Different Roads Taken to Derby Success

Different Roads Taken to Derby Success
Photo: Mike Corrado
Smarty Jones took the Arkansas route to Derby success.
If it is true that history repeats itself, the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) presented by Yum! Brands has plenty of historical trends to follow. However, the fact that it has a varied history makes it hard to pick exactly which trend to follow.

To help decide, listed below are the last 10 winners of the Derby, how many starts they made before the race, where their last start was and how they finished, what grade of stakes they had won, and how many weeks off they had before the big race.

2005: Giacomo made seven starts before winning the Derby, the last of which was a fourth place finish to Buzzard's Bay in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I). The Derby would be his first graded stakes win, and he had four weeks off before winning the race.

2004: Smarty Jones   made six starts before winning, the last of which was a winning effort in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II). A grade II winner going into the race, he had three weeks off before his historic run.

2003: Funny Cide made six previous starts, the last of which was a second place finish to Empire Maker in the Wood Memorial (gr. I). The Derby would be his first graded stakes win, and he had three weeks off before taking the roses.

2002: War Emblem had made seven starts, the last of which was a winning effort in the Illinois Derby (gr. II). A grade II winner going into the race, he had four weeks off before winning the Derby.

2001: Monarchos   made six starts before the first Saturday in May, the last of which was a second place finish to Congaree in the Wood Memorial (gr. II). A grade I winner going into the race, he had three weeks off before winning.

2000: Fusaichi Pegasus   made five prior starts, the last of which was a winning effort in the Wood Memorial (gr. II). A grade II winner going into the race, he had three weeks off before winning.

1999: Charismatic made 14 starts before the Derby, the last of which was a winning effort in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II). A grade II winner going into the race, he had two weeks off before winning.

1998: Real Quiet made 12 previous starts, the last of which was a second place finish to Indian Charlie in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I). A grade I winner going into the race, he had four weeks off before winning.

1997: Silver Charm made six starts before winning, the last of which was a second place finish to Free House in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I). A grade II winner going into the race, he had four weeks off before winning the Derby.

1996: Grindstone made five starts before the Kentucky Derby, the last of which was a second place finish to Zarb's Magic in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II). A grade III winner going into the race, he had three weeks off before winning.

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