockey Joel Rosario both captured their 1st Derby. The winning time of 2:02.89 earned $1,414,800.
May 4, 2014, J.B. Holmes won his 3rd PGA event when he defeated Jim Furyk by one stroke at the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, NC. This victory capped a comeback from brain surgery three years earlier.
On May 4, 2019, for the 1st time in a history that dated to the Grant administration, stewards settled a Kentucky Derby after lengthy deliberations and a controversial disqualification. Favored Maximum Security crossed the finish line 1st but stewards ruled he interfered under jockey Luis Saez and taken down to 17th place. Country House won the 145th Kentucky Derby for owners Mrs. J.V. Shields (also his breeder), E.J.M. McFadden, and LNJ Foxwoods. The winning time of 2:03.93 earned $1,860,000.
May 4, 2020, the state removed paramedic Robbie Smither from the Kentucky Board of Emergency Services after Mr. Smither made a Facebook post that “publically promoted violent action against law enforcement.”
On May 4, 2020, a 3rd inmate died from the coronavirus in Muhlenberg County’s Green River Correctional Complex. Half of the reported new cases also came from the prison in a day that a new record for positive cases in a single day with 625. A 35-year-old Louisville man became the youngest man to die thus far.
On May 4, 2021, Govern A. Beshear announced 776 new cases and seven new deaths from coronavirus as he pleaded with people under 30 to get the experimental vaccination. Of Kentucky’s 4,509,000 citizens, 1,825,176 took the plunge and received at least one dose. Today, vaccine experts agree younger, healthy people don’t need the drug.
On May 5, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Jerry Lundergan’s request to overturn his conviction for illegally funneling $200,000 to his daughter’s 2014 political campaign. The court sent the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals a one-sentence statement without an explanation, a common practice for the nation’s high court in such cases.