11 monumental Kentucky Derby moments from years past

 

The Kentucky Derby has a long history outside flashy outfits and larger-than-life hats.

Thousands gather at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, to watch the highly publicized horse race, with millions more watching at home.

Some watch for pure enjoyment, while others have a bit more on the line, with many choosing to bet on the sporting event.

FUN AND EXTRAVAGANT KENTUCKY DERBY HATS THROUGH THE YEARS

There have been numerous memorable moments in the Kentucky Derby. Here are just a few.

1875: Aristides is the first Kentucky Derby winner1915: The first female horse is crowned1919: Sir Barton is the first to win the Triple Crown1933: The “Fighting Finish”1952: The derby becomes nationally televised1968: Dancer’s Image doesn’t receive prize money1973: Secretariat becomes (and remains) the fastest derby winner1986: The oldest jockey wins the derby2009: Mine That Bird goes from worst to first2019: Country House wins the derby after a disqualification2022: Rich Strike wins the derby after a last-minute join

1. 1875: Aristides is the first Kentucky Derby winner

The first Kentucky Derby was won by Aristides and his jockey Oliver Lewis in 1875. 

The first race hosted around 10,000 fans at Churchill Downs in Louisville, where they experienced the historic derby, according to the Kentucky Derby website.

Aristides won with a time of 2:37 3/4, according to the site. At the time of the win, Lewis was 19 years old. It was the only derby he competed in.

2. 1915: The first female horse is crowned

It wasn’t until 1915 when a filly, a female horse, became the first to cross the Kentucky Derby finish line, according to the Kentucky Derby website.

KENTUCKY DERBY QUIZ! HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW THE HISTORIC AMERICAN HORSE RACE? 

Regret won that race. Since then, only two other fillies have won.

The next trophy taken home by a female horse wasn’t until 1980, when Genuine Risk won. Winning Colors took first place in 1988.

In all, 40 fillies have competed in the Kentucky Derby, according to the site.

3. 1919: Sir Barton is the first to win the Triple Crown

The first horse to win the Triple Crown was Sir Barton in 1919, according to the Kentucky Derby site. 

The Triple Crown is the top accomplishment in horse racing. To gain the Triple Crown, a horse must win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.

In Kentucky Derby history, only 13 horses have accomplished the feat.

These are the horses that have won the Triple Crown:

Sir Barton (1919)Gallant Fox (1930)Omaha (1935)War Admiral (1937)Whirlaway (1941)Count Fleet (1943)Assault (1946)Citation (1948)Secretariat (1973)Seattle Slew (1977)Affirmed (1978)American Pharoah (2015)Justify (2018)

4. 1933: The ‘Fighting Finish’

In 1933, the Kentucky Derby race got physical. 

Don Meade, who was the jockey on Brokers Tip, and Herb Fisher, Head Play’s jockey, grabbed and pushed one another as their horses quickly headed for the finish line.

KENTUCKY DERBY: HISTORY OF THE RACES, LONG-STANDING TRADITIONS 

Broker’s Tip ended up winning the race by a small margin.

Both Meade and Fisher fought again after the conclusion of the race. They both received 30-day suspensions for their actions. 

The race became known as the “Fighting Finish.”

5. 1952: The derby becomes nationally televised

The derby was first televised in 1952, according to History.com.

That race was won by Hill Gail and his jockey, Eddie Arcaro.

6. 1968: Dancer’s Image doesn’t receive prize money

In 1968, the derby’s winner did not receive prize money, according to History.com.

Dancer’s Image, the winning horse that year, held on to the title for three days before he was disqualified for drugs, according to the source.

When Dancer’s Image was tested for drugs following the race, traces of phenylbutazone, a pain reliever for horses, were found. At the time of the race, there was a zero-tolerance policy for drugs in horses, according to History.com.

HISTORY OF TRIPLE CROWN SERIES: FASTEST PREAKNESS STAKES RACE TIMES FROM AMERICAN THOROUGHBRED HORSES

It was later discovered that the drug was given to the horse approximately a week prior to the race, but there was still some left in its system at the time of the derby. So, he was disqualified, and the second-place horse, Forward Pass, was named the new winner.

The battle didn’t end there. There was an ongoing legal battle when Dancer’s Image’s owner, Peter D. Fuller, sued. The battle lasted nearly five years, according to History.com. Eventually, Fuller gave up in 1973, and Calumet Farm, the owners of Forward Pass, were given the prize money.

7. 1973: Secretariat becomes (and remains) the fastest derby winner

The 1973 race is one of the most historic in Kentucky Derby history. Thoroughbred Secretariat won the race with a record-breaking time of 1:59.40.

As of 2023, no other horse has beaten Secretariat’s time. The horse went on to be a Triple Crown winner.

8. 1986: The oldest jockey wins the derby

In 1986, Bill Shoemaker became the oldest jockey to win the Kentucky Derby, according to History.com.

At the time of his win with the horse Ferdinand, he was 54 years old.

KENTUCKY DERBY: HOW TO BET ON HORSES FROM HOME

Shoemaker, who died in 2003, won 8,833 races, including 11 in the Triple Crown series, according to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. 

9. 2009: Mine That Bird goes from worst to first

One of the biggest comebacks in Kentucky Derby history happened in 2009.

Mine That Bird, a horse ridden by jockey Calvin Borel, was in last place for the majority of the race. In fact, Mine That Bird wasn’t even mentioned until an NBC announcer said the horse was “well behind the rest of them.”

Mine That Bird remained at the back of the pack until the final stretch of the race, then he blew past all the other horses. The horse ended up coming in first place and making history as one of the greatest comebacks, beating 50-to-1 odds.

10. 2019: Country House wins the derby after a disqualification

Country House was the second-place winner of the derby in 2019 but ended up taking home a win after the winner, Maximum Security, was disqualified from the race shortly after its conclusion.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

After review, it was determined Maximum Security veered slightly out of his lane, which was decided to have affected some of the other horses in the race.

This led to Country House, the second-place finisher in the derby, getting the win.

11. 2022: Rich Strike wins the derby after a last-minute join

Rich Strike had 80-to-1 odds to win and ended up victorious in the 2022 Kentucky Derby, making for a huge upset.

Rich Strike joined the derby lineup late after Ethereal Road was scratched. The horse went on to win the 148th Kentucky Derby with jockey Sonny Leon.