Kentucky Derby News and Trivia
California Chrome Wins 2014 Kentucky Derby
NBC Sports will present 27 hours of Triple Crown coverage this season from the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, the Preaknews at Pimlico and the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in New York, including additional ‘classics’ from Kentucky Derby the Preakness and Belmont, live racing from all events.
The Kentucky Derby, known as “the most exciting two minutes in sports,” is the sporting event with the longest continuous run in North America. In 1950, NBC affiliate WAVE-TV in Louisville, Ky., provided the first television coverage of the Kentucky Derby.
Kentucky Derby Trivia
- Odds that any one thoroughbred born in North America this year will run in the 2008 Kentucky Derby: 1,700-1 or greater. There are about 34,000 thoroughbreds born annually in North America. And an untold number born in the rest of the world. At most, 20 will run in the Kentucky Derby.
- Odds the crowd will get it right and pick the winner: 2.6-1
- They’ve run 130 Kentucky Derby’s over the semi-sacred sod of Churchill Downs. In 50 of those races, the favorite won. So the crowd’s hitting .385 — big-league numbers.
- But most of the people who put up the big numbers are dead. The crowd hasn’t been good at this since the 1970s.
- From 1875 to 1979, the crowd hit almost half the time: 48 for 105. Since then, it’s 2 for 25 (a 92 percent failure rate).
- From 1980 to 1999, the crowd had a perfect record: 0 for 20. Twenty straight years of picking losers. That changed in 2000, when a favorite, Fusaichi Pegasus, finally won.
- The 1990s, in particular, were the pits for prognosticators. From 1990 to 1995, the crowd favorite finished, on average, eighth, a dozen lengths behind the winner.
- Odds that Kato Kaelin would be among the celebrities on Millionaires’ Row: 65-1 It happened twice. Once more than it happened to, say, Jack Nicholson. Or two more times than it happened to Madonna.
- Odds that Richard Nixon would be in the house the only time the Kentucky Derby winner is disqualified for cheating: 1-1 It happened in 1968, when Nixon was a presidential candidate making his first Kentucky Derby appearance.
- Dancer’s Image finished first but was disqualified because of illegal medication. Forward Pass was declared the winner. Oddsthe winner will go wire-to-wire: 6-1
- It’s happened 22 times, most recently in 2002, when War Emblem was content to lead by a length or two most of the race, then surged for a four-length victory over Proud Citizen.
- Odds the Kentucky Derby winner will be adorned in a blanket of carnations and ferns: Infinity, now. It was not always so. That’s allegedly what the 1902 winner, Alan-a-Dale, wore.
- Odds a horse will run dead last from wire to wire: 146-1
- Eleven of the 1,616 Kentucky Derby starters have achieved this dubious distinction. It hasn’t happened since 1941, when Swain swooned.
- In 1896, a horse going by the misnomer of Ulysses was a steady eighth all the way. Ulysses was the only opponent that an equally misnamed horse — The Winner — managed to defeat. Odds the winner will be a filly: 43-1
- Three fillies have won: Regret in 1915, Genuine Risk in 1980 and Winning Colors in 1988.
- Odds a black horse will win: 33-1 Four black horses have won: Halma (1895), George Smith (1916), Black Gold (1924) and Flying Ebony (1925).
- Odds that the Kentucky Derby winner is as likely to be from, say, Montana, as from, say, New York: 1-1
- Each state has had one: Montana’s Spokane (1889) and New York’s Funny Cide (2003).
- Odds the winner and trainer will have the same name: 130-1
- It happened in 1929, when Clyde Van Dusen, the horse, won for Clyde Van Dusen, the trainer. The trainer did not name the horse in a fit of vanity. The horse, a son of Man o’ War, was named by Herbert Gardner, its breeder and owner. “Clyde is a little horse, and that is why Mr. Gardner named him after me,” said Van Dusen, a former jockey. Van Dusen ended up owning his namesake after his racing career, using the Kentucky Derby winner as an exercise pony.
- Odds the winning margin will be a nose: 16-1 It’s happened eight times, most recently when Grindstone got a nostril ahead of Cavonnier at the wire in 1996, turning trainer Bob Baffert’s hair a whiter shade of white.
- Odds a horse who enters the Kentucky Derby undefeated will leave undefeated: 3.6-1 Eighteen horses have brought perfect records into the race. Only five left undefeated. They are: Regret (1915) Morvich (1922) Majestic Prince (1969) Seattle Slew (1977) Smarty Jones (2004) Odds the Kentucky Derby winner was born in Kentucky: 1.3-1 Ninety-seven of the 130 winners were born in the Bluegrass state.
- Odds (since 1919) that the Kentucky Derby winner will win the Preakness and Belmont to complete racing’s Triple Crown: 8-1 (11 Triple Crowns in 85 years) The last time a horse won the Triple Crown: 1978 (Affirmed) Odds that the Derby winner will win the Preakness but not the Belmont: 4-1 (21
- Odds that the Kentucky Derby winner will lose — or not enter — the Preakness and win the Belmont: 8.5-1 (10 times) Oddsthat a Derby jockey is more likely to be nicknamed “Tiny” than “Shorty”: 9-1 Frank “Shorty” Prior, rode winner Elwood in 1904. George B. “Tiny” Quantrell rode in 1882 and ’83. Robert “Tiny” Williams rode seven Derby mounts from 1891-1902.