Derby Horses of a Different Color

This may color your decision-making in regard to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).

Looking at the color factor, 47 bays top the list of winning the most Kentucky Derbys. Chestnuts come in a close second with 43; dark bay/brown, 28; gray/roan, eight; and black, four.

The most recent bay to win the Derby was Fusaichi Pegasus  in 2000. He went on to capture the Preakness (gr. I) and the Jerome Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont that year, and was retired to the breeding shed after running sixth in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I). The 9-year-old son of Mr. Prospector, who was a $4-million yearling, now stands at Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky. He is the sire of 14 stakes winners.

Smarty Jones , a chestnut son of Elusive Quality, was the last of his color to win the Derby in 2004. He followed up with a victory in the Preakness (gr. I), which he cinched by more than 11 lengths. He was retired after a length loss in the Belmont (gr. I) and now stands at Three Chimneys Farm near Midway, Ky. where he just sired his first crop of foals.

War Emblem was the last dark bay/brown horse to win the Derby in 2002. The son of Our Emblem went on to capture the Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) that year at Monmouth Park, and then retired after running eighth in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Arlington Park. He stands at Shadai Stallion Station in Japan.

Last year's upset Derby winner Giacomo, who won at odds of 50-1, was the last gray/roan horse to capture the classic. The son of Holy Bull, who was not victorious in the last two legs of the Triple Crown, has had two starts in 2006; in one he finished in the money.
A horse listed as "black" has not won the Derby since Flying Ebony took the race in 1925. A son of The Finn, appropriately named Flying Ebony, was the sire of eight stakes winners.