150 years of Kentucky Derby Winners: 1925-1974

April 17th, 2024

Kentucky Derby 150 is just around the corner! Celebrate by exploring the rich history of Derby winners and Kentucky Derby Results. From legendary finishes to thrilling races, discover the excitement of betting on the Kentucky Derby. Whether you’re placing a bet on the Kentucky Derby for the first time or a seasoned bettor, drive into past race results and experience the thrill of predicting the next champion. Bet the Kentucky Derby and witness history in the making!


 

1925 - Flying Ebony

  • Time: 2:07.60
  • Jockey: Earl Sande
  • Trainer: William B. Duke
  • History fun facts: The Grand Ole Opry radio program is first broadcast in Nashville.

Flying Ebony was the first member of a mutuel field to capture the Derby.


1926 - Bubbling Over

  • Time: 2:03.80
  • Jockey: Albert Johnson
  • Trainer: Herbert J. Thompson
  • History fun facts: A hurricane devastates Miami and the NBC radio network is launched.

For the second time in six years, Bubbling Over led a one-two Derby finish for Col. Bradley-owned runners.


1927 - Whiskery

  • Time: 2:06.00
  • Jockey: Linus McAtee
  • Trainer: Fred Hopkins
  • History fun facts: Charles Lindbergh makes the first solo non-stop trans-Atlantic flight, from New York to Paris.

Like several Derby winners over the years, Whiskery proved to be sterile when retired to stud.


1928 - Reigh Count

  • Time: 2:10.40
  • Jockey: Chick Lang
  • Trainer: Bert S. Michell
  • History fun facts: The first Academy Awards are held in Los Angeles.

The first in a three-generation line of Derby winners, Reigh Count later forged a successful racing career in England.


Clyde Van Dusen 1929 (Photo courtesy of the Kentucky Derby Museum)

1929 - Clyde Van Dusen

  • Time: 2:10.80
  • Jockey: Linus McAtee
  • Trainer: Clyde Van Dusen
  • History fun facts: The Wall Street Crash in October instigates the Great Depression.

The last gelding to win the Derby until 2003, Clyde Van Dusen was named in honor of his trainer.


1930 - Gallant Fox

  • Time: 2:07.60
  • Jockey: Earl Sande
  • Trainer: Jim Fitzsimmons
  • History fun facts: Colonel Harland Sanders opens his first restaurant in Kentucky.

Gallant Fox was the second horse to sweep the Triple Crown, but the first to be recognized non-retroactively.


1931 - Twenty Grand

  • Time: 2:01.80
  • Jockey: Charley Kurtsinger
  • Trainer: James G. Rowe, Jr.
  • History fun facts: After 12 1/2 months of construction, the Empire State Building is opened.

A dominating Derby winner, Twenty Grand missed sweeping the Triple Crown himself due to a rough trip in the Preakess.


1932 - Bugaroo King

  • Time: 2:05.20
  • Jockey: Eugene James
  • Trainer: Herbert J. Thompson
  • History fun facts: Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected to the first of four terms as president.

Burgoo King captured the first two legs of the Triple Crown but was sidelined and did not compete in the Belmont Stakes.


1933 - Brokers Tip

  • Time: 2:06.80
  • Jockey: Don Meade
  • Trainer: Herbert J. Thompson
  • History fun facts: The New Deal era begins, while Prohibition ends.

The notorious "Fighting Finish Derby" was won by Brokers Tip, whose only career win occurred in the great race.


1934 - Cavalcade

  • Time: 2:04.00
  • Jockey: Mack Garner
  • Trainer: Bob Smith
  • History fun facts: The gangster era results in the killings of John Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde, and others.

Cavalcade was featured on the cover of Time magazine several months after his Derby victory.


1935 - Omaha

  • Time: 2:05.00
  • Jockey: Willie Saunders
  • Trainer: Jim Fitzsimmons
  • History fun facts: Populist senator Huey Long is fatally shot in the Louisiana capitol.

Omaha is the only Triple Crown winner sired by another Triple Crown winner (Gallant Fox).


