TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Happy Kentucky Oaks Day

May 5/6, 1782, the Virginia General Assembly chartered Lexington.  The act provided a board of seven Lexington trustees and 710 acres.
The Squire’ Sketches of Lexington by J. Winston Coleman, Jr.; pg: 17

May 6, 1865, the First Kentucky Brigade surrendered at Washington, Georgia, receiving generous parole terms.  Those in mounted units kept their horses or mules, and every seventh man was allowed to retain his musket for the journey home.

Monday, May 6, 1895, Halma won the 21st Kentucky Derby for Lexington native, owner, and trainer Byron McClelland.  This would be the last year the race ran at one mile and a half; the new distance would be one mile and a quarter.  Churchill Downs President William F. Schulte debut the Twin Spires and a $100,000 grandstand on the backside.  Jockey James Perkins guided Halma home in 2:37 ½ to win $2,970.

Wednesday, May 6, 1896, Ben Brush won the 22nd Kentucky Derby going one mile and quarter in 2:07.75 to win $4,850.  The successful duo of African American Willie Simms and trainer Hardy Campbell Jr. won again. Owner Michael F. Dwyer made a fortune in the meat packing industry, supplying butcher shops, eating establishments and hotels.  This was the 1st Derby at this distance and the 1st time the winner received a garland of roses, pink and white ones. 

Monday, May 6, 1907, Pink Star won the 33rd Kentucky Derby easily, the only entry with blinkers on.  J. Hal Woodford owned and bred the colt, William H. Fizer trained, and Andy Minder received a leg up.  The heavy track caused the slow winning time of 2:12 3/5.  The $6,000 purse gave $4,850 to the winner, $700 for 2nd and $300 for 3rd.

May 6, 1928, Deputy Constable James H. Bush, Floyd County Constable’s Office, died from a gunshot in Ligon while attempting to arrest a man at a dance hall after a shooting.

May 6, 1933, Deputy Sheriff Henry Adams Owens, Bell County Sheriff’s Department, died from a gunshot while attempting to arrest a man who was creating a disturbance at a church revival at Edgewood.

May 6, 1933, Brokers Tip won the 59th Kentucky Derby by a nose with 18-year-old jockey Don Meade in the saddle.  Second-place jockey, 22-year-old Herb Fisher, was sure he and Head Play had won the race and got fouled.  Without cameras, the stewards decided on Brokers Tip, and they threw out his claim, which left Herb in tears.  Owner Edward R. Bradley and trainer Herbert J. Thompson hooked up for their 4th and final Derby win.  The winning time of 2:06 4/5 on a good track earned $48,925.

May 6, 1939, Johnstown won the 65th Kentucky Derby for Belair Stud, their 3rd Derby.  A Provincial Governor of Maryland, Samuel Ogle Belair Stud, established the farm in 1747.  In 1898, James T. Woodward bought the property and built large new stables in 1907.  James left the property to his nephew, William Woodward, Sr., under whose direction Belair Stud became a major racing and breeding operation during the 1930s, 40s, and 50s.  Johnstown won in 2:03 2/5 and earned $46,350.  James E. Fitzsimmons gave James Stout a leg up.

May 6, 1944, Warren Wright’s Calumet Farm homebred, Pensive won the 70th Kentucky Derby.  The winning time for Calumet’s 2nd Derby was 2:04 1/5, which earned $64,675.  Trainer Ben A. Jones notched his 3rd of six Derbies.  Jockey Conn McCreary won his 1st of two.  Pensive became the first Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner to lose the Belmont.  It proved the beginning of an eight-race losing streak before Pensive was retired to stud.  He died 13 days after his son Ponder won the 1949 Kentucky Derby.  Ponder’s son Needles, in 1956, made it three generations of Derby winners.

May 6, 1950, Texas-bred Middleground won the 76th Kentucky Derby for King Ranch, 16-year-old jockey William Boland, and trainer Max Hirsch.  The race went in 2:01 3/5 and the winner earned $92,640.  Middleground finished 2nd in the Preakness after a rough trip, but he bounced back to win the Belmont.

Kentucky Derby Trivia:  In 1950, WHAS-TV first broadcast the Kentucky Derby for locals only.  The national broadcast occurred in 1952.

May 6, 1953, Army PFC William Benson from Harlan County died in the Korean War.

