04/26/2012 2:04PM

History challenge answers: Derby Trial a major prep in its heyday

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Whirlaway is one of 13 Derby Trial starters who went on to win the Kentucky Derby. He finished second in the Trial in 1941.

See questions HERE

1. Black Gold, bred and owned by Rosa Hoots, captured the inaugural Derby Trial by eight lengths as the 3-5 betting favorite.

Hoots paid to breed an Oklahoma-bred mare, Useeit, owned and raced by her and her late husband, Al, to Col. Edward R. Bradley’s fashionable stallion Black Toney.

As the legend goes, when Al was dying, he dreamed that his favorite mare would be bred to an important sire and would win the Kentucky Derby. His wife, a member of the Osage Indian tribe, made that dream come true.

Four days after winning the first Derby Trial, Black Gold overcame a rough trip to take down the 50th Kentucky Derby by one-half length as the 8-5 favorite.

One year earlier, and just one race before the 49th Kentucky Derby won by Zev, Black Gold had captured the Bashford Manor Stakes. In all, he won nine races at age 2.

At age 3, in addition to the Derby Trial and Derby, Black Gold won the Louisiana Derby (run then at Jefferson Park), Ohio State Derby, and Chicago Derby.

Infertile at stud, Black Gold returned to the races. He broke down and was destroyed at Fair Grounds in 1928 and is buried in the infield of the New Orleans track.

2. When The Chief won the first Derby Trial run as a stakes in 1938, he was making his second start of the Churchill Downs meeting. On opening Saturday three days earlier, he won a six furlong race – his first start of the year – with Lawrin finishing second.

In the Derby Trial, The Chief, conditioned by legendary jockey-turned-trainer Earl Sande, again defeated Lawrin, equaling the track record for one mile (1:35.80) in the process.

In the Kentucky Derby, The Chief and Lawrin each made their third start in eight days. This time, Lawrin gave jockey Eddie Arcaro his first of five Derby winners. The Chief finished fifth.

In 1940, undefeated 2-year-old champion Bimelech was the 1-10 favorite in the Derby Trial. He won, defeating Gallahadion by two lengths.

In the Derby, Bimelech was sent off at odds of 2-5, but Gallahadion, at 35-1, turned the tables. Bimelech came back to win the Preakness and Belmont stakes and was inducted into racing’s Hall of Fame in 1990.

3. In 1949, noted racing journalist Joe Palmer wrote that no horse could catch Olympia at one mile or less. Some questioned the horse’s ability to go 1 1/4 miles, but when Olympia won the Flamingo and Blue Grass stakes, the doubters diminished.

In the Derby Trial, Olympia won eased up, with Ponder, second, and Capot, third.

As it turned out, Olympia had his limits. He faded to sixth in the Derby, which Ponder (at 16-1) won easily over second-place Capot. Ponder was Calumet Farm’s fourth Derby winner.

Capot went on the win the Preakness and Belmont stakes and at year end shared the Horse of the Year title in the polls with Coaltown.

4. Middleground (1950), Hill Gail (1952), Dark Star (1953), Determine (1954), Iron Liege (1957), and Tim Tam (1958) each ran in the Derby Trial and won the Derby.

Hill Gail, Dark Star, and Tim Tam won both races.

In the 1960’s, four Derby Trial winners finished second in the Derby: Crozier (1961), Roman Line (1962), Hill Rise (1964), and Barbs Delight (1967). In 1972, No Le Hace finished second in both the Derby Trial and Derby.

5. Woody Stephens won five consecutive Belmont Stakes: Conquistador Cielo (1982), Caveat (1983), Swale (1984), Creme Fraiche (1985), and Danzig Connection (1986).

Caveat won the Derby Trial Stakes and finished third in the Kentucky Derby to Sunny’s Halo.

Two-year-old champion Devil’s Bag won the 1984 Derby Trial for Stephens but was hurt and retired after the race. Stephens won the Derby a week later with Swale.

Creme Fraiche won the Derby Trial but was kept out of the Derby and Preakness. Before the Belmont, he had finished second to Kentucky Derby winner Spend a Buck in the Jersey Derby.

Photo on questions page: Caveat wins the 1983 Belmont Stakes.