Aristrides May 17 1875
Owner H.P. McGrath rests on the rail as Aristides and jockey Oliver Lewis go to the post.
The original grandstand is in the background with the clubhouse at the far left.
The first Kentucky Derby drew 42 nominations and 15 entries. The stakes were $50.00 from each entry with $1000.00 added by the Louisville Racing Association, as it was then called. The trophy was a magnificent 300-ounce silver punch bowl valued at $1,000.00.
Ten thousand racing fans streamed out to Churchil Downs on this warm spring day. Many headed for the infield in horse-drawn wagons, buggies, carts and carriages. The clubhouse was a different scene. Ladies were dressed fashionably in long organdy gowns, ten-button gloves and large, elaborate hats. Betters favored the traditional auctions pools over the newly introduced pari-mutual system from
France and bookies took bets as low as a nickel.Under the stands elderly black women fried fish and chicken, while on the track 14 of the 15 jockeys going to the post were black.
The flag fell, the drum rolled, and they were off. Volcano took the lead, then eased back. McGrath's second horse, Chesapeake, broke last. At the half-mile pole McCreery led but soon fell behind Aristides and Ten Broeck. Aristides held the lead at the mile and McGrath, seeing his Chesapeake out of the money, signaled jockey Oliver Lewis to take Aristides in for the win.
Aristides won with Volcano second and late charger Verdigris third. The time of 2:373/4 set an American record for three-year0olds, with 100 pounds up, over one-and-a-half miles. The "Little Red Horse," as McGrath referred to his 15-hands-high colt, had won $2,850.00 for him,a rich purse for the day.
Price McGrath was a noted horse breeder and had earned for himself a colorful reputation. He had heeded the call to "go west young man," then settled in New York where he operated a gambling house. Returning to Kentucky, he established McGrathiana Stud. His white mansion became famous for burgoo feasts (a local stew, still made around here) and he frequently opened his doors to the public.
Courtsy of the Web
Horse racing and photos.
For years the Kentucky Colonels of Kentucky held a huge feast in Bardstown at Wickland Home of three govenors on the Sunday after the Derby with burgoo as the main draw.
Just about three years ago that festival was discontinued as it had become a political mess and the crowds had began to diminish.
Go here for more Sepia Saturday.
Folks every where will be gathered tomorrow for the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby.
I went to the derby one time when I was about 19 to the infield.
What a mess.
I have never been again.
But I love the hoopla of the entire Derby week.
Most folks around here go on Friday for the