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The Kentucky Derby's First 50 Years

2017-05-03 | 🔗

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.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Here's the thing: saving money with Geico was almost better than playing pick up basketball. Is always that guy who joined your game He never passes the rock he instantly bricks theories and who can We have you and then put his hands up and say no foul, no foul, with Geico its ease. The switch and save on car insurance? No, need a fake, an ankle sprain because you're absolutely exhausted. So which in save with back it's almost
better than sports continue step. You missed in history from has stuck her alone and welcome to the mind, have traced emails and about how we frying, really one of the projects have been working on for Ipod Captive a huge this day in history. Calendar of all of our past shows in an unexpected side. Effect of this is that I keep adding people and events to the my short list of things that talk about. As I stumble upon things that happened not a particular day. One of those tippets is that I'm May third, nineteen, fifty two that was the first time the Kentucky Derby was nationally televised. That piece of knowledge that me down a Kentucky Derby, Rabbit Hall and
that, has brought us today. That said, although horse racing in general has been around much longer than the Kentucky Derby has, including in the United States, the derby itself has become. nations, most famous and prestigious horse race event and sort of like super bowl Sunday in some circles, the first Saturday and may have become a huge production, even among people who don't normally pay attention the horse racing at all for the rest of the year. More than a hundred and sixty thousand people watched the derby in person at turtle down than twenty. Sixteen with more than fifteen million watching it on the tv our pastors there in Dublin Attack just a little bit about the overall Kentucky Derby history and their twenty eleven episode on Jockey Jimmy Wingfield, since they were gonna talk about that and a lot more detail and the Saturday after this podcast comes out. The Kentucky Derby is going to be run for the hundred and forty third time. That is way too history for thirty minutes, what we really, who really good
focus on is the races first, fifty years, which really established the things that have become the cultural hallmarks about today. Horse racing, of course, is one of mankind's oldest sports. It's been around for so long that we actually can't conclusively pinpoint its origins, but races and races of mounted writers were both part of the Olympic Games. In ancient Greece, in your Asia and Northern Africa cultures that event the horses and horsemanship have all had their own horse racing traditions going back. Thousands of years in the Americas horses became excited somewhere between eight thousand and twelve thousand years ago. But when Europeans Redruth, horses in the fifteenth century. Indigenous peoples, particularly in the planes, develop their own racing traditions. The existence of
Racing has also led to the development of racing specific breeds of horses. One of those breeds of a thorough bread which originated in England thoroughbreds can be traced back to three stallions known as the foundation iris. These were imported into England in the seventeenth century and are known as the Darley Arabian, bigger dolphin Arabian and the Byerly Turk, once the thoroughbred breed stagnation, races specifically for thoroughbreds, followed. Traditionally Adobe is a race for three year old thoroughbreds, open to both colts and fillies, whether gelded horses are eligible, can actually very the first derby was deemed for its host. The twelve Earl of Darby and was run at Epsom in Surrey, England, in seventeen eighty, the Epsom.
