Litigating The Derby


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With the Run for the Roses just around the corner, here’s an interestingÑand potentially lucrativeÑDerby party bet: How many of the 137 Derby winners listed on this year’s official mint julep glasses actually crossed the finish line first?

Hint: “All of them” is the wrong answer.

The 1968 Derby came down to a rousing stretch duel between favored Forward Pass and second-choice Dancer’s Image. Dead last when the field went by the stands for the first time, jockey Bobby Ussery and Dancer’s Image weaved through horses on the final turn and they were challenging for the lead at the top of the stretch. Under a masterful ride from Ussery, who dropped his whip with a quarter-mile to go and finished the race with a strong hand ride, Dancer’s Image was a convincing winner over the favorite.

Dancer’s Image was the best horse that day, no doubt about it. Boston automobile dealer Peter Fuller had a winner with his first Derby runner, Ussery joined an elite group of jockeys with back-to-back Derby winners (he won the previous year with longshot Proud Clarion), and Calumet Farm was denied its eighth Derby win

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