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Derby Trial Stakes

Grade III race
Derby Trial Stakes
Location Churchill Downs
Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Inaugurated 1924
Race type Thoroughbred - Flat racing
Website www.churchilldowns.com
Race information
Distance 1 mile
Track Dirt, left-handed
Qualification three-years-olds
Weight Assigned
Purse US$200,000

The Derby Trial Stakes is an American Thoroughbred horse race run annually at the end of April at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Held one week before the Kentucky Derby, it was first run in 1924 and every year since, with the exception of 1928. A Grade III stakes with a purse of $100,000, it's open to three year olds willing to race one mile on the dirt, however its distance from 2007-2009 was 7.5 furlongs. The Derby Trial Stakes was an ungraded event from 2006-2008. status.[1]

Five horses have swept both the Trial and the Kentucky Derby since the Trial was introduced. Black Gold won the inaugural 1924 running of the Trial, which was then run on the Tuesday before the Derby, and returned to complete the sweep in the main event. The last horse to win both races was Calumet Farm’s Tim Tam in 1958. Calumet’s Citation, winner of the 1948 Triple Crown, also swept the Derby Trial and the Kentucky Derby.

Several Kentucky Derby winners failed to win the Trial, but bounced back to win the “Run for the Roses.” Most notable of those were Calumet Farm’s Iron Liege, who finished fifth in the Trial and returned to defeat a Kentucky Derby field that included champions Gallant Man, Round Table and Bold Ruler and is generally considered to be the greatest field in Derby history. King Ranch’s Assault finished off the board in the Trial, but returned to win the Derby and sweep the Triple Crown. In 1941, Triple Crown winner Whirlaway finished second in the Derby Trial, but returned to sweep the Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

Since 1958, when Calumet Farm's Tim Tam became the last horse to win both the Trial and the Derby, the gradual trend in training has been toward giving Derby contenders fewer prep races and more time between them. This practice has all but eliminated the Trial as a legitimate Derby prep race. Even the 1982 decision to move it from the Tuesday before the Derby to the Saturday before didn't help.

However, the three weeks between the Trial and the 1 3/16ths-mile Preakness in Baltimore is perfect. In recent years, the Trial has sent the Preakness such horses as Key to the Mint (1972), No More Flowers (1987), Houston (1989), Honor Grades (1991), Alydeed (1992), Cherokee Run (1993), Numerous (1994), Our Gatsby (1995), Black Cash (1998), Patience Game (1999), Sir Shackleton (2004), Flying First Class (2007) and Macho Again (2008).

Although none of those Trial horses won the Preakness, Alydeed, Cherokee Run and Macho Again finished second at Pimlico Race Course. And two of trainer Woody Stephens' Trial winners Caveat in 1983 and Creme Fraiche in '85) went on to win the Belmont Stakes (GI). Additionally, the 2008 Belmont Stakes was won by Da'Tara, trained by Nick Zito, who finished in fifth place in the 2008 Derby Trail.

During the heyday of Calumet Farm, trainers Ben A. Jones and his son, Jimmy, loved to use the Trial as their final Derby prep. Of the five horses that have won both the Trial and the Derby, three were from Calumet - Citation in 1948, Hill Gail in '52, and Tim Tam in '58. (The others were Black Gold In 1924 and Dark Star in '53).

In addition, Calumet had three interesting horses that finished second in the Trial. In 1941, Whirlaway finished second to Blue Pair in the Trial, but then roared back to win the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. In 1949, Ponder was second to Olympia in the Trial, but came back five days later to take the Derby by three lengths over Capot.

And then there was the ill-fated Gen. Duke in 1957. He came to Churchill Downs touted as a potential superstar, but finished second to Federal Hill in the Trial. Then, the morning of the Derby, Gen. Duke was scratched because of a foot injury suffered in the Trial.

In 1967, Barb's Delight became the last Trial horse to have a significant impact on the Derby, finishing second by a length to longshot Proud Clarion. Don't Get Mad finished fourth in the Derby in 2005.