Folks open only to fillies actually started the year prior and it was named for the Earls Nearby estates. As I know, we do know that the race is Pronounced Darby in Britain. We are not in Britain, it is pronounced derby here, but now I will think of the Kentucky Derby, as the Kentucky Darby at it will crack me up every time conveniently yeah So because, in this connection to the aristocracy and all of the expense involved with owning and caring for a racehorse and often lavish celebrations that run alongside proceedeth horse racing, racing, horses has become known as the sport of kings, although according to Oxford dictionary, hunting, surfing and warfare are all also the sport of kings. I suspect there some biased depending on which for EU, participate in yet
by the end of the seventeen hundreds, the race at Epsom definitely was not just for kings, though it had become a sprawling social event, known as the Londoners day out, which attracted both the aristocracy and the working class. Tens of thousands of people attended every year, some of them ditching work to do so, although there, itself, was a prestigious sporting event. Many of the attack, These were more interested in gambling and carousing than in the race itself. The gambling was just on the outcome of the race tents popped up all along the downs were peacefully wagers on cards and dice. It was his experience at Epsom that inspire hired, Merriweather, Louis Clark, Junior to start a similar race in the United States. Clark was the grandson of William Clark who explored North Amerika and the core of discovery with Merriweather Louis Clark, who was
on twenty six and newly married traveled around Europe, with his wife in eighteen. Seventy, two in eighteen, seventy three on this trip. He went to the at this point incredibly well established races at absent. and elsewhere and he made friends with members of jockey clubs all around England and France. So in cork, back to the United States, he said work trying to found a derby near his family, home in Louisville Kentucky horse racing was already an established pastime in the United States in general and in Kentucky specifically in Louisville Horse racing industry had started with races down market street, at least as far back as seventeen. Eighty nine, as Worse racism, city streets became a problem. Tracks were built to accommodate those races, commercial was breathing, was already part of the Louisville area in Kentucky as a whole, although the track that had been hosting the thoroughbred races had closed down in the years prior to Clarks Trip abroad, First Clark needed a place to start a track, and he got this from his
does John Henry Churchill, who least him the land that would later become known as Churchill Downs, but the land by It was not enough. He also needed enough money to fund the construction of an actual racetrack, a grand stand and the like- and this came from selling subscription memberships, three hundred and twenty of them for the price of a hundred dollars each. This was enough to let him build six stables, the clubhouse, the grand stand and the porters Lodge All. This became home to the Louisville jockey Club and driving park, which held its first Kentucky Derby on May 17th, one thousand eight hundred and seventy five, with four races being run that day, three continue to be an annual tradition. The Kentucky Derby the first Saturday in May. The Kentucky Oaks run the day before and the Clark Handicap run in November or December, and that First Kentucky Derby, fifteen three year old, thoroughbreds thirteen coats and two fillies ran a mile and a half hour, roughly two point four kilometres in front.
Crowd of about ten thousand people. People of means were in the club house of the grand stand and the recent led. The racetracks infield was open to any one who wanted to come for free that very first Ray set a lot of the standards that the Kentucky Derby is still known for today and we're gonna talk about. Those after refers pause for a low sponsor break. Jackie. So you having found a little Patrick's work, they hardly yeah two year old son age. I'm really sorry I had to go, though unleashing a car, so I gotta go to all those dealerships. You should get the roadway roto. It lets you LISA Car, where, from your phone, oh wow, that's really cool You know I still have to go in to negotiate rates and keep track of those taxes. And these sorry, but no you don't roto, does all that, for you, too, they applied discounts calculate all the fees. The taxes the praises re here clears the shoe that is pretty cool. They even deliver the Cartier House. It's amazing. They delay
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Currently we expect our grandchildren a hundred years, hence to celebrate inglorious rejoicings. So they get points for accuracy of prediction. that was right. The infield had a lot of the same day out atmosphere. Clerk had seen it Epsom in it I did in a ray of locals from various walks of life, but in the I am standing, clubhouse Meriwether Louis Clark, Junior, wanted the event to be classy and prestigious affair. So, full morning, is required and the Ladys were encouraged to a ten, although they were barred from the bedding shed. It was an unsuitable place for them. That means that the hats that have become be tradition where they are from the very beginning for the sake of propriety fashion and the very practical protection from the sun. Although would be a while before Kentucky Derby. Hats took the more extravagant turn that they have the day that came along with the loosening of social expectations in the nineteen sixties, and then I got a further boost with it,