1936 - Bold Venture

  • Time: 2:03.60
  • Jockey: Ira Hanford
  • Trainer: Max Hirsch
  • History fun facts: Jesse Owens famously wins the 100-meter dash at the Berlin Olympics.

Bold Venture is the only Kentucky Derby winner to sire two Derby winners.


1937 - War Admiral

  • Time: 2:03.20
  • Jockey: Charley Kurtsinger
  • Trainer: George Conway
  • History fun facts: The Golden Gate Bridge opens to pedestrian traffic.

Triple Crown winner War Admiral was sired by the famed Man o' War, who famously did not compete in the Churchill classic.


1938 - Lawrin

  • Time: 2:04.80
  • Jockey: Eddie Arcaro
  • Trainer: Ben A. Jones
  • History fun facts: Future British prime minister Winston Churchill condems the signing of the Munich Agreement.

Kansas-bred Lawrin was the first of a record five Derby winners ridden by Eddie Arcaro.

 


1939 - Johnsontown Derby

  • Time: 2:03.40
  • Jockey: James Stout
  • Trainer: Jim Fitzsimmons
  • History fun facts: World War II commences following the German invasion of Poland.

Johnstown was the third Derby winner of the 1930s for owner William Woodward and trainer Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons.


1940 - Gallahadion

  • Time: 2:05.00
  • Jockey: Carroll Bierman
  • Trainer: Roy Waldron
  • History fun facts: Seabiscuit wins his career finale in the Santa Anita Handicap.

Gallahadion's win was a massive 35-1 upset over 2-5 favorite Bimelech and future champion Mioland.


1941 - Whirlaway

  • Time: 2:01.40
  • Jockey: Eddie Arcaro
  • Trainer: Ben A. Jones
  • History fun facts: The U.S. enters World War II following the Dec. 7 attack on Pearl Harbor.

"Mr. Longtail" cruised to an eight-length win and later swept the Triple Crown.


1942 - Shut Out

  • Time: 2:04.40
  • Jockey: Wayne D. Wright
  • Trainer: John M. Gaver, Sr.
  • History fun facts: War rationing of items like gasoline and coffee begins.

Shut Out toppled eventual champion Alsab and his more highly-regarded stablemate Devil Diver.


1943 - Count Fleet

  • Time: 2:04.00
  • Jockey: Johnny Longden
  • Trainer: Don Cameron
  • History fun facts: Italy surrenders to Allied forces in September.

Count Fleet won the transportation-restricted "Streetcar Derby" en route to a Triple Crown sweep.


1944 - Pensive

  • Time: 2:04.20
  • Jockey: Conn McCreary
  • Trainer: Ben A. Jones
  • History fun facts: The Normandy Invasion (D-Day) liberates France from Germany.

An easy winner by 4 1/2 lengths, Pensive was one of only two horses in the field of 16 not to wear blinkers.


1945 - Hoop Jr.

  • Time: 2:07.00
  • Jockey: Eddie Arcaro
  • Trainer: Ivan H. Parke
  • History fun facts: Horse racing in the U.S. is blacked out from January through V.E. Day.

Hoop Jr. won the only Derby contested in June, which was delayed until the end of World War II.


1946 - Assault

  • Time: 2:06.60
  • Jockey: Warren Mehrtens
  • Trainer: Max Hirsch
  • History fun facts: Democratic Party dominance in Washington briefly ends with loss in the midterms.

Texas-bred Assault won by eight lengths and later became the third Triple Crown winner of the decade.


1947 - Jet Pilot

  • Time: 2:06.80
  • Jockey: Eric Guerin
  • Trainer: Tom Smith
  • History fun facts: The World Series is broadcast on television for the first time.

Jet Pilot won in wire-to-wire fashion for trainer Tom Smith, who had earlier gained fame with Seabiscuit.


1948 - Citation

  • Time: 2:05.40
  • Jockey: Eddie Arcaro
  • Trainer: Ben A. Jones
  • History fun facts: Harry Truman wins a full term as president in an upset over challenger Thomas Dewey.

