04/30/2008 12:00AM

History Challenge: Derby often jockey's defining moment


Kentucky Derby lore is filled with stories of jockeys and their quests to capture the roses on the first Saturday in May. Bad luck or the hand of fate have often stepped in to alter the best of plans.

In 1942, Eddie Arcaro selected Devil Diver as his Derby mount, even though the trainer begged him to ride the stablemate, Shut Out. Had Arcaro listened, he would have had a career six Derby wins, instead of being tied for the record of five with Bill Hartack.

Al Snider was the regular pilot for Citation in 1948, but the rider went fishing off the Florida Keys in March and was never seen again. Arcaro got the mount.

In 1958, Hartack was the regular rider for Tim Tam. Had he not broken his leg seven days before the Derby, Hartack would have ended his career with a record six.

Bill Shoemaker was riding both Northern Dancer and Hill Rise in 1964. The Shoe chose Hill Rise in the Derby. Northern Dancer (with Hartack subbing) beat him by a neck. If Shoemaker had made the other decision, he would have retired with five Derby wins and Hartack would have retired with only four.

See how many of these Derby jockeys you can identify.

1. Pat Day rode in the Kentucky Derby 22 times, winning only once (Lil E. Tee in 1992). Laffit Pincay Jr. rode in the Derby 21 times, winning only with Swale in 1984. Bill Shoemaker holds the record for most Derby mounts with 26.

Remarkably, 22 jockeys won the Kentucky Derby the one and only time they rode in the race. Ten of those came in 1800s, before the Derby gained its widespread notoriety and importance. Three of the 20th century jockeys who retired 1 for 1 in the Derby were aboard Triple Crown winners. Name the riders.

2. Of the 26 jockeys who have ridden in the Kentucky Derby at least 10 times, no one has a better win percentage than Bill Hartack, who died late last year at age 74. Hartack won with 5 of his 12 lifetime mounts, a winning rate of 42 percent. He won with 5 of his first 9 mounts (56 percent).

Of the riders with 10 or more mounts in the Derby, whose win percentage is second highest?

3. Johnny Longden won his only Derby as a rider aboard Count Fleet in 1943. (He trained Majestic Prince to win the Derby in 1969.) Longden died in 2003 at age 96, meaning he had 60 years to savor his winning Derby ride. Other jockeys were not so fortunate.

George Garret Lewis, who won the 1880 Derby on Fonso, died two months later from injuries sustained in a racing spill in St. Louis. Frank Goodale, who rode Chant to an easy victory in the 1894 Derby, died two days later when a horse he was riding tripped and fell.

Perhaps the strangest death involved Eugene James, who won the 1932 Derby aboard Burgoo King. How did he die?

4. Only four riders have won the Kentucky Derby in back-to-back years, the most recent being Eddie Delahoussaye in 1982 (Gato del Sol) and 1983 (Sunny's Halo). No jockey has won three straight.

In 1903, however, everyone seemed ready to concede that future Hall of Fame rider Jimmy Winkfield was going to win his third straight Derby. There were only six horses in the race and Winkfield was on the 3-5 favorite, Early. An unbelievably bad ride by the jockey cost the colt the race. Name the winning horse and his rider.

5. Because of Kentucky's proximity to the South, African-American jockeys rode prominently in the Derby during its first three decades. They won 15 of the 28 runnings from 1875-1902. By contrast, only two Preakness Stakes and four Belmont Stakes have been won by African-American riders.

Only one African-American jockey can lay claim to winning each of the three races that make up what we now call the Triple Crown. Name him.