Saturday, May 4, 2013

The First Derby Winner

Tomorrow is the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby. But where did it all start from?

The First Derby Winner

Using this book, here's the story of the first Derby Winner. 

On May 17, 1875,  10,000 fans went out to Churchill Downs. They flooded the grounds in wagons, buggies, carts, and carriages.  The fashion was still the same as it is today. Ladies dressed with decorated  gowns, hats, and gloves.The first Kentucky Derby cost $1050 to enter. $50 was for the Stakes and $1000 was paid to the Louisville Racing Association. The award was a 300 ounce silver punch bowl worth $1000. 

I pulled the list of runners from Wikipedia


  • Aristides
  • Volcano
  • Verdigris
  • Bob Woolley
  • Ten Broeck
  • Grenoble
  • Bill Bruce
  • Chesapeake
  • Searcher
  • Ascension
  • Enlister
  • McCreery
  • Warsaw
  • Vagabond
  • Gold Mine 

Instead of starting gates, the horses lined up and waited for the flag to be dropped. Once it was dropped, the horses took off. 
Source
In the 1875 race, Volcano took the lead, but Chesapeake broke last. At the half-mile pole, McCreery was in the front, but Aristides eventually won. He set a new track record at 2:37 3/4. Aristides was only 15 hands and was called the "Little Red Hoss."
Drawing of Aristides
A statue was made to honor Aristides. He won $2850 for his owner, H.P McGrath. I couldn't find any info about what happened to Aristides, but he'll always be a part of history for being the first Kentucky Derby Winner.
Source

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