Widely considered an all-time great, Triple Crown winner Citation won 19 of 20 starts as a three-year-old.


1949 - Ponder Derby

  • Time: 2:04.20
  • Jockey: Steve Brooks
  • Trainer: Ben A. Jones
  • History fun facts: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is formed.

A son of 1944 winner Pensive, Ponder was the highest-priced Derby winner ever for Calumet Farm.


1950 - Middle Ground 

  • Time: 2:01.60
  • Jockey: Max Hirsch
  • Trainer: William Boland
  • History fun facts: The Korean War begins in June.

Middleground was sired by Bold Venture, the only Derby winner to sire two Derby winners.


1951 - Count Turf

  • Time: 2:02.60
  • Jockey: Conn McCreary
  • Trainer: Sol Rutchick
  • History fun facts: "I Love Lucy" debuts on CBS television.

Third generation winner Count Turf had been unplaced in seven consecutive starts leading up to the Derby.


1952 Kentucky Derby Winner Hill Gail

1952 - Hill Gail

  • Time: 2:01.60
  • Jockey: Eddie Arcaro
  • Trainer: Ben A. Jones
  • History fun facts: Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower wins the presidential election in a landslide.

Hill Gail was the fifth and final Derby winner for famed Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Arcaro.


Dark Star wins the 1953 Kentucky Derby

Dark Star wins the 1953 Kentucky Derby (Photo courtesy of the Kentucky Derby Museum/Churchill Downs)

1953 - Dark Star

  • Time: 2:02.00
  • Jockey: Henry E. Moreno
  • Trainer: Eddie Hayward
  • History fun facts: Signed armistice between North and South Korea ends the peninsular conflict.

Dark Star handed odds-on favorite Native Dancer his only defeat in 22 starts in this Derby.


1954 - Determine

  • Time: 2:03.00
  • Jockey: Raymond York
  • Trainer: William Molter
  • History fun facts: The Army-McCarthy hearings grip a nationwide television audience.

California-based Determine was the first gray to wear the roses at Churchill Downs.


1955 - Swaps

  • Time: 2:01.80
  • Jockey: Bill Shoemaker
  • Trainer: Mesh Tenney
  • History fun facts: The first McDonald's is open in suburban Chicago.

Swaps defeated fellow Hall of Fame rival Nashua while giving Bill Shoemaker his first of four Derby wins.


1956 - Needles 

  • Time: 2:03.40
  • Jockey: David Erb
  • Trainer: Hugh L. Fontaine
  • History fun facts: Oscar-winning actress Grace Kelly marries Rainier III, Prince of Monaco.

Needles was the first Derby winner and champion horse bred in Florida.


1957 - Iron Liege

  • Time: 2:02.20
  • Jockey: Bill Hartack
  • Trainer: Jimmy Jones
  • History fun facts: The Soviet Union launches Sputnik, the first artifical satellite.

Iron Liege famously toppled three future Hall of Fame rivals in this edition.


1958 - Tim Tam

  • Time: 2:05.00
  • Jockey: Ismael Valenzuela
  • Trainer: Jimmy Jones
  • History fun facts: Pop star Elvis Presley is inducted into the U.S. Army.

Calumet Farm's seventh Derby winner would suffer a career-ending injury in his Triple Crown attempt at Belmont.


1959 - Tommy Lee

  • Time: 2:02.20
  • Jockey: Bill Shoemaker
  • Trainer: Frank E. Childs
  • History fun facts: Alaska and Hawaii admitted into the Union as the 49th and 50th states.

English-bred Tomy Lee is the most recent Derby winner to be foaled outside North America.


1960 - Venetian Way

  • Time: 2:02.40
  • Jockey: Bill Hartack
  • Trainer: Victor J. Sovinski
  • History fun facts: John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon participate in the first televised presidential debates.

Venetian Way was the second of a co-record five Derby winners piloted by Bill Hartack.


1961 - Carry Back

  • Time: 2:04.00
  • Jockey: Johnny Sellers
  • Trainer: Jack A. Price
  • History fun facts: Roger Maris breaks Babe Ruth's single-season home run record.