when he eleven royal wedding seems to have set off some hat one upping of trying to have more, streams and unique hat than the one that the royal wedding clerks effort to collapse of the Blue, applied on the race track as well sportive so no racetracks often had seedy reputations and connections to sometimes dishonest gamblers. on the other hand, was scrupulously attentive to the rules and he had no tolerance at all for cheating, dishonesty, poor, sportsmanship or gamblers attempts to rig the race. He would not abide anything that seem shabby or underhanded, and there were people who personally didn't like him. He was known to have a temper and some people found him. Arrogant and ostentatious, but even people who didn't get along with him would vouch for his unfailing integrity when it came to the race. Within a decade the Kentucky Derby had built a solid reputation as both a race and a social event
earning praise in the New York Times and attracting huge crowds of spectators who weren't necessarily interested and racing in their everyday lives would still have that divide. Of every man experience and in field and an upper class alone in the grand stand, and especially the clubhouse. But after us start, though, the derby success started to wait a bit in the late eighteen, eighties, angry dispute over bedding led some of the industry's most prominent owners to take their horses elsewhere, while also imaging the races, reputation, reform movements were trained, stop to racing gambling am drinking and the Kentucky there he was also competing with newly launched Teresa elsewhere in the United States, including the American Derby in Chicago by the middle of eighteen. Ninety, if the Kentucky Derby was really struggling, other races were offering bigger purses and that made it hard to attract the best horses and the most prominent owners. The lack of interest trickled down to the race course falling into some disrepair. The
We did manage to keep going as a social event, especially among locals, but as a race it just wasn't breaking even or being the level of prestige that Clark really wanted in c mon before the Louisville jockey Club, which was by then deeply in that was sold to new owners while the prior owners had been focused on putting on a good race for its own sake, the new owner were mainly businessmen and bookies, and their focus was to make sure that the race made money, they were able to pay off all of the clubs, creditors, except for women, Meriwether Louis Clark, Junior, who they convinced to stay on board, the races, presiding judge, and this was a strategic pr move. Horse racing, and especially gambling were under increasing social scrutiny, so they were banking on Clark, stand up reputation to help fend off some of the critics. It was this new ownership that fight,
the building of a new grand stand with its distinctive twin spires, which was completed in eighteen. Ninety five. This was larger that once again had separate seeding for Ladys to maintain some distance between them and the betting stand and it faced a different direction from the previous structure, so that people want The race didn't also have the afternoon sun shining in their eyes nice. Nobody wants to stare into a glitter I really doubt Snoop radiated responding to complaints from the horses owners and trainers than derby management, also built new stables and in eighteen, ninety six shortened the races length by a quarter of a mile that was also the first year that the winning horse Ben Brush was draped in a garland of roses, although they were pink and white rather than the red that is normally.
Today, the Red rose, garland tradition started in nineteen thirty two with Winner Burger King, in spite of or perhaps because of their extensive connections to gambling and bookmaking. They can can be really started to turn around financially under this new ownership. But it eighteen. Ninety nine Clark who had been diagnosed with what was called then melancholia died by suicide. Apart from the personal tragedy, this meant that the Kentucky Derby LAW, its founder, its chief promoter and its most tireless advocate. He was also the person who had set the stage for it to become such a social and sporting spectacle. three years later, in nineteen o to the and once again changed hands this time moving away from bookies and back to people who were prominent parts of Lou of Ill society. This included the mayor, Charles Granger, and Martin J Matt Win, who was better known colonel win and it was win who took
the mantle of the Derbyshire public face and the person who really shape the standard for the derby, reputation and tone he to be clear was not a military, colonel, apparently a tradition in Kentucky of giving people colonel is kind of an honorary title butler. Prior we prior upgrades to the grand stand. Hadn't touched the original clubhouse, which had previously been the place for the dervish most exclusive and affluent speck, haters to gather in social I've. Really the new grandstand had made that old, clubhouse basically inaccessible, because the gambling focused ownership was a lot more into making it easier to gamble than to provide a luxurious vantage point for the most rich patrons. When Granger and the rest of the third generation of derby owners reversed that position. There when a new clubhouse in nineteen o three and today the clubhouses really a whole complex of buildings includes including the exclusive millionaires row,
