TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Kentucky Trivia ● Kentucky Tweets

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Kentucky’s 25th governor, John White Stevenson, born in 1812. 

May 4, 1890, Deputy Sheriff Calloway Carnes, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, died by a gunshot while attempting arrest a suspect.  The suspect fled the area followed by a posse.

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 and trainer John E. Madden.  He won by a nose.  The third-place horse finished 20 lengths back in the field of four.  Willie Simms won his 2nd Derby in as many starts; this would be his last Derby win.

Kentucky Derby Trivia:  Willie Simms, who won the 1896 Derby on Ben Brush, is the only African-American jockey to win each Triple Crown race.  He was also the 1st American jockey to win a race in England on an American horse, introducing the short stirrup riding style in Britain.

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, for $4,850.  John E. Madden’s Mazo finished 3rd.

May 4, 1905, Belmont Park opened.  A group of investors including August Belmont, Jr. and William Collins Whitney, helped finance the facility.

May 4, 1924, Deputy Sheriff Andy R. Baird, Bell County Sheriff’s Department, died by a gunshot at a mining camp known as Kettle Island near Pineville.

May 4, 1929, Policeman George W. Horn, Prestonsburg Police Department, died by a gunshot while chasing a subject who had driven his car onto the railroad depot platform.

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.  

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.

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 first time.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Hardinsburg native Alfred “Butch” Beard Jr., born in 1947.  He started at point guard with the 1975 NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

May 4, 1957, Iron Liege won the 83rd Kentucky Derby for Mrs. Gene Markey’s Calumet Farm, 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.

Kentucky Derby Trivia:  Bill Shoemaker rode in the Kentucky Derby 26 times, which is a standing record.  He won the race four times.  At 54, he became the oldest jockey to win the race when he guided Ferdinand to the winner’s circle in 1986.

May 4, 1961, Governor Bert T. Combs dedicated the Kentucky Floral Clock.  The giant hands weighed about a quarter ton apiece.  There are other giant floral clocks, but Kentucky 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 blanket of roses.  Braulio was among the 1st Latino jockeys to win the Derby.

May 4, 1964, nearly two hundred years after it was first distilled, the U.S. Congress recognized bourbon whiskey as a distinct American product.  

March 4, 1966, Marine Corps PFC Jerry L. Onan from Lexington died in the Vietnam War.

May 4, 1968, Dancers Image crossed the finish line first in the 94th Kentucky Derby, but was 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 first 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 Derby.  The winning time of 2:02 1/5 earned $122,600.

May 4, 1968, Army SP4 Arthur T. Kramer from Burlington in Boone County died in the Vietnam War.

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.

May 4, 1970, Army SFC Theodore I. Roberts from Valley Station in Jefferson County died in the Vietnam War.

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.

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.

May 4, 1991, Calumet Farm bred, Strike the Gold, 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, 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, 2nd in a row.  Jerry Bailey went in 2:01.06 to win $869,800.  For the first 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 first time.

Kentucky Derby Trivia:  Tom Meeker admitted he made the wrong decision to have a celebrity sing My Old Kentucky Home in the 1996 Derby.  The phones lit up with disgruntled callers before the song was over.  Meeker later announced the crowd would be the only singers allowed.

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 in 2:01.13 which earned $875,000.

May 4, 2007, Army SGT Christopher N. Hamlin, 24, of London, died in Baghdad fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

May 4, 2007, Jeff Ruby asked O.J. Simpson to leave his Louisville restaurant the night before the Derby.  O.J. obliged and left quietly.

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.  Churchill Downs implemented the Road to the Kentucky Derby points system for the first time.

May 4, 2014, J.B. Holmes won his 3rd PGA event when he beat Jim Furyk by one stroke at the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, NC.  This victory capped a comeback from brain surgery, three years earlier.

May 4, 2019, Country House won the 145th Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve 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.  Maximum Security was DQ’d, giving trainer Bill Mott and jockey Flavien Prat their first Derby wins.  Country House never races again.

May 4, 2020, Governor A. Beshear, through an executive order, removed paramedic Robbie Smither from the Kentucky Board of Emergency Services after Mr. Smither made a Facebook post that “publicly promoted violent action against law enforcement.”

May 4, 2021, Frankfort announced 776 new cases and seven new deaths from coronavirus with a push for people under 30 to get vaccinated.  Across the state 1,825,176 people had received at least a first dose.