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HRN Original Blog:
Trackside with Trackman

A Kentucky Derby Timeline

For those of us with an active Facebook account, we are all aware of Timeline. Most of my Facebook friends have either verbally stated to me or have posted on the social networking site about their displeasure with the new look home page. As for me, I have yet to switch over. I’m happily still using the original home page look. In a nutshell, Facebook Timeline is a neatly organized social scrapbook. How does this tie into the Kentucky Derby you ask?  After all, it is Derby week in America. Just like we all have important events in our lives that standout, so too does the Kentucky Derby. This blog edition takes a look at some signature events that have transpired over the last 137 years. Consider this if you will, a Trackside text scrapbook about the “Run for the Roses."

January 1st, 1872—Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr., grandson of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, begins working on the idea of the Kentucky Derby after witnessing the Epsom Derby in England.

May 17th, 1875—Jockey Oliver Lewis rides a colt named Aristides to victory in the first Kentucky Derby in front of 10,000 people. The distance was 1 ½ miles, but later was changed to  the current 1 ¼ miles.

May 11th, 1892—15-year old African-American jockey Alonzo “Lonnie” Clayton becomes the youngest jockey to win the Kentucky Derby.

May 2nd, 1904—Elwood becomes the first Derby starter to be owned by a woman, Laska  Durnell.

May 10th, 1913—At $92.40 to 1, Donerail becomes the longest shot ever to win the Kentucky Derby.

May 8th, 1915Regret becomes the first filly to win the Derby. Only three fillies total have won the race.

May 12th, 1917—English-bred colt Omar Khayyam wins the Derby, becoming the first foreign-bred horse to win.

May 10th, 1919Sir Barton becomes the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and  Belmont Stakes.

May 17th, 1930—Sportswriter Charles Hatton coins the term “Triple Crown” to denote the winner of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont after Gallant Fox becomes the second horse to win all three races.

May 7th, 1932—The Derby is moved to the first Saturday in May to create a specific schedule for Triple Crown races.

May 3rd, 1952—The Derby is shown on national television for the first time.

May 4th, 1968—Dancer’s Image becomes the first and only Derby winner to be disqualified, after phenylbutazone, an analgesic and anti-inflammatory drug, is discovered  during post-race urinalysis.

May 5th, 1973Secretariat runs the fastest Derby ever (at 1 ¼ miles) at I minute, 59 2/5 seconds. The horse, widely considered the greatest ever, actually ran each successive quarter of the race faster than the previous one, and went on to win the Triple Crown.

May 4th, 1974—The Derby’s largest crowd ever: 163,628 sees Cannonade win.

May 6th, 1978—Just days after his 18th birthday, jockey phenom Steve Cauthen wins the Derby aboard Affirmed and goes on to become the youngest  jockey ever to win the Triple Crown.

May 3rd, 2008—Eight Belles finishes second but breaks both ankles and is euthanized on the track, the first time in Derby history a horse has died at the race.

May 1st, 2010—Calvin Borel wins aboard Super Saver for his third Derby win in four years and giving trainer Todd Pletcher his first Derby win after missing with 24 previous horses.

With this year’s 138th “Run for the Roses” just a few days away, will we witness another historical event that will be added and forever etched into the Kentucky Derby Timeline?

 

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Older Comments about A Kentucky Derby Timeline ...

Awesome work Trackman!
I always love the historical prospective.
Very informative ... thanks, Nick!

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Hi, my name is Nick Costa a.k.a. Trackman. As for my "nickname" of Trackman, it came about the following way: When people, either friends or family would inquire as to where I was going, my reply was always the same, "I'm going to the track man." I was born and raised in Niagara Falls, New York, about a 30 minute drive from the racetrack, in Fort Erie, Canada.  I was five years old the first time I attended the races. My father, who was a regular at the track, took me to Fort Erie. My first recollections were of just running up and down the stairs to and from our grandstand seats and the walking ring. Of course, after viewing the horses, I would run back up the stairs, and tell my father who to bet. He would look at me quizzically, and then proceed to place a $2 dollar wager on my selection for me. Through the years, with continuous trips to Fort Erie, and also to Woodbine and the now defunct Greenwood, my father would take the time to explain all the information in the Daily Racing Form. After I learned the basics of handicapping, I never met a racing Form I didn't like. If I had spent as much time on my studies as I did reading the Form, I probably could be sitting on the Supreme Court. Those early horse playing days have  lasted into my adulthood, as I still play the races today on a regular basis. But now I have added a couple of new dimensions. First, I officially became a licensed thoroughbred race horse owner back in 2000, fulfilling a dream come true. Fort Erie, where I mostly play the races and race my horses, is still my favorite track. It's my home track, where I fell in love with everything about the sport. In addition to the tracks mentioned that I visited with my father, I have graced the grounds of Churchill
Downs (Derby 134 and several Breeders' Cups), Saratoga, Mountaineer, Gulfstream Park, Sam Houston Race Track, Presque Isle, Monmouth Park and Belmont Park. Second, I started to write a few years ago when I started my own blog, called Triple Crown Chase.


The blog was established to provide some personal insight about the horses and trainers who compete against one another in the 3 yr old prep races leading up to the Kentucky Derby. I preview and review the preps races and extend coverage to include the Preakness and Belmont. Last year, my blog previewed the Canadian Triple Crown races for the first time. The second leg, The Prince Of Wales Stakes, is run at my home track of Fort Erie. I am honored and thrilled to be on board with Horse Racing Nation and I want to thank everyone for their support.