TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Happy Kentucky Derby Week

May 1, 1769, Daniel Boone, John Finley, and four others set out for the Cumberland Gap using the same route Dr. Walker used 19 years earlier.  They were gone for two years.
Gateway – Dr. Thomas Walker & The Opening of Kentucky by David M. Burns pg: 42

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 resides in Lincoln County. 

May 1, 1851, the continuation of one of the coldest spring ever known in Northern Kentucky with temperatures from 20 to 28 degrees.  The heavy black frost killed whole fruit orchids, grapes, and many tender trees. 

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 wish a Happy Birthday to Mayfield native Bobbie Ann Mason, born in 1940.  A novelist, short story writer, essayist, and literary critic, Bobbie’s memoir qualified as a Pulitzer Prize finalist.

May 1, 1943, the 69th Kentucky Derby had a nickname: “Street-Car Derby.”  Colonel Matt Winn lobbied for the 1943 Derby despite many war restrictions.  He promised to organize a “Street-Car Derby,” banning out-of-state patrons and the locals’ automobiles to the track.  Count Fleet won with the shortest odds in Derby history at 2-5.  He would become the 6th Triple Crown winner.

May 1, 1948, Warren Wright’s Citation wins the 74th Kentucky Derby in 2:05 2/5.  Eddie Arcaro and Ben Jones completed the connections.  Calumet Farm won their 3rd Derby and 2nd Triple Crown with Citation. The colt was the 8th Triple Crown winner.  

May 1, 1953, comedian Bob Hope was greeted by former Kentucky Governor Happy Chandler at Blue Grass Field in Lexington to attend the Derby.

On May 1, 1954, Determine won the 80th Kentucky Derby, the first grey colt to do so.  Andrew J. Crevolin owned the colt, Raymond York sat in the irons, and William Molter conditioned him.  Determine went in 2:03 to earn $102,050.

Horse Racing Trivia:  Raymond 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 won the 91st Kentucky Derby after winning the Santa Anita Derby and Bluegrass Stakes.  The winning time of 2:01 1/5 for owner Ada L. Rice Racing Stable, trainer Frank Catrone, and jockey Willie Shoemaker earned $112,000.

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 opened 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 around 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, won 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 $1,200 and won $145,500, the richest Derby to date.  Fans wagered $6,389,567 to set another Derby record.

May 1, 1972, Muhammad Ali (36-1) fought George Chuvalo (66-17-2) in Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver, British Columbia.  In his 2nd 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 died.

May 1, 1976, the 102nd Kentucky Derby still used 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 earned the roses with a final time of 2:01 3/5 to win $165,200.    

May 1, 1982, Gato Del Sol won the 108th Kentucky Derby.  Arthur B. Hancock III and Leone J. Peters co-owned and bred the colt in Paris at Stone Farm.  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 came 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 won 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.  The winning time of 2:02.42 earned the connections $735,900.

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

May 1, 2003, Frankfort native Miss Elizabeth died in the home she shared with wrestler Lex Luger.  Elizabeth Ann Hulette gained famed in her role as the manager to wrestler “Macho Man” Randy Savage and others.

May 1, 2004, 7-0, Smarty Jones won the 130th Kentucky Derby.  His connections 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 Kentucky Derby.

May 1, 2009, Rachel Alexandra won the 135th Kentucky Oaks by 20 1⁄4-lengths, by far the largest margin in Oak’s history.  The Kentucky bred earned $336,914.

May 1, 2010, Super Saver won the 136th Kentucky Derby.  Jockey Calvin Borel captured his 3rd Derby in the last four years, while trainer Todd Pletcher picked up his 1st 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, the governor reported 334 Kentuckians remained in hospitals due to coronavirus, 178 were intensive care, and “1,752” individuals had recovered from the virus.  Governor A. Beshear also announced eight deaths to total 248.  

On May 1, 2021, the “Transition Derby” helped the country and state inch toward normalcy after the coronavirus lockdowns.  The track allowed 40%-50% capacity.  They also banned Lasix for the 1st time in a Kentucky Derby.  However, this Derby is the year Bob Baffert got caught up in scandal.  Kentucky stewards made Mandaloun the official winner of the 147th running after they found a banned substance in Medina Spirit’s system.