On This Day...
Photo: The Blood-Horse Library
Master Derby on the gallop.
Feb. 17, 1975
Master Derby at Fair Grounds

Master Derby had done enough as a 2-year-old in 1974 to bear watching at the start of his 3-year-old season. He had won or placed in all 12 starts as a juvenile, but his two added-money wins came in sprints: the Kindergarten Stakes (gr. III) and a division of the Dragoon Stakes (gr. III). But there were placings in longer events such as the Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. III) and Heritage (gr. III) Stakes.

Master Derby's sire, Dust Commander, also offered hope for the classics. Dust Commander won the 1970 Kentucky Derby for Robert Lehmann.

Trained by W.E. "Smiley" Adams for the Lehmann family's Golden Chance Farm, Master Derby started his 3-year-old season at Fair Grounds and lost at six furlongs in his first two starts. On Feb. 17, he got back on the winning track in a mile and 40 yard race with a neck triumph as one of three 2-1 co-favorites. Master Derby then won two more at Fair Grounds, including the Louisiana Derby (gr. II), then twice at Keeneland, including the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I)

Master Derby went into Run for the Roses with a five-race win streak, but found favorite Foolish Pleasure, Avatar, and Diabolo too tough to handle that day. His day came two weeks later when he won the Preakness (gr. I) as a supplementary entry. He later ran third in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I).

Most Popular Stories