On This Day
Photo: Giles E. Wright
Silky Sullivan
March 8, 1958
Silky Sullivan at Santa Anita

Fan favorite Silky Sullivan wasn't as far behind in the March 8 Santa Anita Derby as he had been in some of his other races.

He only trailed the leader at one point by 26 lengths.

Silky Sullivan, who had been 41 lengths beyond in an earlier victory at 6 1/2 furlongs, smothered his field to win the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby eased up by 3 1/2 lengths under Bill Shoemaker.

"In the Santa Anita Derby, Silky was a top-notch, workmanlike horse, getting the job done in murderous fashion," Robert Hebert wrote in The Blood-Horse. "His performance was totally different from his earlier races, in which he loitered about two counties out of it, then closed with an explosive rush that either won or lost it all in the last jump."

Silky Sullivan raced twice more before the Kentucky Derby. One of the Derby favorites, at 2-1, Silky Sullivan lagged way back in the early going, but never kicked it into high gear and finished 12th in the 14-horse field. His trademark closing kick also failed to appear in the Preakness.

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