The Kentucky Derby's First 50 Years

Northern Dancer ridden by Bill Hartack (right) hits the finish wire a neck ahead of Hill Rise ridden by Willie Shoemaker here, May 2, 1964, winning the Kentucky Derby. Hill Rise, with both front feet off the ground, was the Derby favorite. Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

Although horse racing in general has been around much longer than the Kentucky Derby, including in the United States, the Derby itself has become the nation's most famous and prestigious horse racing event.

If you'd like to see a clip of the Eddie Izzard bit about Lafayette that Holly mentioned during Listener Mail, you can find it here (heads up his language isn't as clean as our show):

Tracy's Research:

  • Library of Congress. Local Legacies. "Churchill Downs."
  • Jockey Club Racecourse/Epsom Downs. "The Early Years."
  • Jockey Club Racecourse/Epsom Downs. "The Beginning."
  • All Things Considered. " The Forgotten History Of African-American Jockeys" 5/7/2016.
  • Klein, Christopher. "The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Black Jockeys." 5/3/2013.
  • Churchill Downs Incorporated. "Kentucky Derby History."
  • Churchill Downs Incorporated. "Garland of Roses."
  • Drager, Marvin and Jamie Nicholson. "Kentucky Derby." Encyclopedia Britannica. 5/9/2016.
  • Winkler, Lisa K. " The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys." 4/32/2009.
  • Nicholson, James C. "The Kentucky Derby: How the Run for the Roses Became America's Premier Sporting Event." University Press of Kentucky. 2012.

Topics in this Podcast: 19th century, show notes, U.S. history, Sports, racism, entertainment history, 20th century, Kentucky Derby, sports history