and win, who had a larger than life personality, poured himself into refining the Kentucky Derby image it was in some ways pattern after his own together, win and the derby spun out a narrative that the place in the event were deeply and innately southern and specifically Kentucky him and rich with both culture and bourbon. threw back to a romanticize ideal of the old South as a genteel place, where people of refinement and taste looked out from their verandas over green lawns and rolling hills, sipping Machu lips, It was by them a traditional derby drink made with Kentucky Bourbon whisky. At the same time, this refinement of the dervish public image was also shifting the rest of the nation's perception of the Commonwealth of Kentucky as a whole. In many parts of the nation Kentucky have long had a reputation as being mostly a very lawless, violet and unrefined place. Full of hillbillies, particularly
it's more mountainous portions, this romantic aura of the Kentucky Derby started to shift that stereotypes and make it also a place that could be home to it. Stages fashionable annual about that can cater to the rich and famous and the working class alike it from his own personal influence on the derby. Colonel win also made a series of astute decisions that helped bring the derby more prestige and good press. He convinced healthy and prominent owners to enter their horses, and one of these The Philly named regret, who became the first Philly to win the derby in nineteen fifteen, which attracted a here the amount of press. When Also one of the first proponents of conceiving of the derby and two other races, the Preakness in the Belmont, as a set of races, which are known today as the triple crown the first horse to win. All three of these races was Sir Barton and nineteen nineteen. Although the term triple crown wasn't officially coin
till nineteen, thirty by the nineteen thirties, all the things people most readily associated with the Kentucky Derby, the hats, the roses, the Jew lips, the atmosphere or solidly of the annual event is not clear. the eighteen, fifty three Stephen Foster Song Mild Kentucky Home, became derby stable, but it was definitely in use by nineteen twenty one and this again run for the roses was coined by sports Calmness Bill Coreham in nineteen twenty five. The same year, the derby was broadcast on network radio for the first time. by the thirties. You could buy a souvenir glass for your MID July up an innovation in part in the hope that people would stop stealing the drink where, at the same time, the Kentucky Barbie looks very much different today than it did in its first fifty years and we're going to talk about how, after another quick, sponsor break
here's the thing: saving money with Geico was almost better than playing pick up. Basketball there's always that guy who joined your game, He never passes the rock he instantly bricks theories and who can We have you and then put his hands up and say no foul, no foul, with Geico its ease. The switch and save on car insurance, known The vacant fake, an ankle sprain because you're absolutely exhausted. So which in save Geiger it's almost better than sports at various points during its history, which really add up to. Basically, all of its history. The Kentucky Derby has been criticised for a whole range of issues in addition to the key pains to end gambling and drinking and racing that we already discussed in more recent years. The derby has faced allegations of animal abuses both during tray
and in the race itself. This has been especially true after accidents and areas have happened during or after the race in two thousand and eight, for example, Philly eight bells collapsed after the race having broken both of her front ankles and she had to be euthanize. Although women were specifically invited to attend the Kentucky Derby from the very beginning, with separate seeding away from the bedding falling out a favour in the years after well one the derby as in a lot of ways, always been a man's world. Diane Crump was the first woman to ride in the derby in nineteen seven and she's one of only six women jockeys in the Kentucky Derby. As of twenty, sixteen women have been involved other roles of the Kentucky Derby, further back in history and nineteen o five. I've Ellwood took the prize and was the first Kentucky Derby, winner owned by a woman, Laskin Tournelle Ellwood was also,
First Derby, winter, bread by a woman who is cited everywhere. As MRS J B proper, I dont know what her actual first name is, but As of twenty. Sixteen no woman, trainer or jockey had ever won the Kentucky. Derby and men outnumber women by far and all of these roles, so too of Ellwood, took the prize and was the first Kentucky Derby, winner, owned by a woman, Laskin Tournelle Ellwood was also the first derby winter bread by Owen, who is cited everywhere, as wasn't the case when the derby started, although Meriwether Louis Clerk, Junior and his associates and investors were white, the majority of the jockeys and trainers were not in team. Seventy five thirteen out of the dubious fifteen jockeys and that first race were black as where many of the trainers when the Kentucky Derby
and the people who had the most experienced caring for and training horses, particularly in the south, were black and since the first derby took place only about a decade after the civil war and the ratification of the thirteenth amendment abolishing slave and Kentucky had been a slave state. Many of the men who had trained and cared for and road and the first Kentucky Derby were either previously enslaved or where the children of people who had been enslaved in that, for Eighteen, seventy five Kentucky Derby, the winning horse, was aristides, who set a record for speed in three year old horses, aristotle- No answer Williamson and his jockey nineteen year old, Oliver Louis, were both black Williams was in slaves from birth and sold from one owner to another until being emancipated following the civil war between not first derby and nineteen, few when Jimmy Wingfield rode out a deal to the wind, which was Wingfield. Second consecutive win, fifteen of the twenty.
