The Kentucky Derby is one of the most coveted races in the United States, if not the
most coveted. To win once is the thrill of a lifetime for an owner, but to have
more than one horse wear the roses is a rare feat. Below is the list of the
most all-time Kentucky Derby wins by an owner.
other owner has come close to the glory Calumet Farm has experienced in Churchill Down's Kentucky Derby. The iconic Lexington farm’s eight Kentucky Derby winners were
Whirlaway (1941), Pensive (1944), Citation (1948), Ponder (1949), Hill Gail
(1952), Iron Liege (1957), Tim Tam (1958), and Forward Pass (1968), who was the
victor after Dancer’s Image was disqualified for bute when there was a zero
tolerance rule. Whirlaway and Citation went on to be Triple Crown winners.
Colonel Edward R. Bradley (4): Bookmaker. Casino builder. Race track owner. Colonel E. R. Bradley
spent a good portion of his life around gaming and horses. He bought his first
racehorse in 1898 which led to an acquisition of Lexington land eight years
later that became Idle Hour Farm, where he trained and raced Thoroughbreds.
Colonel E. R. Bradley’s Kentucky Derby winners were Behave Yourself (1921),
Bubbling Over (1926), Burgoo King (1932), and Brokers Tip (1933). There is a
stakes race at Fair Grounds named after the Colonel, a track which he had
ownership of for a time.
Belair Stud (3): Belair Stud, located in
Maryland, was at the top of the breeding game in the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s.
Their three Kentucky Derby winners include Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935),
and Johnstown (1939). Gallant Fox and Omaha remain the only father-son
combination to win the Triple Crown.
Sadly, the Louisville Thoroughbred farm did not last. The barns and house were
torn down and neighborhoods and a shopping mall were developed. Bashford Manor
Stud won the Kentucky Derby with Azra (1892) and Sir Huon (1906).
Harry P. Whitney
P. Whitney was a member of the Whitney family and married into the Vanderbilt
family. Aside from owning Thoroughbred racehorses, Whitney was also a polo
player who bred his Thoroughbred mares to Quarter Horse stallions for polo
ponies. He won the Kentucky Derby with Regret (1915) and Whiskery (1927).
Regret was the first of three fillies to win the Kentucky Derby and became Horse
of the Year.
John and Fannie
Hertz (2): In
1915, John Hertz started the Yellow Cab Company where he lived in Chicago. The
brand then spread to the rest of the country. Nine years later, Hertz bought a
rental car company, calling it Hertz Drive-Ur-Self Corporation. Hertz and his
wife Fannie owned horse property in Illinois, California, and Kentucky. Their
first Kentucky Derby winner was Reigh Count (1928) followed by Reigh Count’s
son Count Fleet (1943), who won the Triple Crown.
Whitney family’s Greentree Stable had locations in New Jersey, New York, and
South Carolina for racing and training. Their breeding operation, Greentree Farm,
was started in 1925 in Lexington, Kentucky. Greentree Stable had success in
both steeplechasing and flat racing, including Kentucky Derby winners Twenty
Grand (1931) and Shut Out (1942). Gainesway Farm now owns the land that
Greentree Farm sat on.
King Ranch (2): King Ranch not only had
success with their Thoroughbreds, but also with Quarter Horses, cattle, and
other agribusiness. The Texas ranch is split into divisions and consists of
825,000 acres. King Ranch won the Triple Crown with Assault (1946) before
winning the Kentucky Derby a second time with Middleground (1950).
Darby Dan Farm
Dan Farm originated in Ohio before finding its way to Lexington, Kentucky. After
Colonel E.R. Bradley passed away in 1946, his Lexington property went up for
sale and smaller farms sprang up on the land. The Galbreath family, who started
Darby Dan Farm, purchased a 650 acre plot from the original buyer in 1949, thus
creating their central Kentucky stud farm. Chateaugay (1963) and Proud Clarion
(1967) were their two Kentucky Derby winners.
Meadow is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and people can
take tours of the historic Virginia farm, which includes a stop at the foaling shed
where Secretariat was born. The Meadow’s Kentucky Derby winners came in back to
back years with Riva Ridge (1972) and Secretariat (1973) who went on the be the
Triple Crown winner.
Bob and Beverly Lewis (2):
Bob and Beverly Lewis got into Thoroughbreds in 1990 and owned several
successful racehorses. Their first Kentucky Derby win came with Silver Charm
(1997) followed by Charismatic (1999). Both horses also won the Preakness in
their respective years.
Reddam Racing LLC (2): Reddam’s first Kentucky Derby winner was I’ll Have Another
(2012). The colt went on to win the Preakness, but was retired one day before
the Belmont Stakes due to injury. The same connections came back to win with
Nyquist (2016), who was only the second horse to win both the Breeders’ Cup
Juvenile and the Kentucky Derby.
By Christine Oser