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    Yesterday, I took a look at past Derbys and movies that go along with each era. Essentially, I’ve been taking a look at the winners, interesting facts, and assigning a horse racing related movie to every decade and that brings us to today, where we’re up to the 1950’s.


    Movie: Born to the Saddle, is an adventure, suspense, romance film from 1953 centering around a horse trainer who battles with his own personal demons as well as several around him who he feels wronged him.
    Derby Winners: 1951: Count Turf, 1952: Hill Gail, 1953: Dark Star, 1954: Determine, 1955: Swaps, 1956: Needles, 1957: Iron Liege, 1958: Tim Tam, 1959: Tomy Lee, 1960: Venetian Way
    Bill Hartack won two Derby’s in this decade in ’57 and ’60, in addition trainer Jimmy Jones won back to back Derbys in ’57 and ’58.


    Movie: Misty of Chincoteague, this flick from ’61, tells the story of a brother and sister and a beloved horse in a truly sweet horse tale.

    Derby winners: 1961: Carry Back, 1962: Decidedly, 1963: Chateaugay, 1964: Northern Dancer, 1965: Lucky Debonair, 1966: Kauai King, 1967: Proud Clarion, 1968: Forward Pass, 1969: Majestic Prince, 1970: Dust Commander

    Bill Hartack was a three time jockey winner in the ‘60’s, winning in ’62, ’64, and ’69 


    Movie: The Black Stallion, a movie about a horse and the Kentucky Derby The Black Stallion still stands as one of the best horse racing movies of all time.

    Derby winners: 1971: Canonero II, 1972: Riva Ridge, 1973: Secretariat, 1974: Cannonade, 1975: Foolish Pleasure, 1976: Bold Forbes, 1977: Seattle Slew, 1978: Affirmed, 1979: Spectacular Bid, 1980: Genuine Risk

    The 1970’s saw quite possibly the most famous race horse of all time in Triple Crown winner, Secretariat who of course had a movie based on him in 2010. In addition to the horse who’s real name was Big Red, the 70’s saw three other Triple Crown winners in Seattle Slew, Affirmed, and Genuine Risk. Several jockeys were dominate in the 70’s including Jacinto Vasquez who won the Derby in ’80 and ’75. In addition Angel Cordero Jr. won two in ’74 and ’76. Ron Turcotte famously rode Secretariat to victory in ’73, but prior to that he won as well with Riva Ridge in ’72.


    Movie: The Man from Snowy River, this movie from ’82 tells the story of a truly talented rider but also the serious issues that he must go through.

    Derby winners: 1981: Pleasant Colony, 1982: Gato Del Sol, 1983: Sunny’s Halo, 1984: Swale, 1985: Spend A Buck, 1986: Ferdinand, 1987: Alysheba, 1988: Winning Colors, 1989: Sunday Silence, 1990: Unbridled

    The 80’s did see one Triple crown winner in ‘88’s Winning Colors, and a back to back Jockey winner in Eddie Delahoussaye.


    Movie: Black Beauty, this updating from ’94 of the classic story stands as a remembrance of one of the most recognizable horse stories of all time.

    Derby winners: 1991: Strike the Gold, 1992: Lil E. Tee, 1993: Sea Hero, 1994: Go for Gin, 1995: Thunder Gulch, 1996: Grindstone, 1997: Silver Charm, 1998: Real Quiet, 1999: Charismatic, 2000: Fusaichi Pegasus

    Notably in the 90’s Kent Desormeaux won two Derbys as did Chris Antley. In addition local perennial favorite Pat Day got his Derby victory in 1992 on Lil E. Tee.


    Movie: Seabiscuit, this modern classic tales the story of legendary horse, Seabiscuit, a story that works as an underhorse tale.

    Derby winners: 2001: Monarchos, 2002: War Emblem, 2003: Funny Cide, 2004: Smarty Jones, 2005: Giacomo, 2006: Barbaro, 2007: Street Sense, 2008: Big Brown, 2009: Mine That Bird, 2010: Super Saver
    Calvin Borel really stamped out his legacy in this decade winning three Derbys in ’07, ’09, and ’10.


    Movie: And They’re Off, this mockumentary goes into the business of horse racing through a hapless owner who desperately wanted to get to the Kentucky Derby. Unfortunately, odds are against him in this comedy from 2011.

    Derby winners: 2011: Animal Kingdom, 2012: I’ll Have Another

    It’s too early in this decade to see any major patterns are return winners, and we haven’t had a triple crown winner—yet.

    Image courtesy of IMP Awards

    Dave Rose's picture

    About Dave Rose

    Recently, I completed a Masters degree in Education and have been writing for for over a year now, prior to that I published a humor book for young adults titled Wearing Socks with Sandals, a book about getting through high school, college, and all of the requisite problems that present themselves during that time. Currently, I spend much of my time in classroom settings as well as writing in various areas. Of course, I’m a big sports fan and love music and film, and love finding new stuff around Louisville.

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