The Kentucky Derby Winners of The 1980s
In the 1980s, two fillies capture the Run for the Roses, the second Canadian-bred ever to win makes his run, and the son of a Triple Crown winner hits the wire first!
1989 – Featuring two of the most talented racehorses of the decade, Sunday Silence bested the favored Easy Goer in the Kentucky Derby and again two weeks later as the pair ran 1-2 in in the first two legs of the Triple Crown. Easy Goer, however, wouldn’t be denied on his home track, romping home in the Belmont.
Jockey – Patrick Valenzuela Trainer – Charlie Whittingham Owner – H-G-W Partners
1988 - Winning Colors, a strapping filly from the West Coast, shipped into Churchill Downs and made every pole a winning one to defeat a quality field and become just the third filly to win the illustrious race. She returned to run third in the Preakness and off the board in the Belmont.
Jockey – Gary Stevens Trainer – D. Wayne Lukas - Owner – Eugene V. Klein
1987 – A son of the great Alydar, Alysheba vindicated his father’s runner-up finishes to Affirmed in 1978 with consecutive wins in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Alydar finished fourth in the Belmont Stakes.
Jockey – Chris McCarron Trainer – Jack Van Berg Owner – D & P Scharbauer
1986 – Despite entering the Derby off a pair of losses in California and drawing the notably difficult post 1, Ferdinand thrived at the ten furlong distance, earning the victory for his Hall of Fame trainer. The colt finished second and third in the next two legs of the Triple Crown.
Jockey – Bill Shoemaker Trainer – Charles Whittingham Owner – Elizabeth A. Keck
1985 – The wickedly fast Spend A Buck blazed his way to a Kentucky Derby win, posting the fourth fastest time in the race’s history at 2:00 1/5. Famously, Spend a Buck’s connections opted to skip the Preakness and Belmont to pursue a large bonus being offered at Garden State Park.
Jockey – Angel Cordero Trainer – Cam Gambolati Owner – Hunter Farm
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1984 – Swale was a son of the great Seattle Slew, but for much of the prep races leading to the Derby, played second fiddle to his own stablemate Devil’s Bag. When an injury sidelined that runner, Swale proved his own worthiness, winning the Derby in style before finishing seventh in the Preakness and winning the Belmont.
Jockey – Laffitt Pincay Trainer – Woody Stephens Owner – Claiborne Farm
1983 – Jockey Eddie Delahoussaye won his second consecutive Kentucky Derby as his Canadian-bred mount Sunny’s Halo defeated a strong field. A nagging ankle injury resulted in the colt’s sixth-place Preakness finish and forced him to skip the Belmont.
Jockey – Eddie Delahoussaye Trainer – David C. Cross Jr. Owner – D. J. Foster Stable
1982 – At 21/1 Gato Del Sol looked like the bettors had gotten it right as he trailed his 18 rivals early, but unleashed a steady closing bid beginning at the 1/2-mile pole to win by two and a half lengths at the wire.
Jockey – Eddie Delahoussaye Trainer – Edwin Gregson Owner – Arthur B. Hancock III & Leone J. Peters
1981 – The well-regarded Pleasant Colony delivered a solid performance, holding off a late charge from Woodchopper to win by three quarters of a length. Pleasant Colony returned to win the Preakness and finish third in the Belmont Stakes.
Jockey – Jorge Velazquez Trainer – John C. Campo Owner – Buckland Farm
1980 – The second of just three fillies to ever win the Kentucky Derby, Genuine Risk is also the only filly to finish in the money in all three Triple Crown races, finishing second in the Preakness and third in the Belmont. Winning Colors is the only other filly to run in all three Triple Crown events.
Jockey – Jacinto Vasquez Trainer – LeRoy Jolley Owner – Diana M. Firestone
1988 Kentucky Derby - Winning Colors