The last horse to win the Saturday before the Derby and then win the roses was Cannonade in 1974. But the race he won was the now-defunct Steppingstone, not the Derby Trial.

In 2011, it will be in its 87th year of running.


Speed record:

  • 1:28.45 - Macho Again (2008) (at distance of 7.5 furlongs)
  • 1:34.40 - Ack Ack (1969) (at distance of one mile)

Most wins by a jockey:

  • 4 - Pat Day (1987, 1991, 1993, 2000)

Most wins by a trainer:

Most wins by an owner:

  • 7 - Calumet Farm (1943, 1947, 1948, 1951, 1952, 1956, 1958)











2010 Hurricane Ike Calvin Borel John W. Sadler Ike & Dawn Thrash 1M 1:36.35 $200,000 III
2009 Hull Miguel Mena Dale L. Romans Heiligbrodt Racing Stable et al. 7.5F 1:30.21 $112,000 III
2008 Macho Again Julien Leparoux Dallas Stewart West Point Thoroughbreds 7.5F 1:28.45 $115,200
2007 Flying First Class Mark Guidry D. Wayne Lukas Ellwood W. Johnston 7.5F 1:29.28 $117,800
2006 Record Rafael Bejarano Bob Baffert Sunset Stables 1M 1:36.32 $114,939
2005 Don't Get Mad Gary Stevens Ronald W. Ellis B. Wayne Hughes 1M 1:36.00 $113,100
2004 Sir Shackleton Rafael Bejarano Nick Zito Tracy Farmer 1M 1:37.61 $110,800 III
2003 Midas Eyes Jerry Bailey Robert J. Frankel Edmund A. Gann 1M 1:36.22 $167,400 III
2002 Sky Terrace Craig Perret Vickie Foley Vickie Foley/T. Thieneman 1M 1:36.87 $112,800 III
2001 Meetyouatthebrig Robby Albarado W. Elliot Walden Mansell Stable & James Stone 1M 1:36.22 $117,000 III
2000 Performing Magic Pat Day Alex Hassinger, Jr. The Thoroughbred Corp. 1M 1:35.99 $114,000 III
1999 Patience Game Corey Nakatani Alex Hassinger, Jr. The Thoroughbred Corp. 1M 1:37.86 $118,626 III
1998 Souvenir Copy David Flores Bob Baffert John & Betty Mabee 1M 1:37.80 $113,300 III
1997 Richter Scale Shane Sellers Patrick B. Byrne Richard Kaster 1M 1:36.00 $116,870 III
1996 Valid Expectations Don Pettinger Steve Asmussen Robert & Leland Ackerley 1M 1:36.81 $128,375 III
1995 Peaks and Valleys Julie Krone James E. Day Pin Oak Stable 1M 1:36.53 $113,100 III
1994 Numerous Chris McCarron Charlie Whittingham not found 1M 1:37.34 $111,600 III
1993 Cherokee Run Pat Day Frank A. Alexander Jill E. Robinson 1M 1:37.40 $93,925 III
1992 Alydeed Craig Perret Roger Attfield Kinghaven Farms 1M 1:36.20 $86,550 III
1991 Alydavid Pat Day Philip M. Hauswald David's Farm 1M 1:36.40 $75,000 III
1990 Housebuster Craig Perret Warren A. Croll, Jr. Robert P. Levy 1M 1:37.60 $75,000 III
1989 Houston Laffit Pincay, Jr. D. Wayne Lukas B. Beal / L.R. French / Lukas 1M 1:36.20 $84,150 III
1988 Jim's Orbit Shane Romero Clarence Picou James Cottrell 1M 1:38.60 $56,850 III
1987 On The Line Pat Day D. Wayne Lukas Eugene V. Klein 1M 1:36.60 $61,425 III
