2015 Kentucky Derby History Watch
By Kevin Martin
Here at the Raceday 360 home office, we are excited to present another edition of the Kentucky Derby History Watch. Please remember that these historical nuggets are for entertainment purposes only. Enjoy!
Dortmund would be the third winner in four years to win the Santa Anita Derby and Kentucky Derby. I’ll Have Another (2012) and California Chrome (2014) also pulled that impressive double. The last time winners of a single prep also went on to win the Derby in such a short span came in 1975, 1976, and 1977 when three straight Wood Memorial winners (Foolish Pleasure, Bold Forbes, Seattle Slew) also won the Kentucky Derby. The only other time a trio of Santa Anita Derby winners won the Kentucky Derby in four years came with Hill Gail (1953), Determine (1954), and Swaps (1955).
Carpe Diem will try to become the first winner of the Blue Grass Stakes since Strike the Gold in 1991 to win the Kentucky Derby. In 2007, Street Sense finished second in the Blue Grass prior to winning the Derby.
Frosted would be the first Wood Memorial winner to take the Kentucky Derby since Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000. In 2003, Funny Cide finished second in the Wood before winning the Derby.
American Pharoah would be the first Arkansas Derby victor since Smarty Jones in 2004 to win the Kentucky Derby. The 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver finished second in the Arkansas Derby.
Mubtaahij would be the first UAE Derby winner to win the Kentucky Derby. He is also looking to became the first winner bred outside the U.S. since 1983 (Sunny’s Halo) and just the third bred outside of North American (Omar Khayyam, 1917, Tomy Lee, 1959 & Northern Dancer, 1964). He’d be the first Kentucky Derby winner bred in Ireland.
A win in the Derby would give Dortmund a perfect seven-for-seven record. Two other colts exited the race with that record: Seattle Slew (1977) and Smarty Jones (2004). Seattle Slew went on to win the Triple Crown and Smarty Jones finished one length short of the feat in losing the Belmont Stakes.
Three colts in this year’s Derby were bred by Derby winners: Dortmund (Big Brown), International Star (Fusaichi Pegasus), and Ocho Ocho Ocho (Street Sense). The last father/son double: Unbridled (1990) sired Grindstone, the 1996 Derby winner. International Star would follow in his sire’s footprints 15 years after Fusaichi Pegasus won the Derby in 2000. The longest period between Derby father and son winners is 19 years: Bold Venture won the Derby in 1936 and his son Middleground in 1955.
Malibu Moon would become the second sire to produce two Derby winners in a span of three years if any of his two sons (Danzig Moon, Mr. Z) win the 2015 Derby. Malibu Moon sired the 2013 winner Orb. The Finn became the first sire to produce two winners in three years when his sons — Zev and Flying Ebony — won in 1923 and 1925.
Apollo is the last colt (1882) to win the Derby without a start as a 2-year-old. Materiality will try to end this long-standing Derby trend; he made his first career start this past January 11th.
Bob Baffert (American Pharoah, Dortmund) is trying for his fourth Kentucky Derby. D. Wayne Lukas (Mr. Z) is attempting to win his fifth. The most Derby wins by a trainer is held by Ben Jones with six wins from 1938 to 1952.
Bob Baffert would become the first trainer to send the first and second betting choices to post should the morning line odds hold up at post time. (h/t John White)
Carla Gaines (Bolo) would become the first female trainer to win the Kentucky Derby. She is the 14th woman trainer to send a horse to post in the Derby.
Victor Espinoza (American Pharoah)–who won aboard California Chrome last year–would become the sixth jockey in history to win back-to-back editions of the Kentucky Derby. The last came in 2009 and 2010 when Calvin Borel won aboard Mine That Bird and Super Saver.
Jockey Calvin Borel (El Kabeir) is trying to win his fourth Derby in a span of nine years. A win by Borel would also put him one behind the leading jockeys in Derby wins (Bill Hartack and Eddie Arcaro each have five). El Kabeir is scratched.
Jockey Gary Stevens (Firing Line) at 52 years old is trying to become the oldest rider to win the Derby since Bill Shoemaker won aboard Ferdinand in 1986 at the age of 54.