Kentucky Derby Past Winners List

A look at every derby winner going back to 1875

When Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr., grandson of William Clark of Lewis and Clark, got John and Henry Churchill to provide land for a horse race, no one knew that the Kentucky Derby would become one of the biggest events in the world. Since its founding in 1875, Churchill Downs has become the mecca of horse racing, the blanket of roses for the winner is one of the United States' greatest traditions, and the Derby is known as "The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports."

 

How has the Derby done it? One reason is consistency. The Kentucky Derby has been held every year since 1875 and has never stopped, not even for two world wars. It also fully aligned in the 1920s with the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore and the Belmont Stakes on Long Island to create the Triple Crown for three-year-old racehorses that has now become the standard by which they are all now measured.

 

In that time, the Derby has produced more than 140 unique winners.

 

Here is a list of every past Kentucky Derby winner with a little background on each.

 

2019: Country House

Owner: Mrs. J. V. Shields, Jr., E. J. M. McFadden, Jr., and LNJ Foxwoods

A 65-1 longshot, Country House won the 2019 Kentucky Derby after the horse that crossed the finish line first (Maximum Security) was disqualified for impeding another horse.

 

2018: Justify 

Owner: China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners, Starlight Racing and WinStar Farms

Winning Time: 2:04.20

Last year's winner became the first horse since 1882 to win the Derby without having raced as a two-year-old. He then went on to become the 13th horse to win the Triple Crown.

 

2017: Always Dreaming

Owner: Brooklyn Boyz Stables

Winning Time: 2:03.59

Always Dreaming won on a wet fast track, meaning it had surface water, but a solid base.

 

2016: Nyquist

Owner: Reddam Racing LLC 

Winning Time: 2:01.31

Owner and hockey fan J. Paul Reddam named his horse after Detroit Red Wings left wing Gustav Nyquist. The horse actually posed with the Stanley Cup the morning he won the Derby.

 

2015: American Pharoah

Owner: Ahmed Zayat 

Winning Time: 2:03.02

The first horse to win the Triple Crown since 1978 retired after the 2015 season with a reported stud fee of $200,000.

 

2014: California Chrome

Owner: Steve and Carolyn Coburn & Perry and Denise Martin

Winning Time: 2:03.66

With lifetime earnings of $14.8 million, California Chrome is the all-time leader in this category.

 

2013: Orb

Owner: Stuart Janney III & Phipps Stable (Ogden Mills “Dinny” Phipps) 

Winning Time: 2:02.89

Orb lost his first three races before reeling off five straight wins, the final being the Derby.

 

2012: I’ll Have Another

Owner: J. Paul Reddam 

Winning Time: 2:01.83

Once again, we’re back to Reddam, who named this horse in honor of his wife’s fresh-baked cookies.

 

2011: Animal Kingdom

Owner: Team Valor International

Winning Time: 2:02.04

Animal Kingdom won the Derby before a record crowd of 164,858.

 

2010: Super Saver

Owner: WinStar Farm LLC

Winning Time: 2:04.45

With this win, jockey Calvin Borel became the first to win three out of four Kentucky Derbys.

 

2009: Mine That Bird

Owner: Double Eagle Ranch & Bueno Suerte Equine

Winning Time: 2:02.66

Those that bet on Mine That Bird won big, for he was a 50-1 underdog going into the race.

 

2008: Big Brown

Owner: IEAH Stable (Michael Iavarone) and Paul P. Pompa Jr.)

Winning Time: 2:01.82

A dislodged shoe at the Belmont Stakes prevented Big Brown from winning the Triple Crown.

 

2007: Street Sense

Owner: James B. Tafel

Winning Time: 2:02.17

Street Sense’s win marked the second and final Kentucky Derby win for National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame trainer Carl Nafzger.

