IEAH Stables and Paul Pompa Jr.’s Big Brown justified his trainer’s confidence and the faith of the betting public by powering to a 4 3/4-length victory over Fox Hill Farms’ filly Eight Belles to win the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands before a crowd of 157,770, the second-largest in history.
In becoming the first horse to win from the 20 hole since Clyde Van Dusen in 1929, Big Brown gave jockey Kent Desormeaux his third victory in the Run for the Roses and trainer Rick Dutrow his first with his initial Kentucky Derby starter.
A Kentucky-bred son of Boundary out of the Nureyev mare Mien, Big Brown became the seventh undefeated Kentucky Derby winner in history and third in the past five years, following on the heels of Smarty Jones in 2004 and Barbaro in 2006.
Desormeaux’s other Derby victories came in 1998 aboard Real Quiet and 2000 on Fusaichi Pegasus. Desormeaux is the fifth jockey to win the Kentucky Derby three times.
The victory was overshadowed by an injury to Eight Belles, who broke both front ankles and was immediately euthanized after the race.
Bob Black Jack led the field of 20 under the wire the first time with Cowboy Cal in closest pursuit. Desormeaux managed to angle Big Brown over from his outside post to be only four wide entering the first turn.
Bob Black Jack and Cowboy Cal maintained their position in the run down the backstretch, taking the field through fractions of :23.30, :47.04 and 1:11.14. Desormeaux kept Big Brown in the clear in the third flight in seventh place. Approaching the far turn Big Brown began a looping move that put him in third in the middle of the turn.
Turning for home, Big Brown swept past Recapturetheglory, who had taken a narrow lead from Cowboy Cal, and from there it was just a formality as Big Brown cruised to the wire in 2:01.82 for the mile and a quarter over a track rated as “fast.”
The victory was worth $1,451,800 and increased Big Brown’s bankroll to $2,114,500 in just four starts.
Big Brown rewarded his backers with mutual payoffs of $6.80, $5 and $4.80. Eight Belles, ridden by Gabriel Saez, returned $10.60 and $6.40. Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren Jr.’s Denis of Cork rallied to finish third under Calvin Borel, another 3 ½ lengths back, and paid $11.60 to show.
Completing the field in order were Tale of Ekati, Recapturetheglory, Colonel John, Anak Nakal, Pyro, Cowboy Cal, Z Fortune, Smooth Air, Visionaire, Court Vision, Z Humor, Cool Coal Man, Bob Black Jack, Gayego, Big Truck, Adriano and Monba.
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 3, 2008. The track’s 2008 Spring Meet runs from April 26 through July 6. Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record six times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.