RUN FOR THE ROSES: DERBY DILEMMAS w/BONUS FOOTAGE
One famous example was the 1933 Kentucky Derby held during the Great Depression and prohibition - the race would become known as, "The fighting finish". Jockey Herb Fisher aboard HEAD PLAY and Don Meade riding BROKER'S TIP engaged in a tug-of-war during the final 16th of the race and both riders admitted to striking the other during the torrid stretch drive. BROKER'S TIP would survive a foul claim and be awarded the victory.
In 1943, the Derby barely missed becoming a casualty of WW II; as the war raged on, citizens were told to refrain from any unnecessary traveling to keep railways and roads clear for military use. Then a blow to racing fans came when the Office of the Defense asked that the Kentucky Derby be cancelled - Colonel Matt Winn, long-time Churchill Down President, began lobbying on the Derby's be-half...Winn pledged to run the Derby even if only two horses ran and only a half dozen fans showed up. He ultimately reached a compromise with the government and the 1943 Derby became known as, "The Streetcar Derby", because the attendance was comprised exclusively of Louisville residents - over 65,000 attended to watch COUNT FLEET thunder home!
Two years later the U.S. government banned all horse racing but the ban lasted only four months and for the only time in its long history, the Kentucky Derby was raced in June - watch HOOP JR. deliver the goods in 1945.
In 1957 BILL SHOEMAKER cost his horse, GALLANT MAN, the Derby trophy when he misjudged the 16th-pole as the finish line and stood up...IRON LEIGE crept past and won by a nose! The same mishap occurred to rider, SANDY HAWLEY with PARTEZ in the 1981 Derby!
Even a fire in the Churchill Downs grandstand didn't stop the delayed running of the 1965 Derby as LUCKY DEBONAIR
drove it on home. Strict security measures were in place for the 1967 Derby as civil rights protests threatened to disrupt the race. All-in-all it was a day without any major incidents that would in any way deter from the running of the Derby and everyone felt a sigh of relief when long-shot PROUD CLARION hit the wire.
Dating back to the first running in 1875, no Kentucky Derby winner has been disqualifid for interference during the race but one Derby winner was disqualified for other reasons. In 1968 the two Derby favorites were Calumet Farm's FORWARD PASS and Maryland-bred DANCER'S IMAGE owned by brass Bostonian, Peter Fuller. DANCER'S IMAGE scored a clear Kentucky Derby victory over FORWARD PASS and at 7-2 betting odds the outcome was hardly shocking. Three days later Churchill Downs stewards announced that DANCER'S IMAGE was disqualified and FORWARD PASS declared the official winner after post race urine results revealed the presence of an analgesic that at the time was prohibited on race day. What followed were four years of legal battles with Peter Fuller fighting the disqualification. Ultimately, the Supreme Court upheld the decision and FORWARD PASS remains the victor on the Kentucky Derby record books.
To be sure, the Kentucky Derby has had its dilemmas...but even these have only added to the color, the history, and the tradition of America's greatest race...the Kentucky Derby!
AS AN ADDED BONUS... HRTV reports the death of Peter Fuller on May 15, 2012, at age 89 and discusses some of the highlights of his career as a Thoroughbred owner and breeder (DANCER's IMAGE and of MOM'S COMMAND).
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|Category:||U.S. & Canadian Flat Racing|