 

2006: Barbaro

Owner: Lael Stables (Roy & Gretchen Jackson)

Winning Time: 2:01.36

Barbaro won the Derby by six and a half lengths, producing a high level of excitement across the country. But that turned to sadness when he broke his leg at the Preakness Stakes and died seven months later.

 

2005: Giacomo

Owner: Mr. & Mrs. Jerome S. Moss

Winning Time: 2:02.75

Giacomo is named after the fourth son of musician Sting and Trudie Styler.

 

2004: Smarty Jones

Owner: Someday Farm

Winning Time: 2:04.06

Smarty Jones’ pedigree features some of the best racehorses of all time, including Secretariat and Man o’ War.

 

2003: Funny Cide

Owner: Sackatoga Stable (Jackson Knowlton)

Winning Time: 2:01.19

Funny Cide’s time is the 10th fastest in Derby history.

 

2002: War Emblem

Owner: The Thoroughbred Corporation

Winning Time: 2:01.13

Trainer Bob Baffert nicknamed War Emblem “Hannibal Lecter” because of his propensity for biting.

 

2001: Monarchos

Owner: John C. Oxley

Winning Time: 1:59.97

Monarchos’ time is the second best in Derby history. Only Secretariat was faster.

 

2000: Fusaichi Pegasus

Owner: Fusao Sekiguchi

Winning Time: 2:01

Purchased by Fusao Sekiguchi for $4 million, Fusaichi Pegasus became the first favorite to win the Derby since 1979. Sekiguchi then reportedly sold him for $64 million.

 

1999: Charismatic

Owner: Robert B. & Beverly J. Lewis

Winning Time: 2:03.29

Charismatic emerged from obscurity to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes and had a 30 for 30 documentary made about his run.

 

1998: Real Quiet

Owner: Mike Pegram

Winning Time: 2:02.20

Real Quiet lost the Belmont Stakes by four inches, the smallest margin of defeat in the race’s history. That was all that stood between him and a Triple Crown.

 

1997: Silver Charm

Owner: Robert B. & Beverly J. Lewis

Winning Time: 2:02.40

Silver Charm won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes and is the oldest living winner of the latter.

 

1996: Grindstone

Owner: Overbrook Farm

Winning Time: 2:01

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas won back-to-back Derbys with Grindstone’s win.

 

1995: Thunder Gulch

Owner: Michael Tabor
Winning Time: 2:01.20

Thunder Gulch entered Churchill Downs as a 25-1 underdog, but went on to win the Derby and Belmont Stakes.

 

1994: Go for Gin

Owner: William J. Condren & Joseph M. Cornacchia

Winning Time: 2:03.60

At 28, Go for Gin is the oldest living Kentucky Derby winner in North America.

 

1993: Sea Hero

Owner: Rokeby Stable 
Winning Time: 2:02

The oldest living Derby winner in the world is Sea Hero, who resides in Turkey.

 

1992: Lil E. Tee

Owner: W. Cal Partee

Winning Time: 2:03

Lil E. Tee was in 10th place after half a mile, but roared back to win the Derby in dramatic fashion.

 

1991: Strike the Gold

Owner: BCC Stable

Winning Time: 2:03

Strike the Gold’s victory marked the first Derby win for Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito.

 

1990: Unbridled

Owner: Frances A. Genter

Winning Time: 2:02

Unbridled sired 1996 Kentucky Derby winner Grindstone, making him the last Derby winner to sire another Derby winner.

 

1989: Sunday Silence

Owner: H-G-W Partners

Winning Time: 2:05

Sunday Silence won the Derby and the Preakness Stakes, but lost the Belmont by eight lengths.

 

1988: Winning Colors

Owner: Eugene V. Klein

Winning Time: 2:02.20

Winning Colors is the last filly to win a Derby.

 

1987: Alysheba

Owner: D. & P. Scharbauer 

Winning Time: 2:03

In 2004, the Kentucky Derby added the Alysheba Stakes to its Derby Week lineup. It was named in honor of this horse.

