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Long Shot Winners at the Kentucky Derby

Updated on June 29, 2010
Mine That Bird, 2009 Kentucky Derby winner
Mine That Bird, 2009 Kentucky Derby winner

Earlier this year I spent the day at the local horseracing track. The main thing that we were doing was making small bets on the local races. However the big event of the day was the live television cast of the Kentucky Derby. I am not a regular better or even much of a horseracing fan and we weren’t at the actual event. Nevertheless, there’s something infectious about standing around with all of those excited people, eyes pinned on the screen hoping that the horse that you’ve selected is the one that will pull ahead of all of the rest.

Long Shot Winners Have a Shot at Kentucky Derby

As one of the three major races in the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby is a big deal in the world of horse racing. And it is one of the most interesting races to watch as an amateur better. That’s due, in part, to the fact that it is known for having a history of long shot winners. In fact, it has been won by long shot winners more than any other race has, thereby holding the ironic distinction of being the race that long shots stand a shot of winning. (To understand the irony, you have to understand that a long shot winner is a horse that has the greatest odds of winning against it but wins anyway.) Horses that were never expected to win the race seem to get as excited as the fans do at The Kentucky Derby, coming out of nowhere to steal the victory from the horses that were expected to win the crown. Of course, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes it is the favorite who wins after all. But the fact that long shot winners stand a chance at The Kentucky Derby makes it a really fun race to watch (and to bet on).

History of Kentucky Derby Long Shot Winners

Some of the most famous examples of long shot winners in the Kentucky Derby include:

·      Giacomo. The odds were a staggering 50:1 against this horse when he won the Kentucky Derby in 2005. The handful of people who did bet on him were thrilled when he beat the odds and won.

·      Donerail. If Giacomo’s fans were thrilled, they were nothing compared to the fans of Donerail who won the race back in 1913. The odds against this horse were 91:1 which is a long shot if you’ve ever heard of one!

·      Mine That Bird. The most recent long shot winner of the Kentucky Derby was the 2009 winner. The odds against him were similar to the odds against Giacomo but the payout worked out to be even better for the people who had bet for him. It was the second highest-winning payout in Kentucky Derby history, second only to the Donerail win.

·      Stone Street. This horse had odds against him of about 24:1. That’s not quite as big as some of these other long shot winners but he’s a noteworthy one because he was one of the first big long shot winners at the Kentucky Derby. He won the race in 1908.

Why We Love Long Shot Winners

The obvious reason that people love long shot winners is because if they bet on a long shot winner then they stand to win a lot of money. However, the love affair that we have with Kentucky Derby long shot winners goes beyond that to a more emotional place. There is a part of each of us that likes it when the underdog wins and that’s exactly what happens in a long shot win.


Submit a Comment

  • Wayne Brown profile image

    Wayne Brown 

    8 years ago from Texas

    This is no hoofed-NASCAR of which you speak. It's all about the spirit and the driven desire to win. People have it, animals sense it as displayed by these horses who ran their hearts out for a prize that was judged out of their reach. Sometimes I think that it why I write...its such a long shot that anything will ever come of it but I feel the determination and the drive when I attempt it and that makes life worth living regardless of the outcome. Thanks for a very good hub. WB

  • vrbmft profile image

    Vernon Bradley 

    8 years ago from Yucaipa, California

    Well, you answered my question on other hub regarding horseracing. Sounds like you're dabbling in betting on the horses. Sounds like fun and we will look forward to more blogs on how to bet and more importantly, how to win!


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