1986 Savings Patrick Johnson Gary Hartlage Diana & Keith Wiseman 1M 1:35.60 $63,647 III
1985 Creme Fraiche Randy Romero Woody Stephens Brushwood Stable 1M 1:37.60 $63,808 III
1984 Devil's Bag Eddie Maple Woody Stephens Hickory Tree Stable 1M 1:35.60 $59,041
1983 Caveat Laffit Pincay, Jr. Woody Stephens August Belmont IV 1M 1:37.80 $60,850
1982 Listcapade Darrell Haire Dewey Smith Dorothy Dorsett Brown 1M 1:36.20 $50,000
1981 What It Is Julio Espinoza Mark E. Casse Norman E. Casse 7F 1:24.60 $31,308
1980 Royal Sporan Don Brumfield Don Jeffries Dan Logan 7F 1:25.60 $26,600
1979 Dreamy Prospect Richard DePass Lyle Whiting Edwin Whittaker 7F 1:24.40 $28,166
1978 Braze and Bold Jim McKnight Lyle Whiting not found 7F 1:25.40 $21,000
1977 Kodiack Rudy L. Turcotte Harvey L. Vanier Louis F. Aitken 7F 1:25.20 $21,400
1976 Justa Bad Boy Bill Gavidia Tony Basile E. A. Dust 1M 1:38.00 $20,000
1975 Round Stake Michael Hole H. Allen Jerkens Hobeau Farm 1M 1:36.40 $21,000
1974 Ga Hai Mike Manganello Gene Cleveland Laguna Seca Ranch 1M 1:38.00 $21,000
1973 Settecento Larry Adams Lefty Nickerson Martin J. Wygod 1M 1:37.00 $13,650
1972 Key to the Mint Braulio Baeza J. Elliott Burch Rokeby Stables 1M 1:36.20 $14,560 N/A
1971 Vegas Vic Howard Grant Randy Sechrest Sechrest & Fritz 1M 1:37.00 $21,400 N/A
1970 Admiral's Shield Jimmy Nichols Harvey L. Vanier William C. Robinson, Jr. 1M 1:37.20 $16,500 N/A
1969 Ack Ack Manuel Ycaza Frank A. Bonsal Cain Hoy Stable 1M 1:34.40 $16,050 N/A
1968 Proper Proof Johnny Sellers Jim Mosbacher Mrs. Montgomery Fisher 1M 1:36.00 $16,350 N/A
1967 Barbs Delight Bill Hartack Hal Steele Huguelet, Jr. et al. 1M 1:35.40 $16,350 N/A
1966 Exhibitionist Eddie Belmonte Hirsch Jacobs Ethel D. Jacobs 1M 1:36.00 $24,154 N/A
1965 Bold Lad Bill Hartack William C. Winfrey Wheatley Stable 1M 1:35.20 $17,062 N/A
1964 Hill Rise Bill Shoemaker William B. Finnegan El Peco Ranch 1M 1:35.20 $16,050 N/A
1963 Bonjour Bill Shoemaker Hirsch Jacobs Patrice Jacobs 1M 1:36.40 $16,200 N/A
1962 Roman Line Jimmy Combest Vester R. Wright T. Alie Grissom 1M 1:37.20 $16,050 N/A
1961 Crozier Braulio Baeza Charles R. Parke Fred W. Hooper 1M 1:34.60 $16,425 N/A
1960 Beau Purple Eric Guerin George M. Odom Jack Dreyfus, Jr. 1M 1:35.60 $16,800 N/A
1959 Open View (1st) Karl Korte Ray Metcalf Elkcam Stable 1M 1:35.60 $15,970 N/A
1959 First Landing (2nd) Eddie Arcaro Casey Hayes Meadow Stable 1M 1:36.20 $15,670 N/A
1958 Tim Tam Ismael Valenzuela Horace A. Jones Calumet Farm 1M 1:39.20 $16,200 N/A
1957 Federal Hill Willie Carstens Milton Rieser Clifford Lussky 1M 1:36.20 $15,900 N/A
1956 Fabius Bill Hartack Horace A. Jones Calumet Farm 1M 1:36.60 $16,700 N/A