 

1986: Ferdinand

Owner: Elizabeth A. Keck

Winning Time: 2:02.80

Poor Ferdinand was sent to a Japanese slaughterhouse in 2002, prompting the creation of Friends of Ferdinand, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing that from happening to other retired racehorses. The New York Owners and Breeders' Association also created the “Ferdinand Fee,” an optional pre-race charge that goes to horse rescue and retirement.

 

1985: Spend a Buck

Owner: Dennis Diaz

Winning Time: 2:00.20

To compete with the Preakness and Belmont Stakes, Garden State Park owner Robert Brennan offered a $2-million bonus for winning two April preparatory races, the Kentucky Derby, and the May 27 Jersey Derby. Since Spend a Buck had won the first three, owner Dennis Diaz skipped the last two Triple Crown races and went for the bonus. The gamble paid off as his horse won that contest too.

 

1984: Swale

Owner: Claiborne Farm

Winning Time: 2:02.40

Swale won the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes and then died unexpectedly eight days later.

 

1983: Sunny's Halo

Owner: D. J. Foster Stable

Winning Time: 2:02.20

Sunny’s Halo is only the second Canadian-bred horse to win the Derby.

 

1982: Gato Del Sol

Owner: Hancock & Peters

Winning Time: 2:02.40

In 2000, Gato Del Sol’s former owner, Arthur Hancock III, bought him back from a German breeder to ensure he did not end up in a slaughterhouse.

 

1981: Pleasant Colony

Owner: Buckland Farm

Winning Time: 2:02

Pleasant Colony won both the Derby and the Preakness Stakes, but finished third at Belmont, thus missing the Triple Crown.

 

1980: Genuine Risk

Owner: Diana M. Firestone

Winning Time: 2:02

After becoming the second filly to win the Kentucky Derby, Genuine Risk’s first mating was with Secretariat in 1982.

 

1979: Spectacular Bid

Owner: Hawksworth Farm

Winning Time: 2:02.40

Spectacular Bid won the Derby and Preakness and led halfway through the Belmont Stakes before running out of gas and finishing second.

 

1978: Affirmed

Owner: Harbor View Farm

Winning Time: 2:01.20

The 1970s produced three Triple Crown winners, but after Affirmed, there would not be another one until 2015.

 

1977: Seattle Slew

Owner: Karen L. Taylor

Winning Time: 2:02.20

The Triple Crown winner’s team was known as the “Slew Crew.” To give you an idea of how close-knit horse breeding is, last year’s Triple Crown winner Justify is a descendant of him.

 

1976: Bold Forbes

Owner: E. Rodriguez Tizol

Winning Time: 2:01.60

Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero Jr. won the second of three Derbys on Bold Forbes.

 

1975: Foolish Pleasure

Owner: John L. Greer

Winning Time: 2:02

Foolish Pleasure was the offspring of What a Pleasure and Fool Me Not.

 

1974: Cannonade

Owner: John M. Olin

Winning Time: 2:04

Cannonade is the half-brother of 1979 Derby winner Spectacular Bid.

 

1973: Secretariat

Owner: Meadow Stable

Winning Time: 1:59.40

Arguably the greatest racehorse of the 20th century holds the time records for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes, and won the last by an unreal 31 lengths. An autopsy after he died in 1989 found that his heart weighed 2.5 times that of the average horse.

 

1972: Riva Ridge

Owner: Meadow Stud

Winning Time: 2:01.80

Riva Ridge was named after the favorite ski run of the daughter of Meadow Stud owner Christopher Chenery.

 

1971: Canonero II

Owner: Edgar Caibett

Winning Time: 2:03.20

Canonero II came from 18th place to win the Derby in one of the biggest upsets in the race’s history.

 

1970: Dust Commander

Owner: Robert E. Lehmann

Winning Time: 2:03.40

Hunter S. Thompson published his gonzo journalism-launching piece, “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved,” in 1970 with Dust Commander’s win serving as the backdrop.

