Past Kentucky Derby Winners: List of Previous Champions

The 2022 Kentucky Derby is schedule for Saturday, May 7th.  The pandemic is slowly getting put behind us and things are getting back to normal.  This is the first leg of the Triple Crown and known as the Run for the Roses.

I’m going to take a look at the last several Kentucky Derby winners and give a brief story on each.  I have also made a list of the all-time Derby winners at the bottom of this article dating back to 1875.

Recent Winning Horses and Their Odds to Win the Kentucky Derby

2021: Mandaloun (12/1)

The 2021 Kentucky Derby will unfortunately be most remember for the controversy surrounding would-be winning horse Medina Spirit and legendary trainer Bob Baffert.  Medina Spirit finished in first place, but was later disqualified for the use of betamethoasone.  While the drug is allowed between races, it requires a 14-day withdrawal time to work through the horse’s system, and 21 pg/mL was found in post-race testing. There is debate whether that amount of the drug would have any actual impact on the results of the race, however, based on the rules in place, Medina Spirit was disqualified and second-place finisher Mandaloun is now enshrined as a Kentucky Derby winner.  Baffert was given a two year suspension from all Churchill Downs races, including the Kentucky Derby.

2020: Authentic (8/1)

Authentic was the second-ranked Horst on the 2020 Road to the Kentucky Derby.  He was behind Tiz the Law, which went off in the Kentucky Derby as the 3/5 favorite.  Because of the questions surrounding his stamina, Authentic was the third betting choice despite his strong speed numbers going into the race.

Due to some late scratches because of injury, Authentic was supposed to able to get an uncontested early lead that would have allowed him to save energy.  He drew the outside post 18, which made the start very important.  But Authentic got off to a slow start and Tiz the Law got the perfect trip in a stalking position.

Jockey John R. Velazquez knew he needed the lead so he urged Authentic into a four-wide position around the first turn and leading the first quarter at 22.92 seconds.  Velazquez slows things down a bit and ran the half in 46.41 and the three-quarters in 1:10.23.

Tiz the Law made his move on the far turn and the two horses were head to head into the top of the stretch.  Just as it looked like Tiz the Law was going to pass him, Authentic found a second wind and pulled a way for a 1 1/4-length victory while finishing in 2:20.61, which was the seventh-fastest time in Kentucky Derby history.

2019: Country House (30/1)

Country House won the 2019 Kentucky Derby in one of the most controversial decisions in the history of the event. As the race finished on a sloppy track, Country House finished second to Maximum Security, however, after a lengthy review, Maximum Security was disqualified for interference, and Country House was officially named the winner of the race. This was the first time in the history of the Kentucky Derby that the apparent winner was removed by disqualification.

Unfortunately for Country House and his team, this Kentucky Derby will likely always be remembered for Maximum Security’s disqualification. The interference did not seem to impact Country House at all, but did alter the course of several other horses, which likely did have an impact on the final results. Disqualifications like this are somewhat common in horse racing in general, but we typically do not see them in Triple Crown events. Most experts agree it was the proper decision given the infraction.

At 30/1 odds on the morning of the Derby, Country House is the biggest underdog to claim victory since Mine That Bird in 2009. His opening odds were set at 65-to-1, the second longest odds of all-time (Donerail, 1913).

2018: Justify (3/1)

Justify was the odds-on favorite the morning of the race, as well as at post time.  He ran from the front on the sloppy track and finished 2 1/2 lengths ahead of second place finisher Good Magic.

Justify was also the first horse since 1882 to win the Kentucky Derby without racing as a two-year-old.  The win broke the so-called “Curse of Apollo”, named after the last horse to win under those circumstances.

This victory also gave legendary trainer Bob Baffert his 5th Derby winner.

2017: Always Dreaming (9/2)

Always Dreaming was one of the favorites heading into the big race, but was not technically the odds-on favorite (Classic Empire was), so he finally broke the run of favorites taking home the Derby crown.

2016: Nyquist (5/2)

Nyquist made it four straight favorites to win the Derby.  This horse was in it from the beginning and held off a late charge by Exaggerator, who started back in 15th place but closed fast at the end.  Nyquist was the eighth undefeated winner in Derby history, the first since Big Brown back in 2008.

2015: American Pharoah (3/1)

Yet another favorite taking first in the race.  In fact, this horse carried it’s way through the Preakness and Belmont as well to win the Triple Crown.  Not only that, but he brought home the Breeders’ Cup Classic to become the first horse to win the “Grand Slam” of American horse racing.

