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The countdown to the Investec Derby began 60 days before the event on April 3rd. The Investec Derby is the first event in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, to mark this occasion we will be publishing a fact a day about The Derby.
Facts have been compiled with the assistance of Michael Church, the Official Derby Historian.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has had 10 runners in The Derby, the first in 1953 and the latest was in 2011 when Carlton House finished 3rd. The closest she has come to winning the race (in terms of placing) was in 1953 – the year of Her Coronation – when Aureole finished second to Pinza.
Sir Gordon Richards, the most successful British jockey of all time, did not win the Derby until 1953 – the last of his 28 rides in the Derby. He rode Pinza to beat The Queen’s horse Aureole into second place in the year which marked the Queen's Coronation.
The last winner of The Derby staged at Epsom and trained in Epsom was in 1932 and was called April the Fifth.
The Derby has been staged in Epsom since 1780 and held at the course every year since, except for two periods of ten years in total when the race was staged at Newmarket – 1915–18 and 1940-45.
The first peace-time Saturday Derby at Epsom was run in 1947.
The Derby has been run on every day of the week except Sunday, Monday and Friday.
The Derby gained its name after a coin toss between the 12th Earl of Derby and Sir Charles Bunbury to decide after whom the Classic would be titled. There are now over 140 horseraces which use the name Derby and the phrase is part of every day language when local sporting teams play against each other.
Although Derby favourites have shown a level stake profit since 1780, there were eight consecutive losers between 1973 and 1980.
Four horses have won The Derby and The Oaks – Eleanor in 1801, Blink Bonny in 1857, Signorinetta in 1908 and Fifinella in 1916.
Airborne in 1946 was the last of four grey horses to have won The Derby.
The 1838 winner of The Derby – Amato – never raced before or after this victory.
In 1996 Alex Greaves became the first – and to date only – lady jockey to ride in The Derby.
Frankie Dettori rode his first Derby winner in 2007 aboard Authorized – at his 15th attempt.
The first Derby, run in 1780, is also the earliest that the race has been staged in the year – May 4th.
The 1917 Derby was staged on July 31st – the latest day the race has been staged.
There have been two dead-heats in Derby History - in 1828 between Cadland and The Colonel, the former winning the run-off later that afternoon. And later, in 1884, when St Gatien and Harvester divided the Stakes.
Steve Donoghue is the only jockey to have ridden three consecutive Derby winners – Humorist (1921), Captain Cuttle (1922) and Papyrus (1923).
Starting stalls were first used in the 1967 Derby, won by Royal Palace. All 22 runners got away well.
Minoru, in 1909, was the last Derby winner owned (in this case leased), by the reigning monarch (King Edward VII). As the Prince of Wales he had previously owned Persimmon (won 1896) and Diamond Jubilee (won 1900).
Roger Charlton trained Quest For Fame to win the 1990 Derby in his first year as a trainer.
Five winners of The Derby have had the prefix St. of which St. Paddy (1960) was the latest.
The largest field for The Derby was 34 in 1862 (won by Caractacus 40-1). The smallest field was four in 1794 (won by Daedalus 6-1). The maximum number of runners now is 20.
The first winner of the Investec Derby was Sea The Stars in 2009.
In 1963 to keep the course moist, powdered seaweed was scattered over it, while foundry sand was used to cover the racecourse road crossings.
In 1965 Epsom installed a watering system, and the French-trained Sea-Bird won in style and was later heralded as the best Derby winner of the 20th century. Ridden by Pat Glennon, the colt went on to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in spectacular style.
Three winners of the Sandown Classic Trial have gone onto win The Derby, the most recent being Shahrastani in 1986.
The 1825 winner of The Derby was called Middleton; the 1836 winner was called Bay Middleton.
Four horses have won the Derby with a hyphen in their name: Lap-dog (1826), Mid-day Sun (1937), Sea-Bird (1965), and most recently High-Rise in 1998.
The photo-finish camera was first used to decide The Derby in 1949. The winner, Nimbus, bred by bookmaker William Hill, beat the French raider Amour Drake and Lord Derby’s Swallow Tail by a head and the same.
The all time longest price Derby favourite was Mr Ley On’s Ki Ming, who ran unplaced at 9-1 in 1951.
