Below, you will find the Kentucky Derby winners for the past 20 years and how they performed in the race prior. You will also view the winner of the race if the Derby winner did not win the last prep race. In addition, analysis and breakdown is given for both the prep race and Derby winners. Thought it would be a nice touch and go down memory lane.
At the bottom, you will see additional stats to help make all of this information make even more sense or complicate it!
2011 – Animal Kingdom Won the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes
He ran 2nd in the Preakness Stakes, but was hurt during his the running of the Belmont Stakes. Only raced once after that, which was a win in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Gulfstream Park.
2010 – Super Saver ran 2nd Arkansas Derby
Winner: Line of David
Super Saver would run 8th in the Preakness, then bypass the Belmont Stakes. He did not win again and was retired in the fall of 2010.
Line of David would unfortunately run 18th in the Derby and get hurt in the process. He was retired shortly after.
2009 – Mine That Bird 4th in Sunland Derby
Winner: Kelly Leak
Mine That Bird won the Derby at odds of 50-1. The 2nd longest odds ever. He finished 2nd in the Preakness and 3rd in the Belmont Stakes. A 3rd place finish in the West Virginia Derby was followed up by six straight off the board efforts. His career ended after a 10th place finish in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
Kelly Leak did not run in the Kentucky Derby that year. He never won a stakes race again. He still races today in the claiming ranks. He has just 2 wins in his last 22 races since winning the Sunland Derby.
2008 – Big Brown Won the Florida Derby
This is arguably one of the best horses we’ve seen in years. He won the Preakness, but had a brutal gate and trip in the Belmont Stakes. He finished 9th and last. He followed up with a win in the Haskell Invitational and Monmouth Stakes. Was retired after that race. 7 wins in 8 races and earnings of $3,614,500. It would have been interesting to see how well he did if he had been able to extend his career.
2007 – Street Sense ran 2nd in Toyota Blue Grass Stakes
Street Sense finished 2nd in the Preakness, won the Jim Dandy and Travers. He ended his career that year after finishing 4th in the Breeder’s Cup Classic.
Dominican finished 11th in the Derby and would only win 1 of his next 14 races, an Allowance at Presque Isles Downs. His last race was in October 2009.
On a side note, Curlin finished 3rd in the Derby after winning the Arkansas Derby. He went on to have one of the most distinguished careers ever. Finished with 11 wins in 16 races including the Dubai World Cup and Breeders’ Cup Classic. His final earnings were $10,501,800.
2006 – Barbaro Won the Florida Derby
As the same with Big Brown, this could have been one of the best horses in years. He won the Derby by 6 1/2 lengths, but unfortunately got hurt during the Preakness. After numerous surgeries on his legs, he was put down in January of 2007.
2005 – Giacomo ran 4th in Santa Anita Derby
Winner: Buzzard’s Bay
Giaciomo won the Derby at odds of 50-1. At the time, the 2nd longest odds to ever win the race. As is the case with many of the long shots to win a big race like this, the rest of their career would not live up to expectations. He would win one of his next eight races, the San Diego Handicap (G2) at Del Mar.
Buzzard’s Bay would finish 5th in the Kentucky Derby then bypass the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. He had a decent career winning three graded stakes races including the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) at Oaklawn Park.
2004 – Smarty Jones Won the Arkansas Derby
He won the Preakness and was just ONE length from becoming the first triple crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. The Belmont Stakes was his last race. In just 9 races, he accumulated $7,613,155 in earnings.
2003 – Funny Cide ran 2nd in Wood Memorial
Winner: Empire Maker
Funny Cide would avenge his loss in the Wood Memorial by defeating Empire Maker in the Derby. He won the Preakness, then fell short of the triple crown finishing 3rd. Empire Maker would strike back. He would have a longer than normal career, racing 38 times winning multiple graded stakes such as the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1).
Empire Maker as we mentioned won the Belmont, then finished his career with a 2nd in the Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga that summer. He also won the Florida Derby and Wood Memorial prior to the Derby.
2002 – War Emblem Won the Illinois Derby
War Emblem is the last horse to go gate to wire in the Kentucky Derby. He won the Preakness, then finished 8th in the Belmont Stakes. He came back to win the Haskell, but his last two career races were 6th in the Pacific Classic and 8th in BC Classic.
2001 – Monarchos ran 2nd in the Wood Memorial
Monarchos easily won the Derby by 4 3/4 lengths but could not duplicate that performance. He finished 6th in the Preakness and 3rd in the Belmont. He only raced one more time after a six months layoff. Retired after a 3rd place finish in an Allowance race.
Congaree was a consistent horse winning almost 50% of his career races (12 of 25). He finished 3rd in the Derby, 3rd in the Preakness and bypassed the Belmont. He would win 9 more graded stakes in his career (total of 10) including the Swaps Stakes (G1), Cigar Mile (G1) twice, Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) and Carter Handicap.
2000 – Fusaichi Pegasus Won the Wood Memorial
He would finish 2nd in the Preakness and bypassed the Belmont Stakes. He won the Jerome Handicap (G2) later in the year and finished his career with a 6th in the BC Classic.
