One of the greatest moments in sports occurs when the horses come onto the track and the Louisville Marching Band serenades them with “My Old Kentucky Home”....every year, I get chills and tears form in my eyes....there is something about that song and that moment that just strikes a cord within....it is the most moving moment in sports...”My Old Kentucky Home” is without a doubt, one of the five greatest songs ever....it elicits raw emotion....here is a link to The University of Louisville band playing it....when you get on the page, click on "Hear the Song" at the top of the page....
Q. When was “My Old Kentucky Home” first played at the Derby?
A. Although there is no definitive history on the playing of the Stephen Foster ballad as a Derby Day tradition it is believed to have had its origin in 1921 for the 47th running of the classic. The Courier-Journal in their May 8, 1921 edition reported, "To the strains of "My Old Kentucky Home" Kentuckians gave vent their delight. For Kentucky triumphed in the Derby." The story refers to the popular victory of the Kentucky-owned and bred Behave Yourself. The actual year the song was played as the horses were led onto the track is also unclear. A 1929 news account written by the legendary Damon Runyon reported that the song was played periodically throughout Derby Day.
A report by the former Philadelphia Public Ledger provides evidence that 1930 may have been the first year the song was played as the horses were led to the post parade - "When the horses began to leave the paddock and the song 'My Old Kentucky Home' was coming from the radio, the cheering started."
Q. Who was the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby?
A. Aristides won the first Kentucky Derby in 1875. A statue of Aristides is located in the paddock area.
Q. Who has trained the most Derby winners?
A. Ben A. Jones trained six winners: Lawrin (1938), Whirlaway (1941), Pensive (1944), Citation (1948), Ponder (1949), Hill Gail (1952)
Q. How many fillies ever won the Derby?
A. There have been 36 fillies to start the Derby, but only 3 have ever won: Regret (1915), Genuine Risk (1980), and Winning Colors (1988). A filly has not run in the Derby since 1999 when Excellent Meeting finished 5th and Three Ring 19th.
Q. How long is the Kentucky Derby?
A. The Derby is one mile and a quarter. None of theses horses have ever run that far in a race.
Q. How many horses have been disqualified in the Kentucky Derby?
A. This has occurred twice. In the 1968 Kentucky Derby, Dancer's Image finished first and Forward Pass finished second, followed by Francie's Hat, T.V. Commercial and Kentucky Sherry. The Kentucky State Racing Commission ordered redistribution of the purse with first money to Forward Pass, second money to Francie's Hat, third money to T.V. Commercial and fourth money to Kentucky Sherry, because of its finding of prohibited medication in Dancer's Image.
After extensive litigation, the Commission's order was upheld in April, 1972, by Kentucky's highest court in Kentucky State Racing Commission et al v Peter Fuller, 481 S. W. 298. In a subsequent proceeding, the Commission also ordered that Forward Pass be considered the winner of the 1968 Kentucky Derby, except for pari-mutuel pay-offs, and that the 1968 gold cup Kentucky Derby trophy be awarded to its owner, Calumet Farm. An appeal from this order was dismissed and it is final.
In the only other disqualification, Gate Dancer, the fourth-place finisher in 1984, was disqualified for interference in the stretch and placed fifth.
Q. Who ran the fastest Derby?
A. Only two horses ever completed the Derby in less than 2 minutes. In 1973 Secretariat set the record that still stands when he completed the course in 1:59 2/5. In 2001 Monarchos completed the race in 1:59.97.
Q. What color of horse has won the most Derbies?
A. 47 bay-colored horses have won the Derby followed by 43 chestnut-colored horses.
Q. What is the worst type of track condition?
A. A sloppy track is considered the worst type of track condition. That has happened only four times in the Derby with the last time occurring in 2004 when Smarty Jones won the race.
Q. What post position has produced the most winning horses?
A. Of the 20 post positions, 12 times each the winning horse came from either the 1st or 5th position. The 4th and 10th positions produced the next most winning horses with 10 each. A winning horse has never come out of the 17th or 19th post position.
Q. How many women trainers or jockeys have ever participated in the Derby?
A. There have been 12 women trainers who trained a horse for the Derby. The last coming in 2004 with Kristin Mulhall and Jennifer Pederson. There have only been five women jockeys to ever ride a horse in the Derby: Diane Crump, Patti Cooksey, Andrea Seefeldt, Julie Krone, and Rosemary Homeister....
Below is a link to when former Kentucky governor and baseball commissioner the late - A.B. "Happy" Chandler sang "My Old Kentucky Home" on Senior Day at a Kentucky basketball game....he does not have the voice of a pure singer, however, his creaky and crackily version fits this song perfectly....watch the emotions pour from each person.....
My Old Kentucky Home
The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home,
'Tis summer, the people are gay;
The corn-top's ripe and the meadow's in the bloom,
While the birds make music all the day.
The young folks roll on the little cabin floor,
All merry, all happy and bright;
By 'n' by Hard Times comes a-knocking at the door,
Then my old Kentucky home, goodnight.
Weep no more my lady
Oh! weep no more today!
We will sing one song for the old Kentucky home,
For the Old Kentucky Home far away.