Winning horses were written by black jockeys and theirs. years between Oliver Louis and Jimmy Wingfield, other black jockeys rose to prominence at the derby and eventually became the areas version of the sports superstar Isaac. Burns Murphy was the first jockey to win the derby three times which he did in eighteen. Eighty, four, eighty, ninety in eighteen, ninety one he became a colossal early, well respected jockey. Winning Eighty four percent of the races he rode in, which is a record no other jockey, has taught the civil war. Reconstruction officially ended in eighteen. Seventy six, the year after the first Kentucky Derby, races, Jim Crow laws. Enforcing segregation soon followed one. Ninety, six, the? U S Supreme Court ruled in plenty versus Ferguson that the segregation legal as long as the separate facilities were equal and by that point, a lot
Other sports had already implemented their own systems of segregation. However, it was not possible to quickly segregate the sport of horse racing when so much of the knowledge of how to care for a horse and ride it to a win. Rest with black people. As long as training and riding a horse had been regarded as labour and not as a job that could turn some went into a celebrity. It hadn't mattered as much to the white racing community to do anything about it, but when black jockeys started to become famous for their work and respected for it success became a threat for a while. The mythology of the Kentucky Derby maintained that the shift to primarily white trainers and jockeys had been a quote natural one that all jockeys and trainers had moved north during the great migration which began in the nineteen teens or, black men had lost their taste of agricultural work and had gone to work in factories instead. But this was absolutely untrue.
The late eighteen eighties and early eighteen nineties, the white racing community, was making a dedicated and deliberate effort to force black jockeys and trainers out of the industry. Black jockeys started experiencing harassment both on and off the track with white jockeys, forcing them into the rails during the race or actually striking them with their horsewhipped. This last one was not only physically painful but was also humiliating, because hearken back to whips being used to punish slaves by the turn of the twentieth century. Black jockeys we're having trouble finding contracts to ride horses and black minors were finding themselves out of work with owner seeking out white, jockeys and trainers. The tracks played their part as well, with many explicitly baling black jockeys by nineteen o four.
