Happy Kentucky Derby Week
May 2, 1778, Josiah Collins arrived from Haix County, Virginia to Boonesborough by Wilderness Road.
Lexington, 1779 Pioneer Kentucky As Described by Early Settlers by Bettye Lee Martin
Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Munfordville native Simon Bolivar Buckner, born in 1823. The 30th governor fought in the Mexican-American War and Civil War as a Confederate. He spent most of his term trying to curb violence in Eastern Kentucky.
May 2, 1903, Judge Himes won the 29th Kentucky Derby for Charles R. Ellison, jockey Harold Booker, and trainer John P. Mayberry in 2:09.00 for 1 ¼ miles. The winning connections earned $4,850. Churchill Downs used a web barrier to start the race, an elastic tape four inches wide that stretched across the track. The starter pressed a button to release two iron arms holding the tape in place. In 1930 the track implemented a starting gate.
Kentucky Trivia: The Kentucky Derby has run on every day except Sunday.
Monday, May 2, 1904, Elwood won the 30th Kentucky Derby for Mrs. Lasca Durnell, jockey Frank Prior, and trainer Charles E. Durnell. The Missouri bred ran in 2:08.50 and earned $4,850. Ms. Durnell became the 1st woman to bred and own a Derby winner. In 1904, the red rose became the official flower of the Kentucky Derby; however, Churchill began using different color roses in 1896.
Wednesday, May 2, 1906, Sir Huon won the 32nd Kentucky Derby for Bashford Manor Stable with jockey Roscoe Troxler, and trainer Peter Coyne. In 1887 George Long purchased Bashford Manor in Louisville and developed it into a leading Thoroughbred horse farm where they bred three Derby winners. The winning time of 2:08 4/5 earned $4,850.
May 2, 1936, Bold Venture won the 62nd Kentucky Derby for Morton L. Schwartz, jockey Ira Hanford, and trainer Max Hirsch. Max won his 1st of three Derbies in 2:03.60. Witnesses described the start as the roughest in Derby history.
May 2, 1942, Shut Out won the 68th Kentucky Derby for Greentree Stable, jockey Wayne D. Wright, and trainer John M. Gaver Sr. in 2:04. 4/5. Eddie Arcaro, a two-time Derby winner at the time, no doubt would have won if he didn’t pick Devil Diver, Shut Out’s stablemate.
May 2, 1953, Dark Star won the 79th Kentucky Derby for Cain Hoy Stable with jockey Henry Moreno, and trainer Eddie Hayward. Native Dancer ruled this Derby until he didn’t. Dark Star handed “The Grey Ghost” his only defeat in 22 starts. The winning time of 2:02 earned $90,050.
May 2, 1959, Tomy Lee won the 85th Kentucky Derby for Mr. & Mrs. Fred Turner Jr., Bill Shoemaker, and trainer Frank E. Childs, the winning time of 2:02 1/5 earned $119,650. Tomy Lee survived jockey Bill Boland’s foul claim that Shoemaker repeatedly bumped Sword Dancer rounding for home. The stewards deliberated 17 minutes before the order of finish stood. From London, Tomy Lee became the 2nd and last foreign-born Derby winner.
May 2, 1964, Blue Grass Stakes winner Northern Dancer won the 90th Kentucky Derby for Winfields Farms. Jockey Bill Hartack won his 4th of five Derbies. The great trainer Horatio Luro won his 2nd Derby in three tries. The 2:00 winning time set a new Churchill Downs record. The Canadian bred received $114,300 for the win.
May 2, 1969, Marine Corps 1LT Gary E. Holtzclaw from Corbin County, Army SGT Jerry R. Meadows from Regina in Pike County, Marine Corps LCPL Troy E. Powell from Newport in Campbell County, and Army 1LT Edward C. Powers from Knox, all died in the Vietnam War.
May 2, 1970, Diane Crump became the first woman to ride in the Kentucky Derby. Illinois bred Dust Commander won the 96th Run for the Roses in 2:03.40 for owner Robert E. Lehmann, trainer Don Combs, and jockey Mike Manganello. The winning connections earned $127,800.
May 2, 1971, Army SP4 Jeffery C. Goodrich from Gratz in Owen County, Army SP4 James R. Stout from Valley Station in Jefferson County, and Army SP4 Charles V. Morgan from Warsaw in Gallatin County, all died in the Vietnam War.
May 2, 1981, Pleasant Colony won the 107th Kentucky Derby for Thomas Mellon Evans’s Buckland Farm. Trainer John P. Campo and jockey Jorge Velásquez got the colt across the finish line in 2:02.00 to earn $317,200. Mr. Evan was an original corporate raider.
May 2, 1992, Pat Day won his 1st and only Kentucky Derby on Lil E. Tee. The 118th Derby hosted Arzi, who at 4-5 captured the hearts of racing fans worldwide. He finished 8th, the worst finish in Derby history by a favorite who was odds-on or less. M.C. Hammer’s horse Dance Floor finished 3rd. The time of 2:03.04 earned $724,800. Russian citizens saw the Derby for the 1st time on television, an estimated 200 million people watched.
May 2, 1998, Real Quiet won the 124th Kentucky Derby for McDonald franchise owner Mike Pegram, his friend Bob Baffert, and jockey Kent Desormeaux. The winning time of 2:02.38 received $738,800. Real Quiet’s rags-to-riches story, started for $17,000 at the 1996 Keeneland September yearling sale.
May 2, 1999, Cigar, the two-time Horse of the Year winner whose 16-race winning streak was among the top feats in racing history, kicked up his heels after arriving at his new home at the Kentucky Horse Park.
May 2, 2009, Mine That Bird, paying $103.20, won the 135th Kentucky Derby in 2:02.66 to win $1,417,200. A masterful ride on the rail by Calvin Borel gave the owners Double Eagle Ranch et al. and trainer “Chip” Woolley Jr., the time of their lives.
May 2, 2015, American Pharoah won the 141st Kentucky Derby for Zayat Stable’s homebred. Bob Baffert takes his 5th out of seven Derbies. Victor Espinoza guided the Lexington bred colt home in 2:03.02 to earn $1,418,800.