04/29/2008 12:00AM

History Challenge answers


1. Three jockeys rode in the Kentucky Derby only one time, winning the Triple Crown that year with their mount.

In 1935, William "Smokey" Saunders guided Omaha from far back to capture the 61st Derby as the 4-1 second choice. Eleven years later, Warren Mehrtens rode Assault to a record-equaling eight-length win in the 72nd Derby. The colt was 8-1.

In 1978, Steve Cauthen, at age 18, was aboard Affirmed, the second betting choice in the 104th Derby. Affirmed won by 1 1/2 lengths over favored Alydar. Of the three jockeys, only Cauthen is enshrined in the Hall of Fame at the National Museum of Racing in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Cauthen went on to a riding career in England the year following his Triple Crown win. He is the only Kentucky Derby-winning jockey to also win the Epsom Derby (with Slip Anchor in 1985 and Reference Point in 1987).

Despite his age, Cauthen was far from the youngest rider to win the Derby. Alonzo Clayton (aboard Azra in 1892) and James "Soup" Perkins (Halma in 1895) were both 15.

2. Isaac Murphy, among the greatest riders of the 19th century, rode in the Kentucky Derby 11 times from 1877 to 1893, winning three times (27 percent), a figure second only to that of Bill Hartack and 3 percentage points ahead of Eddie Arcaro (24 percent).

Murphy's record of three wins in the Derby was tied in 1930 by the legendary Earl Sande, but was not broken until Arcaro guided Citation to the rider's fourth win in the Derby in 1948.

Only one other rider with 10 or more Derby mounts has a winning percentage of 20 or more. Conn McCreary rode in the classic 10 times, winning twice.

3. Thirteen months after jockey Eugene James rode Burgoo King to a five-length win in the Kentucky Derby, his body was pulled from Lake Michigan. He was

only 19.

The official cause of death was listed as "accidental suffocation due to drowning," but rumors persisted for years among the racing community that the jockey either committed suicide or was the victim of a Mafia hit. The fact that James went swimming in the lake in the dark of night only added fuel to the gossip.

Burgoo King was not the horse a jockey wanted to be on. Three other riders were aboard the horse during his 21-race career. Two of them - Laverne Fator and Gilbert Elston - committed suicide in 1936. The other, Don Meade, had his career almost ruined by constant run-ins with the stewards. In 1936, Meade was suspended for two years for betting against his horse in a race.

4. The headline in a Louisville newspaper the day following the 1903 Derby proclaimed that Judge Himes won the race, but the subheading told the story: "Ill-timed ride by Winkfield, the great jockey, responsible for the result."

Winkfield was so anxious to win his third straight Derby that he prematurely rushed his mount, Early. As a result, the colt had little left to meet the challenge of Judge Himes, ridden by Harold "Hal" Booker.

Winkfield, who was elected to racing's Hall of Fame in 2004, always blamed himself for losing the 1903 Derby.

5. Willie Simms is the only African-American jockey to be victorious in all the Triple Crown races. Simms won the only two runnings of the Kentucky Derby in which he rode (Ben Brush in 1896 and Plaudit in 1898).

He won the Preakness Stakes (run then at Gravesend Race Course in New York) in 1898 aboard Sly Fox and consecutive runnings of the Belmont Stakes (run then at Morris Park) aboard Commanche in 1893 and Henry of Navarre in 1894.

Simms was enshrined in racing's Hall of Fame in 1977.- Ron Hale