Dust Commander's Remains to Derby Museum

Dust Commander's Remains to Derby Museum
Photo: Blood-Horse Library
Dust Commander after winning the 1970 Kentucky Derby.

The remains of 1970- Kentucky Derby winner Dust Commander have been relocated to the Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville, Ky., after being discovered at a farm near Paris, Ky.

Among those expected to attend a July 8 re-interment ceremony in the museum's garden were the winning connections of owner Verna Lehmann, jockey Mike Manganello, and trainer Don Combs.

According to a release, the museum and newly organized Thoroughbred Breeders Museum in Paris jointly collaborated with Sparks Enterprise landscaping to have the horse's remains exhumed and transported to Louisville, Ky.

Dust Commander's remains were initially buried in an unmarked location on a Paris farm that later changed ownership and the property was divided. Members of the Lehmann family had been searching for Dust Commander's burial site for many years, the Derby Museum release said, with assistance of Dr. Hardy Dungan, a local veterinarian and forensic scientist who is married to Verna Lehmann's granddaughter Cristal Dungan. The Dungans are the co-founders of the Thoroughbred Breeders Museum.
 
The Derby Museum release said the search was successful with the discovery of the remains July 5 at Woodline Farm.

The skeleton of Dust Commander was placed in a handcrafted box and shipped to the Derby Museum. He will be buried next to four other Derby winners honored on the Museum's property: Carry Back (1961), Swaps (1955), Brokers Tip (1933), and Sunny's Halo (1983).

"Myself and the entire Lehmann family are sincerely grateful to all those involved in locating the lost remains of Dust Commander," Verna Lehmann said in a statement. "It gives all of us and all of the fans who loved this horse, final closure and peace, knowing that his final resting place will be at the Derby Museum."

"Dust Commander's Kentucky Derby victory will now be celebrated with daily visits through the museum's garden area as our guests visit the gravesites of these tremendous athletes," said Lynn Ashton, the museum's executive director.

A 15-1 shot ridden by Manganello for Robert Lehmann, Dust Commander was soundly bumped at the start of the 1970 Derby and advanced along the inside after a half mile had been completed. Rounding the far turn, the chestnut colt came out between horses to launch his rally and drew off to win by a widening five lengths over favored My Dad George.

At stud, Dust Commander stood at Lehmann's Golden Chance Farm, Gainesway Farm, Springland Farm, and in Japan. He died at Springland on Oct. 7, 1991. Among his stakes winners were 1975 Preakness (gr. I) winner Master Derby and multiple graded stakes winner Run Dusty Run.
 

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