2014: California Chrome (5/2)

California Chrome made it back-to-back favorites to win the Kentucky Derby in 2014 following Orb’s performance.  He won at 5/2 odds with a time of 2:03:66.  He would go on to win the Preakness Stakes with a legitimate shot at winning the Triple Crown, but fell just short in the Belmont Stakes.

2013: Orb (11/2)

This was one of the rare favorites to actually win the Kentucky Derby.  Jockey Joel Rosario positioned the colts toward the rear in the early stages of the race.  Orb would be just behind the leaders heading into the final turn, and he caught them and then pulled away down the stretch to win by 2 1/2 lengths.

2012: I’ll Have Another (15/1)

Opening at odds of 15-1 in what was an unusually strong field, I’ll Have Another surprised many in front of a record crowd of 165,307.  He closed strong to catch the front-running Bodemeister just before the finish line to win by one and a half lengths.  I’ll Have Another became the first horse in the history of the Kentucky Derby to win from post position 19.

2011: Animal Kingdom (21/1)

On the morning of the Derby, Animal Kingdom had odds of 30-1, and by post time they dropped to 21-1.  Many bettors were skeptical of this horse because it would be the first time that he would run on dirt.  Out of post 16, Animal Kingdom torched the field, winning by 2 3/4 lengths.

2010: Super Saver (8/1)

Calvin Borel became the first jockey to win the Derby three times in four years aboard Super Saver in 2010.  This was also the first win for legendary trainer Todd Pletcher in 25 entries at the Derby.  Super Saver opened with morning odds of 15-1 before settling on 8-1 by race time.

2009: Mine That Bird (51/1)

Following overnight rain, Churchill Downs was sloppy for the 2009 Kentucky Derby.  After having trouble out of the gate, Mine That Bird was left about eight lengths behind the field.  He remained so far back down the backstretch that NBC’s announcer Tom Durkin at first didn’t see him.  Using his ground-saving, rail-skimming technique, Calvin Borel charged past PioneeroftheNile and cruised to a six-length victory as a ridiculous 50-1 longshot.  A $2 win bet returned $103.20.

2008: Big Brown (12/5)

Big Brown ran the 134th Kentucky Derby just as you would expect a 2-1 favorite to.  He became the first horse since 1929 to win the race from the 20th starting gate, blowing past the field to a 4 3/4 lengths triumph.  He posted an incredible 109 Beyer Speed Figure en route to victory.

2007: Street Sense (5/1)

Street Sense was a great story for the 2007 Kentucky Derby. Coming in as the favorite to win the race, it didn’t look good for Street Sense early, as he came out of the gates towards the back of the pack. Street Sense was then able to kick it in gear and was able to edge Hard Spun for the victory. Street Sense became the first Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner to return in the spring and win the derby, after 23 previous horses had failed to complete the task. It’s also good to note that Street Sense is only the 3rd favorite to win in the last eight years.

2006: Barbaro (6/1)

Barbaro just might have been the best horse many of us have ever seen, as he simply dominated a very strong field to win the Kentucky Derby by 6 ½ lengths. Many people thought that Barbaro was destined to win the Triple Crown, but things took a tragic turn at the Preakness when he jumped the gates and ended up injuring himself so badly that it ended in a very sad death in the beginning of 2007.

2005: Giacomo (50/1)

Here is the last big upset to take place at the Kentucky Derby, as Mike Smith rode Giacomo at 50/1 odds to a victory at the 131st running of the Kentucky Derby. Giacomo made a lot of people happy as his odds gave a lot of better a very nice payday. This wasn’t an easy win for Giacomo as he only one by a slim 1 ½ lengths. Giacomo gives hope to all the horses that don’t come in with a great background, and keeps fans from closing in on just a few horses to have a shot to win the race.

2004: Smarty Jones (4/1)

Smarty Jones has got as close as you could get to taking home the Triple Crown. It all started with an impressive win at the Kentucky Derby. Then he went on to win at the Preakness, but fell just short of the Triple Crown with a 2nd place finish at the Belmont.

2003: Funny Cide (13/1)

Here was another horse that came in and won the Kentucky Derby, then followed it up with a win at the Preakness. Needing a win at the Belmont for the Triple Crown, Funny Cide just didn’t have it in him and would up finishing 3rd, for a very strong performance in the big 3 race series. The thing that made Funny Cide so interesting was that he came from New York, where no horse had even been bred and go on to win the Derby. Funny Cide also didn’t have a big time trainer, as a group of small-time owners trained this horse to a historic run in 2003.