 

1969: Majestic Prince

Owner: Frank M. McMahon

Winning Time: 2:01.80

Majestic Prince’s win marked the fifth for jockey Bill Hartack, which tied Eddie Arcaro for the most Derby wins by a jockey.

 

1968: Forward Pass

Owner: Calumet Farm

Winning Time: 2:02.20

Forward Pass finished second, but was named the victor after winner Dancer’s Image was disqualified for doping. His win was the eighth for owner Calumet Farm, the most in Derby history.

 

1967: Proud Clarion

Owner: Darby Dan Farm

Winning Time: 2:00.60

Proud Clarion went from 30-1 underdog to finishing with the third fastest time in Derby history up to that point.

 

1966: Kauai King

Owner: Ford Stable

Winning Time: 2:02

The only Maryland born horse to win the Derby also won his home state’s Preakness Stakes but finished fourth at Belmont.

 

1965: Lucky Debonair

Owner: Ada L. Rice

Winning Time: 2:01.20

Lucky Debonair’s win was the third of four Derby wins for legendary jockey Bill Shoemaker.

 

1964: Northern Dancer

Owner: Windfields Farm

Winning Time: 2:00

Northern Dancer’s time was the fastest in Kentucky Derby history until Secretariat broke it nine years later.

 

1963: Chateaugay

Owner: Darby Dan Farm

Winning Time: 2:01.80

Three-star thoroughbreds at the time entered the 1963 Derby, producing a high level of excitement. But in the end, Chateaugay emerged from relative obscurity to win.

 

1962: Decidedly

Owner: El Peco Ranch

Winning Time: 2:00.40

Decidedly set a record for the fastest time that stood until Northern Dancer broke it two years later.

 

1961: Carry Back

Owner: Katherine Price

Winning Time: 2:04

Owner Katherine Price’s husband and unconventional trainer Jack Price employed a come-from-behind style with Carry Back, making him one of the most popular racehorses of his era.

 

1960: Venetian Way

Owner: Sunny Blue Farm

Winning Time: 2:02.40

Venetian Way was named after a street in Miami Beach.

 

1959: Tomy Lee

Owner: Fred & Juliette Turner

Winning Time: 2:02.20

Not to be confused with the drummer for Motley Crue, the England-born horse was bought by oilman Fred Turner and became only the second non-American horse at the time to win the Derby.

 

1958: Tim Tam

Owner: Calumet Farm

Winning Time: 2:05

In 1964, Arnott's Biscuits Limited in Australia released its Tim Tam chocolate biscuit named in honor of this horse.

 

1957: Iron Liege

Owner: Calumet Farm
Winning Time: 2:01.20

Iron Liege and Gallant Man were neck and neck when the latter’s jockey, Bill Shoemaker, misjudged the 1/16  mile pole for the finish line and stood up in his irons. This caused Gallant Man to lose his stride and allowed Iron Liege to win by a nose.

 

1956: Needles

Owner: D&H Stables

Winning Time: 2:03.40

Needles came back from 16th place to make up 24 lengths and win decisively.

 

1955: Swaps

Owner: Rex C. Ellsworth

Winning Time: 2:01.80

Swaps is the father of 1963 Derby winner Chateaugay.

 

1954: Determine

Owner: Andrew J. Crevolin

Winning Time: 2:03

Owner Andrew Crevolin made a last-minute decision to enter Determine in the 1954 Kentucky Derby and did not enter him in the Belmont Stakes. Despite the win, Determine did not have a chance to compete for the Triple Crown and missed the Preakness as well.

 

1953: Dark Star

Owner: Cain Hoy Stable

Winning Time: 2:02

A 25-1 underdog, Dark Star, beat heavily favored Native Dancer in one of the biggest upsets in horseracing history.

 

1952: Hill Gail

Owner: Calumet Farm

Winning Time: 2:01.60

Two records were set with Hill Gail’s win: 1) Ben A. Jones became the first trainer to win six Derbys, and 2) Eddie Arcaro became the first jockey to win five (Bill Hartack tied his record in 1969).

