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On This Day...

April 11, 1941

Keeneland hosted several important races during the first few days of the 1941 spring meeting, but none more so than an overnight handicap that attracted Whirlaway.

"But from a standpoint other than local, the most important event of the first few days was the meeting of Calumet Farm's Whirlaway and C.C. Van Meter's Blue Pair, in the six-furlong A.J. Joyner purse on April 11," wrote The Blood-Horse. "Two other (Kentucky) Derby eligibles were in the field, but the race was considered to be between Whirlaway and Blue Pair, with the former favored at even money."

Blue Pair, the 2-1 second choice, took the lead in the final furlong, but couldn't withstand Whirlaway's customary charge and was beaten a neck.

Whirlaway next finished second to Our Boots in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland and then was runner-up to Blue Pair in the mile Derby Trial. Whirlaway still went off the Derby favorite and set a track record of 2:01 2/5, winning by a record-equaling eight lengths. Whirlaway went on to win the Preakness and Belmont Stakes to become racing's fifth Triple Crown winner.