The longest price Derby winning favourite was the French-trained Lavandin at odds of 7-1 in 1956.
The first Derby was run over a mile on this day in 1780.
36 winners of the 2000 Guineas have progressed to victory in The Derby – the most recent being Sea The Stars in 2009.
In 1784 The Derby distance was increased from a mile to a mile-and-a-half. The present distance is one mile, four furlongs and 10 yards.
In 1982, foreign bred horses filled the first five places – the winner, Golden Fleece, and the 2nd, 3rd & 5th were bred in USA, while the 4th, Persepolis was bred in France.
Lord Derby’s Sir Peter Teazle, who won the Derby in 1787, went on to sire the 1st, 2nd & 3rd in the 1803 Derby.
Geoffrey Wragg, son of Derby winning jockey and trainer Harry Wragg, trained Teenoso in 1983, thereby giving Lester Piggott his ninth Derby winner.
Last year’s Chester Vase winner Treasure Beach was pipped at the post in the Investec Derby by Pour Moi.
The Lingfield Derby Trial was first run in 1932 and was won by April The Fifth, who went to win The Derby. The last horse to win both race was High Rise in 1998.
Seven Sirs have won the Derby: Sir Peter Teazle (1787), Sir Thomas (1788), Sir Harry (1798), Sir Bevys (1879), Sir Visto (1895), Sir Ivor (1968), and most recently Sir Percy in 2006.
Sir Visto’s victory in The Derby in 1895, was the first to be captured on film. This piece of film, the earliest in the world and assumed lost, was taken by Bert Acres and found 100 years later in a woodshed by Roy Henville. Forwarded to the TV programme Schofield’s Quest, they contacted Michael Church at Racing Post, who confirmed from the distances between the first three horses and the jockey’s silks that it was, in fact, Sir Visto’s Derby.
William Haggas is the only current trainer with a 100% record in The Derby, following Shaamit’s win in 1996.
The Dante Stakes is named after the 1945 Derby winner, Dante, winner of the last wartime Derby run at Newmarket.
2010 Workforce became the first horse to be beaten in the Dante Stakes at York and then win The
Thomas Thornhill’s chestnut colt, Sailor, is the only horse to have won the Derby on his actual third
birthday – May 18, 1820
Wild Dayrell was the first Derby
winner to be photographed.
Piggott had his first Derby
ride in 1951, at the age of 15, on Zucchero. The temperamental colt, although
unplaced in the Derby,
returned to Epsom in 1953, with Lester aboard, and won the Coronation Cup.
Time, second in the Derby
to Tulyar in 1952, unshipped the young Lester Piggott when passing the winning
post and galloped off in the direction of Chalk Lane. Recaptured by a local
stable lad, the colt was brought back 20 minutes later for Piggott to weigh in.
At the time of the first Derby, the racing colours of the 12th Earl of Derby were “green with white stripe.” In 1787, in order to avoid confusion with another owner’s silks, he changed to “black with white cap,”which ongoing Earl’s of Derby have continued to use.
The largest ever entry for The Derby was
920 in 1974 – 18 ran.
The smallest entry for The Derby was 17 in
1917 – 12 ran.
Thirty-two jockeys have ridden both the winner of The Derby and The Oaks in the same year; Ryan Moore, with Workforce and Snow Fairy, was the latest in 2010.
The only winner whose odds were not
recorded was Didelot in 1796.
Between 1780 and 1836, The Derby got under way
by the starter shouting “Go!”.
Geldings were allowed to run in The Derby until 1906 – none won, but
Curzon, also a half-bred, finished second to Sir Visto in 1895.
Fred Archer rode five winners of The Derby in
the 10 years, 1877-1886. Ormonde, who gave him his final victory, is widely
regarded as the best Derby
winner of the 19th century
after Motivator won the 2005 Derby,
the best part of the Royal Ascot Racing Club’s 230 members crammed into the
winner’s enclosure, so doubling the number of Derby-winning owners at a stroke.
winners have been bred in Canada
– Nijinsky (1970) and The Minstrel (1977).
Kisber (1876) is the only Derby winner bred
broadcast their first commentary on The Derby on this day in 1927.
In 1900 the bay colt, Diamond Jubilee, born in 1897 (the year of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee), won the Triple
Crown for his owner/breeder Edward, Prince of Wales.