 

1951: Count Turf

Owner: Jack J. Amiel

Winning Time: 2:02.60

Count Turf’s sire, Count Fleet, won the Derby in 1943, and his grandsire, Reigh Count, won it in 1928. Only one other equine family has accomplished the same feat.

 

1950: Middleground

Owner: King Ranch

Winning Time: 2:01.60

A second place finish in the Preakness Stakes kept Middleground from winning the Triple Crown.

 

1949: Ponder

Owner: Calumet Farm

Winning Time: 2:04.20

Ponder is part of the other equine family to accomplish the Reigh County/Count Fleet/Count Turf feat. His sire, Pensive, won the Derby in 1944, and he sired Needles, who won it in 1956. He also was the first to win on television.

 

1948: Citation

Owner: Calumet Farm

Winning Time: 2:05.40

One of the greatest racehorses of all time, Citation captured the Triple Crown en route to winning 16 consecutive major stakes races and became the first to earn a million dollars.

 

1947: Jet Pilot

Owner: Maine Chance Farm

Winning Time: 2:06.80

Jet Pilot’s win was the only Derby victory for trainer Tom Smith, who rose to fame for his work with Seabiscuit.

 

1946: Assault

Owner: King Ranch

Winning Time: 2:06.60

In addition to winning the Triple Crown, Assault’s winning of the Derby by eight lengths is the largest margin of victory in the race’s history. He is one of four horses to accomplish that feat.

 

1945: Hoop Jr.

Owner: Fred W. Hooper

Winning Time: 2:07

Owner Fred Hooper won the Derby with his first horse, Hoop Jr., but would go on to breed horses for 50 more years.

 

1944: Pensive

Owner: Calumet Farm

Winning Time: 2:04.20

Pensive died at the relatively young age of eight and is buried at Calumet Farm in Kentucky.

 

1943: Count Fleet

Owner: Fannie Hertz

Winning Time: 2:04

Count Fleet won the Triple Crown when he won the Belmont Stakes by a record 25 lengths. That feat stood until Secretariat won it by 31 lengths in 1973.

 

1942: Shut Out

Owner: Greentree Stable

Winning Time: 2:04.40

Shut Out’s stable mate, Devil Diver, beat him at the prestigious Hopeful Stakes for two year-olds in 1941, but Shut Out got revenge the next year at the Derby.

 

1941: Whirlaway

Owner: Calumet Farm

Winning Time: 2:01.40

Whirlaway won the Kentucky Derby by a record eight lengths and then went on to win the Triple Crown.

 

1940: Gallahadion

Owner: Milky Way Farm

Winning Time: 2:05

A 36-1 underdog, Gallahadion won the Derby, but had very little success after that.

 

1939: Johnstown

Owner: Belair Stud

Winning Time: 2:03.40

Johnstown won two-thirds of all of his races and followed suit with the Triple Crown. He was victorious in the Derby and Belmont, but finished fifth in the Preakness.

 

1938: Lawrin

Owner: Herbert M. Woolf

Winning Time: 2:04.80

Jockey Eddie Arcaro won the first of his record five Derby wins riding Lawrin.

 

1937: War Admiral

Owner: Glen Riddle Farm

Winning Time: 2:03.20

Despite winning the Triple Crown, War Admiral is best remembered for losing to Seabiscuit in the “Match Race of the Century” in 1938.

 

1936: Bold Venture

Owner: Morton L. Schwartz

Winning Time: 2:03.60

Bold Venture won the Derby and Preakness, but bowed a tendon and retired before he could compete in the Belmont.

 

1935: Omaha

Owner: Belair Stud

Winning Time: 2:05

The Triple Crown winner was born in Kentucky, but was moved to Nebraska in 1950 to promote thoroughbred racing in the state. He passed away in 1959 and is buried in Omaha’s Aksarben Village.