May 6, 1961, Carry Back won the 87th Kentucky Derby for Katherine Price; her husband Jack trained the Florida bred colt.  Jockey Johnny Sellers won his only Derby during an illustrious career.  The winning time of 2:04 over a good track earned $120,500.  Carry Back raced twenty-one times as a two-year-old.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Lexington native George Clooney, born in 1961.

May 6, 1966, Army PFC Harvey W. Prater from Louisville and Army SP4 Stephen E. Thomas from Glasgow in Barren County died in the Vietnam War.

May 6, 1967, Proud Clarion won the 93rd Kentucky Derby for Darby Dan Farm, jockey Bobby Ussery, and trainer Loyd Gentry Jr. in 2:00 3/5 and earned $119,700.  Dr. Martin Luther King had a significant impact on this Derby.  Dr. King, fearing a Derby protest would bring too much violence and do more harm than good, made a speech in Louisville declaring the race would be left alone and called off any organized demonstrations at Churchill Downs.

May 6, 1968, Marine Corps LCPL Kenneth R. Newsome from Ashland in Boyd County died in the Vietnam War.

May 6, 1970, Army MAJ Billy J. Williams from Marion in Crittenden County died in the Vietnam War.

May 6, 1970, UK students protesting the Vietnam War marched down Main Street in Lexington.

May 6, 1972, Meadow Stable’s Kentucky homebred Riva Ridge won the 98th Kentucky Derby.  The Bluegrass Stakes winner and Secretariat’s older stablemate went in 2:01 4/5 and earned $140,300.  Jockey Ron Turcotte and trainer Lucien Laurin hooked up for their first Derby of two in a row.  Riva Ridge finished 4th in the Preakness but came back to take the Belmont.

May 6, 1972, Deputy Sheriff William Raffo Wimsett, Sr., Nelson County Sheriff’s Office, died in an automobile accident while en route to the sheriff’s office.

May 6, 1978, Affirmed won the 104th Kentucky Derby for Harbor View Farm, Steve Cauthen, and Laz Barrera in 2:01 1/5 for $186,900.  Florida bred Affirmed was the 11th Triple Crown Winner.

May 6, 1989, Sunday Silence won the 115th Kentucky Derby for H-G-W Partners.  The partnership included Arthur B. Hancock III, who bred the colt and Charlie Whittingham, trainer.  Charlie sold part of his interest to Ernest Gaillard to complete H-G-W.  Pat Valenzuela guided Sunday Silence home in 2:05 over a muddy track for his only Derby win.  The winning connections earned $574,200.

May 6, 1995, Thunder Gulch won the 121st Kentucky Derby for Michael Tabor, Gary Stevens, and D. Wayne Lukas in 2:01.27 which earned $707,400.  It was the 1st time the 16 post wins.

May 6, 1997, Rick Pitino announced his resignation at Kentucky to take the Boston Celtics head coaching position.  

May 6, 2000, Fusaichi Pegasus won the 126th Kentucky Derby for Fusao Sekiguchi, Kent Desormeaux, and Neil Drysdale in 2:01.12.  This was the last Derby broadcast on ABC, ending a 25-year association; NBC now provides coverage.  The winning time of 2:01.12 earned $1,038,400.

May 6, 2006, Barbaro won the 132nd Kentucky Derby for Roy and Gretchen Jackson of Lael Stable in 2:01.36 and earned $1,453,200.  Jockey Edgar Prado and trainer Michael Matz get their only Derby win to date.  There are two horse statues on Churchill Grounds property.  One is of Aristides, winner of the first Kentucky Derby; the other is Barbaro.  The colt’s death in 2007 captured the attention of a nation.  Yum! Brands sponsored the race for the 1st time.

May 6, 2011, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Portland Promise Center in Louisville created the largest tape ball weighing 2,000 pounds with a circumference of 12’ 9.”

May 6, 2017, Always Dreaming won the 143rd Kentucky Derby for Brooklyn Boyz Stable, MeB Racing, St Elias Stable, and Teresa Viola Racing.  John Velazquez and Todd Pletcher each won their 2nd Derby.  The winning time of 2:03.59 earned $1,635,800.

May 6, 2020, Ryan Quarles, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner, referring to the coronavirus pandemic, “We’ve hadn’t seen a stress on the American food supply system since WWII.”  Kentucky, which produces more cattle than any other east of the Mississippi, couldn’t butcher them fast enough.

May 6, 2021, Governor A. Beshear announced indoor and outdoor businesses in Kentucky serving fewer than 1,000 customers could increase their capacity to 75% by the end of the month.  He also said fully vaccinated people gathering indoors no longer needed to wear masks.