The diminutive and popular Florida-bred Carry Back was later inducted into the Hall of Fame.


1962 - Decidedly 

  • Time: 2:00.40
  • Jockey: Bill Hartack
  • Trainer: Horatio Luro
  • History fun facts: A nuclear confrontation between the U.S. and Soviet Union over Cuba is averted.

Decidedly set a track record that lasted a mere two years.


1963 - Chateaugay 

  • Time: 2:01.80
  • Jockey: Braulio Baeza
  • Trainer: James P. Conway
  • History fun facts: President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas in November.

Chateaugay would become the first Derby winner to later stand as a stallion in Japan.


1964 - Northern Dancer

  • Time: 2:00.00
  • Jockey: Bill Hartack
  • Trainer: Horatio Luro
  • History fun facts: The Civil Rights Act is voted and signed into law.

Later a highly influential sire, Northern Dancer was the first Derby winner to run the 1 1/4 miles in 2:00 flat.


1965 - Lucky Debonair

  • Time: 2:01.20
  • Jockey: Bill Shoemaker
  • Trainer: Frank Catrone
  • History fun facts: President Lyndon Johnson launches his "Great Society" agenda.

 

 


1966 - Kauai King

  • Time: 2:02.00
  • Jockey: Don Brumfield
  • Trainer: Henry Forrest
  • History fun facts: President Lyndon Johnson launches his "Great Society" agenda.

Kauai King is the only horse bred in Maryland (home state of the Preakness) to have won the Derby.


1967 - Proud Clarion 

  • Time: 2:00.60
  • Jockey: Bobby Ussery
  • Trainer: Loyd Gentry, Jr.
  • History fun facts: Anti-Vietnam War and race riots escalate during the year.

Proud Clarion upset this Derby over eventual Horse of the Year Damascus.


1968 - Forward Pass

  • Time: 2:02.20
  • Jockey: Ismael Valenzuela
  • Trainer: Henry Forrest
  • History fun facts: Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy both fall victim to assassins.

Forward Pass was placed first following the disqualification of Dancer's Image for a prohibited medication.


1969 - Majestic Prince 

  • Time: 2:01.80
  • Jockey: Bill Hartack
  • Trainer: Johnny Longden
  • History fun facts: Astronaut Neil Armstrong becomes the first human to walk on the moon.

Majestic Prince is the only Derby winner trained by a former Derby-winning jockey: Johnny Longden


1970 - Dust Commander 

  • Time: 2:03.40
  • Jockey: Mike Manganello
  • Trainer: Don Combs
  • History fun facts: Rock icons Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin pass away within weeks of each other.

Dust Commander is the only Illinois-bred to have won the Derby.


1971 - Canonero II

  • Time: 2:03.20
  • Jockey: Gustavo Avila
  • Trainer: Juan Arias
  • History fun facts: "All in the Family" begins a five-year run as the top-rated television show.

Canonero II is the only Derby winner to have prepped exclusively outside North America (Venezuela).


1972 - Riva Ridge 

  • Time: 2:01.80
  • Jockey: Ron Turcotte
  • Trainer: Lucien Laurin
  • History fun facts: The burglarizing of Democratic National Committee headquarters kick starts the Watergate scandal.

Riva Ridge was the first of six juvenile champions this decade to win the Derby.


1973 - Secretariat

  • Time: 1:59.40
  • Jockey: Ron Turcotte
  • Trainer: Lucien Laurin
  • History fun facts: Gerald Ford becomes the first person appointed to the vice presidency following the resignation of Spiro Agnew.

Arguably the most iconic Thoroughbred of all time, Secretariat still holds the track and stakes record of 1:59 2/5.


1974 - Connonade 

  • Time: 2:04.00
  • Jockey: Angel Cordero, Jr.
  • Trainer: Woody Stephens
  • History fun facts: Richard Nixon becomes the first president to resign from office.

Cannonade won the centennial Kentucky Derby before a then-record crowd of more than 163,000.


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1875-1924    |     1975-2023