 

1934: Cavalcade

Owner: Brookmeade Stable

Winning Time: 2:04

Cavalcade was one of a handful of racehorses to grace the cover of TIME magazine.

 

1933: Brokers Tip

Owner: Edward R. Bradley

Winning Time: 2:06.80

Brokers Tip’s jockey Don Meade literally fought with Herb Fish, jockey for Head Play, as the two raced for the finish line. Brokers Tip won by a nose.

 

1932: Burgoo King

Owner: Edward R. Bradley

Winning Time: 2:05.20

Burgoo King was named for an area grocer who made excellent burgoo stew, a spicy concoction made from available meats.

 

1931: Twenty Grand

Owner: Greentree Stable

Winning Time: 2:01.80

After winning 14 of his 25 races, Twenty Grand was unable to go on to a stud career because he was found to be sterile.

 

1930: Gallant Fox

Owner: Belair Stud

Winning Time: 2:07.60

The New York Times coined the term “Triple Crown” to describe Gallant Fox’s achievement in winning all three races. The name has stuck ever since.

 

1929: Clyde Van Dusen

Owner: Herbert P. Gardner

Winning Time: 2:10.80

Owner Herbert Gardner named his horse, son of Man o’ War, after its trainer.

 

1928: Reigh Count

Owner: Fannie Hertz

Winning Time: 2:10.40

In 1929, John Daniel Hertz was offered $1 million for Reigh Count, the largest amount that would have ever been paid for a racehorse at that time. Hertz turned it down, saying, “I think a fellow who would pay $1,000,000 for a horse ought to have his head examined, and the fellow who turned it down must be absolutely unbalanced."

 

1927: Whiskery

Owner: Harry P. Whitney

Winning Time: 2:06

After winning the Derby, Whiskery was found to be sterile and unable to be put out to stud. He finished his days as a horse for a night watchman.

 

1926: Bubbling Over

Owner: Edward R. Bradley

Winning Time: 2:03.80

Bubbling Over was going blind as he entered the Derby and retired after the race, finishing on top.

 

1925: Flying Ebony

Owner: Gifford A. Cochran

Winning Time: 2:07.60

Flying Ebony won the first Kentucky Derby ever to be broadcast on the radio.

 

1924: Black Gold

Owner: Rosa M. Hoots

Winning Time: 2:05.20

The famed gold trophy was added in 1924 in honor of the Kentucky Derby’s 50th anniversary. Black Gold’s team was the first recipient of it.

 

1923: Zev

Owner: Rancocas Stable

Winning Time: 2:05.40

Rancocas Stable owner Harry F. Sinclair named Zev after his friend and personal lawyer, Colonel James William Zevely.

 

1922: Morvich

Owner: Benjamin Block

Winning Time: 2:04.60

The first California-bred horse to win the Derby was unable to compete in the Preakness because both races were held on the same day.

 

1921: Behave Yourself

Owner: Edward R. Bradley

Winning Time: 2:04.20

Despite the win, owner Edward Bradley was rumored to have lost money because he bet on Behave Yourself’s stable mate, Black Servant. If that is true, I am okay with it.

 

1920: Paul Jones

Owner: Ral Parr

Winning Time: 2:09

Man o’ War owner Samuel Riddle did not enter his horse in the Derby because he thought it would be taxing on thoroughbred. This arguably made things a bit easier for Paul Jones, as Man o’ War won the Preakness, Belmont, and 20 of his 21 career races.

 

1919: Sir Barton

Owner: J. K. L. Ross

Winning Time: 2:09.80

Sir Barton won the first Triple Crown ever over a span of 32 days, but it would not be known as that until Gallant Fox accomplished the same feat 11 years later.

 

1918: Exterminator

Owner: Willis Sharpe Kilmer

Winning Time: 2:10.80

A true workhorse, it was rumored that Exterminator started in 100 races. In reality, he only ran in 99 and won 50 of them.

