The Blood-Horse Library

On This Day...

April 15, 1939

Not since Zev in 1923 had the winner of the Paumonok Handicap won the Kentucky Derby. Johnstown's owner William Woodward and trainer Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons were hopeful things would change.

Johnstown, one of the top 2-year-olds in 1938, started things off his 3-year-old season with a Paumonok victory at six furlongs April 15 on opening day at Jamaica.

"Jockey Jimmy Stout hustled him away from the gate at the start, then had little to do except take him up in the stretch," The Blood-Horse wrote. "The Jamestown colt was six lengths in front at the end, winning easily."

Johnstown remained at Jamaica. He set a track record in an allowance race April 25, and then took the Wood Memorial Stakes four days later in his final Derby prep.

Johnstown joined Zev as a Derby winner, beating Maryland-bred Challedon, then lost to that colt in the Preakness. Johnstown next won the Withers Stakes, and then took the Belmont Stakes.