so it was under intentional systemic racism that black jockeys were forced out of the Kentucky Derby and of the racing industry. In general, there were no black Jackie's at all in the Kentucky Derby, between nineteen twenty one and two thousand that year, Marlon Saint Julian Road and placed seventh it would be more than another decade after he wrote that the derby would see another black Jackie and that was Kevin Trigger front who was originally from Saint Croy, who rode golden sense and the twenty thirteen derby. All of this, of course, complicate Kentucky Derby romanticized presentation of life in the south. It's a lot of
same troops that are used to romanticize plantations and anti Bellum life, which, while it looks very romantic on the surface when you really taking andor at its very problematic, yet that that not even the term plantation comes with this aura of, like beautiful magnolia trees and sipping sweet tea on year, yet on the front porch. But it was effectively a slave labour camp which does not have that romanticized idea, though there are definitely parallels between the over all narrative, that tries to like shift the perception of what slave states in the south were alike and the perception of what the Kentucky Derby is was white and why there was such a shift in the demographics of who was training,
in writing and taking care of the horses. What you got the listener mail bag. I have something completely different. It is about Lafayettes Tour, the United States that came up in our recent past about Walt Whitman. It is from Mallory and Mallory, says hello. There tracing holly. Firstly, thank you so much for providing such an informative and fund, cast. It is of great assistance on my commute home and during my chores, etc. I love the variety of topics and fresh perspective. You provide, while doing the dishes this morning and listening to your recent episode on what we and I grew rather excited when you mention young women's involvement with the american tour of the Marquis De Lafayette, because of a historical and literary coincidence, forgive
if you already know this or have indeed already mentioned it on a previous podcast that I miss. But I wanted to get in touch about another american writers. Involvement with this tour EDGAR Allan POE as a young teen, was a member of the rich men junior volunteers, which accompany Lafayette during phases of his eighteen. Twenty four tour in Richmond Virginia my sources, a book called Richmond the story of a city by Virginias, Daphne, yes, this book about Richmond history is indeed written by eight Virginias aren't copy from used. Bookstore is signed and dedicated with the most cordial good wishes, which I find delightful. However, I believe this fact about the tour is common knowledge among PO historians and enthusiasts anyway. I thought was very interesting that both women and PO were present in person to see Lafayette, honest tour, although in separate cities, not sure what influence Lafayette on PO as opposed to the legendary way it seemed to strike young women, but I still thought it fascinating. Thanks for all, you do best regards Mallory. Thank you. So much Mallory
did not know that may even Holly, where you about how we have definitely not ever mention that, on the show it's possible that prior host have cause. I know there are some things poems archive but yeah, I had no idea that that whole tour that Lafayette went on is really. fascinating, there's part of me, the like would like to do it what about it? There is a part of me that if we are going to do Another episode that has something to do with Hamilton. Is it not another episode about a dude, because that, so far in terms of the episodes we have done, the Hamilton episodes have all but about duty for the most part. So it might be nice talk about something Ladys who were connected to Hamilton, is what I'm saying I feel like Eddie is our mentioned. Lafayettes tour in one of his shows yeah yeah. It would not surprise me now he's big on him
Three about immediately called to mind, because I remember him calling out to the audience. This was, of course, before Hamilton became a big thing in I'm going. You, I know who Lafayette is just getting like. Sort of Blake still hurts. There's like you'd history, don't you and in fact most people did not so. There are so there is a library here that is called the Boston at name that I love to go to, and they have some really all books in their collection that are the chronicles of this tour. It's all super interesting, so, anyway, Lafayette
I just want to say is: maybe an if you'd like to write to us about this or any other pack asked what history pike ass. The house tat works, dot com, but also in Facebook at Facebook that calm, Slash, Miss than history and aunt widder at Miss than history are tumblr, is missing: history, dot, tumblr dot com or also on Pinterest pensions, dotcom lashless in history. Mr history is also where we are on Instagram. You can come to our parent companies website, which is house networks, dot com you can find out anti stuff about horses and races come to our website, which is missing, history, dot com, where you will find showdown civil. I'm so tired. I have done together an archive of every single Epsom ever some videos that we made after chip around the Boston area. Last year. You can do all that
pull up more accustomed works done, Bournemouth administrator more on this and thousands of other topics, because it has to work stock. You guys. The impeachment is happening. The president will be on trial, presided over by the chief just at the Supreme Court, and that's Britain Wild keep up with it all the impeachment today, a daily podcast featuring me, haste, brown, worldly, reporter and editor adversity news each morning, we'll talk to experts and other importers. To recap the most important news from trumps impeachment in a way they won't. Let you dead inside, find in peace today, on the I heard, radio, apple, podcast or wherever you get your pockets