 

1917: Omar Khayyam

Owner: Billings & Johnson

Winning Time: 2:04.60

The 1917 Derby winner was named after the famous medieval Persian mathematician and astronomer.

 

1916: George Smith

Owner: John Sanford

Winning Time: 2:04

George Smith was named in honor of the man who once owned his mother.

 

1915: Regret

Owner: Harry P. Whitney

Winning Time: 2:05.40

Regret was the first filly to ever win the Kentucky Derby.

 

1914: Old Rosebud

Owner: Hamilton C. Applegate

Winning Time: 2:03.40

Old Rosebud won the Derby by eight lengths, a record that has been tied three times.

 

1913: Donerail

Owner: Thomas P. Hayes

Winning Time: 2:04.80

At 91-1 odds, Donerail is the longest shot to ever win the Kentucky Derby.

 

1912: Worth

Owner: Henry C. Hallenbeck

Winning Time: 2:09.40

After winning the Derby, Worth was severely injured in a race six months later and was euthanized.

 

1911: Meridian

Owner: Richard F. Carman

Winning Time: 2:05

Meridian ran the fastest time in the Derby’s history, but that record has been broken several times since then.

 

1910: Donau

Owner: William Gerst

Winning Time: 2:06.40

Donau’s full-brother, Wooltex, was purchased by George S. Patton in 1912.

 

1909: Wintergreen

Owner: Jerome B. Respess

Winning Time: 2:08.20

The 1909 Kentucky Derby was Wintergreen’s only major stakes win in an otherwise forgettable career.

 

1908: Stone Street

Owner: C. E. & J. W. Hamilton

Winning Time: 2:15.20

Stone Street’s time is the slowest ever recorded under the Derby’s current 1¼ distance.

 

1907: Pink Star

Owner: J. Hal Woodford

Winning Time: 2:12.60

After winning the Derby, Pink Star retired in 1908 and spent the rest of his life as a plow horse in Louisville.

 

1906: Sir Huon

Owner: Bashford Manor Stable

Winning Time: 2:08.80

Sir Huon was named after a character in the opera Oberon.

 

1905: Agile

Owner: Samuel S. Brown

Winning Time: 2:10.75

Agile only had to beat two competitors to win the 1905 Kentucky Derby.

 

1904: Elwood

Owner: Mrs. C. E. Durnell

Winning Time: 2:08.50

Elwood holds the distinction of being the first Derby winner to be bred and owned by women.

 

1903: Judge Himes

Owner: Charles R. Ellison

Winning Time: 2:09

The $27,995 Judge Himes earned over his career is nearly $790,000 in today’s dollars.

 

1902: Alan-a-Dale

Owner: Thomas Clay McDowell

Winning Time: 2:08.75

Alan-a-Dale was named after a member of Robin Hood’s band of “Merry Men.”

 

1901: His Eminence

Owner: Frank B. Van Meter

Winning Time: 2:07.75

Years after his win at the Derby, His Eminence died trying to jump a hurdle.

 

1900: Lieutenant Gibson

Owner: Charles H. Smith

Winning Time: 2:06.50

Lieutenant Gibson’s time held the record for the fastest in Derby history for 11 years.

 

1899: Manuel

Owner: A. H. & D. H. Morris

Winning Time: 2:12

Manuel beat four other horses to win an uneventful 25th Kentucky Derby.

 

1898: Plaudit

Owner: John E. Madden

Winning Time: 2:09

Plaudit came from behind to beat Lieber Karl to win the Derby by a nose.

 

1897: Typhoon II

Owner: J.C. Cahn

Winning Time: 2:12.50

After retiring from racing, Typhoon II spent the remainder of his life being used for farm work.

 

1896: Ben Brush

Owner: Mike F. Dwyer

Winning Time: 2:07.75

The first racehorse to win under the 1¼-mile length still appears in the pedigree of every Kentucky Derby winner since 1972.

