Past Kentucky Derby Winners: List of Previous Champions

Always Dreaming is your winner of the 2017 Kentucky Derby.  This lines him up for a potential run at the elusive Triple Crown, but it’s an extremely rare occurrence.  It had been since 1978 and Affirmed, but then in 2015 American Pharoah broke through for the Triple Crown.  There had been other close calls in recent years.  In 2012 as I’ll Have Another would win the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness before having to withdraw at the last second from the Belmont Stakes due to injury.  California Chrome won the first two legs in 2014 as well before coming up short at the Belmont.  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

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
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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