Full List of Past Kentucky Derby Winners (Year, Horse, Jockey, Time)

Year Winning Horse Jockey Time
2021 Mandaloun Florent Geroux 2:01.02
2020 Authentic John Velazquez 2:00.61
2019 Country House Flavien Prat 2:03.93
2018 Justify Mike Smith 2:04.20
2017 Always Dreaming John Velazquez 2:03.59
2016 Nyquist Mario Gutierrez 2:01.31
2015 American Pharoah Victor Espinoza 2:03.02
2014 California Chrome Victor Espinoza 2:03.66
2013 Orb Joel Rosario 2:02.89
2012 I’ll Have Another Mario Gutierrez 2:01.83
2011 Animal Kingdom John Velazquez 2:02.04
2010 Super Saver Calvin Borel 2:04.45
2009 Mine That Bird Calvin Borel 2:02.66
2008 Big Brown Kent Desormeaux 2:01.82
2007 Street Sense Calvin Borel 2:02.17
2006 Barbaro Edgar Prado 2:01.36
2005 Giacomo Mike E. Smith 2:02.75
2004 Smarty Jones Stewart Elliott 2:04.06
2003 Funny Cide José A. Santos 2:01.19
2002 War Emblem Victor Espinoza 2:01.13
2001 Monarchos Jorge F. Chavez 1:59.97
2000 Fusaichi Pegasus Kent Desormeaux 2:01.00
1999 Charismatic Chris Antley 2:03.20
1998 Real Quiet Kent Desormeaux 2:02.20
1997 Silver Charm Gary Stevens 2:02.40
1996 Grindstone Jerry Bailey 2:01.00
1995 Thunder Gulch Gary Stevens 2:01.20
1994 Go for Gin Chris McCarron 2:03.60
1993 Sea Hero Jerry Bailey 2:02.40
1992 Lil E. Tee Pat Day 2:03.00
1991 Strike the Gold Chris Antley 2:03.00
1990 Unbridled Craig Perret 2:02.00
1989 Sunday Silence Pat Valenzuela 2:05.00
1988 Winning Colors Gary Stevens 2:02.20
1987 Alysheba Chris McCarron 2:03.40
1986 Ferdinand Bill Shoemaker 2:02.80
1985 Spend A Buck Angel Cordero, Jr. 2:00.20
1984 Swale Laffit Pincay, Jr. 2:02.40
1983 Sunny’s Halo Eddie Delahoussaye 2:02.20
1982 Gato Del Sol Eddie Delahoussaye 2:02.40
1981 Pleasant Colony Jorge Velasquez 2:02.00
1980 Genuine Risk Jacinto Vasquez 2:02.00
1979 Spectacular Bid Ronnie Franklin 2:02.40
1978 Affirmed Steve Cauthen 2:01.20
1977 Seattle Slew Jean Cruguet 2:02.20
1976 Bold Forbes Angel Cordero, Jr. 2:01.60
1975 Foolish Pleasure Jacinto Vasquez 2:02.00
1974 Cannonade Angel Cordero, Jr. 2:04.00
1973 Secretariat Ron Turcotte 1:59.40
1972 Riva Ridge Ron Turcotte 2:01.80
1971 Canonero II Gustavo Avila 2:03.20
1970 Dust Commander Mike Manganello 2:03.40
1969 Majestic Prince Bill Hartack 2:01.80
1968 Forward Pass Ismael Valenzuela 2:02.20
1967 Proud Clarion Bobby Ussery 2:00.60
1966 Kauai King Don Brumfield 2:02.00
1965 Lucky Debonair Bill Shoemaker 2:01.20
1964 Northern Dancer Bill Hartack 2:00.00
1963 Chateaugay Braulio Baeza 2:01.80
1962 Decidedly Bill Hartack 2:00.40
1961 Carry Back Johnny Sellers 2:04.00
1960 Venetian Way Bill Hartack 2:02.40
1959 Tomy Lee Bill Shoemaker 2:02.20
1958 Tim Tam Ismael Valenzuela 2:05.00
1957 Iron Liege Bill Hartack 2:02.20
1956 Needles David Erb 2:03.40
1955 Swaps Bill Shoemaker 2:01.80
1954 Determine Raymond York 2:03.00
1953 Dark Star Henry E. Moreno 2:02.00
1952 Hill Gail Eddie Arcaro 2:01.60
