Jennifer Kelly

Jennifer Kelly is a horse racing historian, writer, and author of Sir Barton and the Making of the Triple Crown. When she's not writing about racing's past, she's watching and wagering on racing's present, eagerly awaiting our next Triple Crown winner.

The Big Payoff: Donerail’s Derby

Wed Apr 17 2024Jennifer Kelly

In 1913, Donerail became the talk of the town and the nation with his surprise Derby win, establishing a record that may never be broken.
Catching up with champions: Second careers for two fan favorites

Wed Apr 17 2024Jennifer Kelly

Fan favorites Whitmore, 2020 Eclipse champion sprinter, and Finnick the Fierce, the one-eyed gelding who captured hearts on the 2020 Derby Trail, both demonstrate what second careers can look like and why aftercare should be a focus for everyone who loves the sport of horse racing.
Tall Tales of the Track, Kentucky Derby Edition: A Question of Calks

Sat Apr 13 2024Jennifer Kelly

Blue Larkspur had what it takes to win the 1929 Kentucky Derby – speed, power, and tactical talent – yet met defeat for one surprising reason: calks.
Faded Glory: Forgotten Kentucky Derby Winners (Omar Khayyam, 1917)

Fri Apr 05 2024Jennifer Kelly

The list of Kentucky Derby victors currently stands at 149 names long, a roster of horses famed and forgotten, each with a story of their own. In its fifth decade, the historic equine contest emerged from its lean years with new vigor, ignited by a filly, a longshot, and in 1917, another first for America’s signature race: an international victor.
A Clean Start: The Evolution of the Kentucky Derby Starting Gate

Fri Mar 22 2024Jennifer Kelly

In its 150 years, the Kentucky Derby has gone from a standing start to a barrier to the modern starting gate, a journey that shows the ever-evolving science of a clean start.
Tall Tales of the Track, Kentucky Derby Edition: Bets, Brawls, and Beefs at the 1911 Derby

Fri Mar 15 2024Jennifer Kelly

In 1911, the famed Kentucky Derby was the scene of a racing drama with a cast of characters that included a Kentucky hardboot, a Chicago plunger, a classic-winning jockey, and a suspicious bit of cash.
Faded Glory: Forgotten Kentucky Derby Winners (Worth, 1912)

Fri Mar 08 2024Jennifer Kelly

In Louisville, the big show went on as racing fans once again celebrated another Kentucky Derby, its victor a champion colt whose brief time on the racetrack left the sport wondering “what if?”
How Matt Winn Saved Kentucky Racing with Those Paris Machines

Fri Feb 16 2024Jennifer Kelly

When fans’ ability to bet on the big race was threatened, Colonel Matt Winn went to great lengths to preserve that part of racing and save the Kentucky Derby in the process.
Tall Tales of the Track, Kentucky Derby Edition: A Man of Firsts

Fri Feb 09 2024Jennifer Kelly

The 150 years of the Kentucky Derby features thousands of stories of both the horses and the people that have been a part of this American tradition. Some names, like Bradley, Calumet, and Whitney, are familiar to fans, but others, especially those part of its earliest years, are less recognizable but equally as important to its long history. One in particular was behind a list of Derby firsts, his horses notable not only for their time on the racetrack but also for their role in the race’s first decade.
Faded Glory: The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Winners (Spokane, 1889)

Fri Feb 02 2024Jennifer Kelly

Spokane’s turn in the Kentucky Derby brought down the house with its thrilling finish, a confrontation that started a rivalry and notched the Montana-bred’s name in the history books.
Tall Tales of the Track, Kentucky Derby Edition: A Memorable Absence

Fri Jan 26 2024Jennifer Kelly

In 1951, though, the black-and-white photo of Count Turf, flanked by his owner and others, is missing an important face, making this particular Derby one to remember for one unfortunate reason.
Faded Glory: The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Winners (Ben Ali, 1886)

Wed Jan 24 2024Jennifer Kelly

In the century and a half of the Kentucky Derby lies forgotten tales of this great race. While the sport's spotlight often shines on the most celebrated champions, there are remarkable tales of victory that have faded into the recesses of time.
The Science of Horse Racing: Understanding the Equine Mind

Fri Dec 15 2023Jennifer Kelly

In the world of animal intelligence, few possess the fascinating intellect of the horse. Their ancient partnership with humans and intricate social dynamics within herds have intrigued scientists and equestrians alike with their seemingly profound understanding and emotional depth.