1955 Flying Fury Conn McCreary Loyd Gentry, Jr. Cain Hoy Stable 1M 1:38.00 $14,850 N/A
1954 Hasty Road John H. Adams Harry Trotsek Hasty House Farm 1M 1:35.00 $15,350 N/A
1953 Dark Star Henry Moreno Eddie Hayward Cain Hoy Stable 1M 1:36.00 $15,300 N/A
1952 Hill Gail Eddie Arcaro Ben A. Jones Calumet Farm 1M 1:35.40 $13,400 N/A
1951 Fanfare Douglas Dodson Ben A. Jones Calumet Farm 1M 1:36.60 $13,875 N/A
1950 Black George Eric Nelson Raymond Barnett William Veeneman 1M 1:38.00 $10,000 N/A
1949 Olympia Eddie Arcaro Ivan H. Parke Fred W. Hooper 1M 1:37.40 $12,625 N/A
1948 Citation Eddie Arcaro Ben A. Jones Calumet Farm 1M 1:37.40 $10,000 N/A
1947 Faultless Douglas Dodson Ben A. Jones Calumet Farm 1M 1:37.60 $10,000 N/A
1946 Rippey Ferrill Zufelt Edward L. Snyder William G. Helis 1M 1:40.20 $9,775 N/A
1945 Burning Dream Douglas Dodson James W. Smith Edward R. Bradley 1M 1:38.20 $4,570 N/A
1944 Broadcloth Ferrill Zufelt Charles T. Leavitt Mrs. George Poulsen 1M 1:37.20 $4,400 N/A
1943 Ocean Wave Wendell Eads Ben A. Jones Calumet Farm 1M 1:38.20 $2,500 N/A
1942 Valdina Orphan Carroll Bierman Frank Catrone Valdina Farms 1M 1:36.80 $2,500 N/A
1941 Blue Pair Harry Richards Willie Crump Vera S. Bragg 1M 1:36.60 $2,500 N/A
1940 Bimelech Fred A. Smith William J. Hurley Edward R. Bradley 1M 1:38.00 $2,500 N/A
1939 Viscounty Carroll Bierman J. J. Flanigan Valdina Farms 1M 1:38.40 $2,500 N/A
1938 The Chief George Woolf Earl Sande Col. Maxwell Howard 1M 1:35.80 $2,500 N/A
1937 Dellor Basil James John Milton Goode James W. Parrish 1M 1:38.20 $1,500 N/A
1936 He Did Charley Kurtsinger J. Thomas Taylor Mrs. Silas B. Mason 1M 1:37.40 $1,100 N/A
1935 Whiskolo Willie Garner Robert McGarvey Milky Way Farms 1M 1:37.80 $1,100 N/A
1934 Peace Chance Wayne Wright Pete Coyne Joseph E. Widener 1M 1:35.80 $800 N/A
1933 Head Play Herb W. Fisher Willie Crump Mrs. Willie Crump 1M 1:39.40 $800 N/A
1932 Adobe Post Charles Landolt C. E. Gross Knebelkamp & Morris 1M 1:38.80 $1,200 N/A
1931 Boys Howdy Gilbert Riley Loyd Gentry, Sr. Harry C. Hatch 1M 1:38.20 $2,200 N/A
1930 Uncle Luther Robert Creese Robert L. Stivers Luther Stivers 1M 1:41.80 $1,500 N/A
1929 Windy City E. Pool Mose Lowenstein Fred Grabner 1M 1:42.20 $1,500 N/A
1928 no race
1927 Rolled Stocking Willie Pool Charles C. Van Meter James W. Parrish 1M 1:38.60 $1,300 N/A
1926 Rhinock Mack Garner William D. Covington Mrs. George B. Cox 1M 1:39.00 $2,000 N/A
1925 Kentucky Cardinal Mack Garner Mose F. Shapoff G. Frank Croissant 1M 1:38.80 $2,000 N/A
1924 Black Gold Joseph D. Mooney Hanley Webb Rosa L. Hoots 1M 1:37.80 $2,000 N/A



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