1951 Count Turf Conn McCreary 2:02.60
1950 Middleground William Boland 2:01.60
1949 Ponder Steve Brooks 2:04.20
1948 Citation Eddie Arcaro 2:05.40
1947 Jet Pilot Eric Guerin 2:06.80
1946 Assault Warren Mehrtens 2:06.60
1945 Hoop Jr. Eddie Arcaro 2:07.00
1944 Pensive Conn McCreary 2:04.20
1943 Count Fleet Johnny Longden 2:04.00
1942 Shut Out Wayne D. Wright 2:04.40
1941 Whirlaway Eddie Arcaro 2:01.40
1940 Gallahadion Carroll Bierman 2:05.00
1939 Johnstown James Stout 2:03.40
1938 Lawrin Eddie Arcaro 2:04.80
1937 War Admiral Charley Kurtsinger 2:03.20
1936 Bold Venture Ira Hanford 2:03.60
1935 Omaha Willie Saunders 2:05.00
1934 Cavalcade Mack Garner 2:04.00
1933 Brokers Tip Don Meade 2:06.80
1932 Burgoo King Eugene James 2:05.20
1931 Twenty Grand Charley Kurtsinger 2:01.80
1930 Gallant Fox Earl Sande 2:07.60
1929 Clyde Van Dusen Linus McAtee 2:10.80
1928 Reigh Count Chick Lang 2:10.40
1927 Whiskery Linus McAtee 2:06.00
1926 Bubbling Over Albert Johnson 2:03.80
1925 Flying Ebony Earl Sande 2:07.60
1924 Black Gold J. D. Mooney 2:05.20
1923 Zev Earl Sande 2:05.40
1922 Morvich Albert Johnson 2:04.60
1921 Behave Yourself Charles Thompson 2:04.20
1920 Paul Jones Ted Rice 2:09.00
1919 Sir Barton Johnny Loftus 2:09.80
1918 Exterminator Willie Knapp 2:10.80
1917 Omar Khayyam Charles Borel 2:04.60
1916 George Smith Johnny Loftus 2:04.00
1915 Regret Joe Notter 2:05.40
1914 Old Rosebud John McCabe 2:03.40
1913 Donerail Roscoe Goose 2:04.80
1912 Worth Carroll H. Shilling 2:09.40
1911 Meridian George Archibald 2:05.00
1910 Donau Frederick Herbert 2:06.40
1909 Wintergreen Vincent Powers 2:08.20
1908 Stone Street Arthur Pickens 2:15.20
1907 Pink Star Andy Minder 2:12.60
1906 Sir Huon Roscoe Troxler 2:08.80
1905 Agile Jack Martin 2:10.75
1904 Elwood Shorty Prior 2:08.50
1903 Judge Himes Hal Booker 2:09.00
1902 Alan-a-Dale Jimmy Winkfield 2:08.75
1901 His Eminence Jimmy Winkfield 2:07.75
1900 Lieut. Gibson Jimmy Boland 2:06.25
1899 Manuel Fred Taral 2:12.00
1898 Plaudit Willie Simms 2:09.00
1897 Typhoon II Buttons Garner 2:12.50
1896 Ben Brush Willie Simms 2:07.75
1895 Halma Soup Perkins 2:37.50
1894 Chant Frank Goodale 2:41.00
1893 Lookout Eddie Kunze 2:39.25
1892 Azra Alonzo Clayton 2:41.50
1891 Kingman Isaac Murphy 2:52.25
1890 Riley Isaac Murphy 2:45.00
1889 Spokane Thomas Kiley 2:34.50
1888 Macbeth II George Covington 2:38.00
1887 Montrose Isaac Lewis 2:39.25
1886 Ben Ali Paul Duffy 2:36.50
1885 Joe Cotton Erskine Henderson 2:37.25
1884 Buchanan Isaac Murphy 2:40.25
1883 Leonatus Billy Donohue 2:43.00
1882 Apollo Babe Hurd 2:40.00
1881 Hindoo Jim McLaughlin 2:40.00
1880 Fonso George Lewis 2:37.50
1879 Lord Murphy Charlie Shauer 2:37.00
1878 Day Star Jimmy Carter 2:37.25
1877 Baden-Baden Billy Walker 2:38.00
1876 Vagrant Bobby Swim 2:38.25
1875 Aristides Oliver Lewis 2:37.75

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