 

1895: Halma

Owner: Byron McClelland

Winning Time: 2:37.50

Having sired 1902 champion Alan-a-Dale, Halma holds the distinction of being the first Derby victor to sire another Derby winner.

 

1894: Chant

Owner: Leigh & Rose

Winning Time: â€‹2:41

Chant won under the 1½-mile race length that the Derby used from 1875-95.

 

1893: Lookout

Owner: Cushing & Orth

Winning Time: 2:39.25

After winning the Derby, Lookout was purchased by famous distiller Joseph E. Seagram.

 

1892: Azra

Owner: Bashford Manor Stable

Winning Time: 2:41.50

Azra’s win against two other horses ties 1905 as the smallest field ever in the history of the Kentucky Derby.

 

1891: Kingman

Owner: Jacobin Stable

Winning Time: 2:52.25

Kingman’s time is the slowest in Derby history.

 

1890: Riley

Owner: Edward Corrigan

Winning Time: 2:45

Riley was originally named Shortfellow in honor of his father, Longfellow.

 

1889: Spokane

Owner: Noah Armstrong

Winning Time: 2:34.50

Spokane’s time was the fastest ever under the 1½ mile length of the race.

 

1888: Macbeth II

Owner: Chicago Stable

Winning Time: 2:38.25

To give you a sense of how this horse got its name, Macbeth II’s father was named Macduff. Turn, hellhound, turn.

 

1887: Montrose

Owner: Labold Brothers

Winning Time: 2:39.25

Montrose’s purse for winning the Derby was $4,200.

 

1886: Ben Ali

Owner: J. B. A. Haggin

Winning Time: 2:36.50

A bookmaking issue prevented high-dollar bets at the 1886 Derby and owner James Ben Ali Haggin was unable to wager big on the horse named after him. It took years for the race to fully bounce back. Only a change in ownership in 1903 helped the Derby recover to become the country’s premier horse race.

 

1885: Joe Cotton

Owner: James T. Williams

Winning Time: 2:37.25

While we are on the subject of betting, Joe Cotton was said to have been named after a bookie.

 

1884: Buchanan

Owner: William Cottrill

Winning Time: 2:40.25

Hall of Fame jockey Isaac Burns Murphy won his first of three Kentucky Derbys with Buchanan.

 

1883: Leonatus

Owner: Chinn & Morgan

Winning Time: 2;43

Of the more than 140 Derby winners, Leonatus’ claim to fame is reportedly eating the presentation roses.

 

1882: Apollo

Owner: Morris & Patton

Winning Time: 2:40.25

Apollo did not begin his career until he was three, but raced 55 times before retiring as a five-year-old.

 

1881: Hindoo

Owner: Dwyer Bros. Stable

Winning Time: 2:40

Hindoo won the Derby in the midst of 18 straight victories as a three-year-old.

 

1880: Fonso

Owner: J. Snell Shawhan

Winning Time: 2:37.50

Fonso and 1885 Derby winner Joe Cotton were both sired by King Alfonso.

 

1879: Lord Murphy

Owner: Darden & Co.

Winning Time: 2:37

After winning the Derby, Lord Murphy was sent to England to race, where he fared poorly. He was sold at a British public auction for 10 guineas ($50).

 

1878: Day Star

Owner: T. J. Nichols

Winning Time: 2:37.25

In the fourth Kentucky Derby, Day Star became the first horse in the race’s history to break the record for best time.

 

1877: Baden-Baden

Owner: Daniel Swigert

Winning Time: 2:38

Baden-Baden came from behind on the backstretch to win the third Derby.

 

1876: Vagrant

Owner: William Astor, Jr.

Winning Time: 2:38.25

Vagrant was the first of nine geldings to win the Kentucky Derby.

 

1875: Aristides

Owner: Hal P. McGrath

Winning Time: 2:37.75

Aristides won the first Derby by two lengths and set the world record for a 1½-mile race.

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