1999 – Charismatic Won the Coolmore Lexington Stakes
He won the Derby at odds of 31-1, won the Preakness at odds of 8-1. He was the Belmont favorite and finished 3rd. That was his last race.
1998 – Real Quiet ran 2nd in the Santa Anita Derby
Winner: Indian Charlie
Real Quiet also won the Preakness and missed the triple crown by a nose! In his next five starts, he would win twice including the Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) and Pimlico Special Handicap (G1).
Indian Charlie finished 3rd in the Derby and was retired shortly after. That as his only defeat in five tries. He has been one of the top sires over the last decade or so.
1997 – Silver Charm ran 2nd in the Santa Anita Derby
Winner: Free House
Silver Charm won the Derby and Preakness by a head each time, then lost the triple crown (Belmont) by 3/4 length to Touch Gold. He would win 50% of his career races (12 of 24) including the Dubai World Cup.
Free House finished 3rd in the Derby, 2nd in the Preakness and 3rd in the Belmont. He would win 5 more graded stakes races including the Pacific Classic (G1) and Santa Anita Handicap (G1) over his next 10 races. He totaled 8 graded stakes wins over his career.
1996 – Grindstone ran 2nd in the Arkansas Derby
Winner: Zarb’s Magic
Grindstone won the Derby by a nose but unfortunately that was his last race.
Zarb’s Magic had a very long career. After winning the Arkansas Derby, he finished 13th in the Kentucky Derby. Over the next 7 years, he would float between claiming, Allowance and non-graded stakes races. His last race was November 2003.
1995 – Thunder Gulch ran 4th in the Blue Grass Stakes
Winner: Wild Syn
Thunder Gulch had a fantastic three year old season. After winning the Derby, he finished 3rd in the Preakness then won the Belmont. He continued his winning ways by taking the Swaps Stakes (G2), Travers Stakes (G1) and Kentucky Cup Classic Handicap before finishing 5th in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. That was his last race.
Wild Syn winning the Blue Grass that year seemed like a fluke as he finished 19th in the Derby, 11th in the Belmont, then never finished in the top 3 over the next ten races in Allowance company.
1994 – Go for Gin ran 2nd in the Wood Memorial
Go for Gin went gates to wire in the Derby, but never won again. He did finish 2nd in the Preakness and Belmont. He finished 8th in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and BC Classic that year.
Irgun didn’t get a chance to run in the Derby or triple crown for that matter. He went TWO YEARS in between races, but it didn’t last long. He finished 5th in his return to the track and was retired shortly afterwards.
1993 – Sea Hero ran 4th in the Blue Grass Stakes (G2)
Winner: Prairie Bayou
Sea Hero would get revenge on Prairie Bayou in the Derby, but failed to follow up that solid performance with a 5th in the Preakness and 7th in the Belmont Stakes. He did win the Travers later that summer at Saratoga, but that would be his last stakes win. Over his next 9 races, he would only win an Allowance race. He retired in October 1994.
Prairie Bayou would come back to win the Preakness after his defeat in the Derby. He finished 13th in the Belmont and never raced again.
1992 – Lil E. Tee ran 2nd in the Arkansas Derby
Winner: Pine Bluff
Lil E. Tee finished 5th in the Preakness after his Derby win, but was injured during that race. It took 9 months to return to action. He won an Allowance at Oaklawn Park, followed up by a win in the Grade 2 Razorback Handicap. His last race was a runner-up effort in the Oaklawn Handicap (G2).
Pine Bluff would finish 5th in the Derby, but come back to win the Preakness. His 3rd place finish in the Belmont Stakes would be his last race.
For the Derby winners, these are the results from the last race:
So if you go off these stats, Prospective and Liaison have no chance to win the Derby as they were worse than 4th.
In the last 20 years, only 7 horses won the Derby after winning the last prep race.
Florida Derby: 2 (Big Brown, Barbaro)
Arkansas Derby: 1 (Smarty Jones)
Illinois Derby: 1 (War Emblem)
Lexington Stakes: 1 (Charismatic)
Spiral Stakes: 1 (Animal Kingdom)
Wood Memorial: 1 (Fusaichi Pegasus)
Santa Anita Derby: 0
Blue Grass Stakes: 0
Sunland Derby: 0
There really is no method to which race produces Derby winners. As you can see, the Derby winner normally doesn’t head into the Run for the Roses on a winning note. Just 7 of the last 20 (35%) won the Derby after winning the race leading up. This is good news for Union Rags, Hansen, Alpha, Creative Cause and others who ran well, but not enough to win. Not good news for Bodemeister, Gemologist, Dullahan, I’ll Have Another, Daddy Nose Best, Take Charge Indy, Went the Day Well and Done Talking.
If you are I’ll Have Another (Santa Anita), Dullahan (Blue Grass) or Daddy Nose Best (Sunland Derby), this is not good news again as not one horse (winner) from their prep race has gone on to win in the last 20 years.
In regards to the horse who defeated the eventual Derby winner in that final prep race, just three of the 14 went on to win any of the triple crown races. Out of a potential 60 races (Derby, Preakness and Belmont), just two Preakness and one Belmont were won. Talk about a horrific statistic.
As always, these are just statistics. Take them for what it’s worth. It sure does open your eyes to what has transpired over the last 20 years.