Tempo of Derby Set by Aristides: First Winner in 1875 Was Top Horse and Each since Has Been Classified Thus, Daily Racing Form, 1951-05-05


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i a | Tempo of Derby Set by Aristides First Winner in 1875 Was Top Horse and Each Since Has Been Classified Thus By LEON RASMUSSEN Staff Correspondent Aristides, the first winner of the Kentucky - Derby back in 1875, set a tempo for the stake that has never let down. He was a real good horse, one of the best of his year, and down through the decades it has taken that kind of horse to win this Run . for the Roses. Good and great horses of the American turf have graced the winners circle after the Blue Grass special. The . best horse not always has won it, but at least a truly bad one never has. , It was on May 17, 1875 — the first day of racing at Churchill Downs — that Aristides won the inaugural Kentucky Derby before e a young fellow of 14 by the name of Matt ,t J. Winn, who witnessed the running from n his dads buggy in the centerfield or the e limb of a tree the legend varies, along g with 10,000 other patrons. The "Little Red d Horse", as Aristides was popularly called d by the expressive turf writers of that day, r, raced a mile and a half in 2:37% and won Q by a length from Volcano and Verdigris. J. The also-rans, all good horses, included d Aristides brilliant arch-foe, Ten Broeck. Since that history-launching run, the e Derby has gained in tradition, largely because - of Matt Winns flair for sportsmanship, - until now the three-year-old classic c is acclaimed Americas greatest sporting g event, with crowds of 100,000 recruited d from every walk of life and every corner of »f the nation jamming rustic old Churchill 11 Downs for the brief two minutes and a few w seconds of action. But every second is a a throbbing, thrilling, wonderful measure of * time. Each second is a memory as the e horses break, run past th*1 historic stands ls the first time around, swarm into the clubhouse " turn, head down the backstretch, J» skirt the far turn and then charge for ,r home down the 1,234 V2 -foot stretch in the "" - . of . at , of e ,t n e g d d r, Q J. d e - - c g d of »f 11 w a a of * e ls " J» ,r "" supreme test of quality. What about Aristides? The "Little Red Horse," who started all this? Aristides was foaled in Kentucky in 1872 a chestnut son of Leamington and Sarong, a daughter of Lexington. It was through Aristides exploits in 1875 that Leamington broke the 14-year reign of Lexington as Americas leading sire. The chestnut colt first appeared on the race track at Lexington on May 12, 1874, and ran second in a half-mile sweepstakes. He then was shipped east and raced unplaced in the i Juveniles Stakes at old Jerome Park. In a Hopeful, then run at Long Branch, he was also unplaced. Racing six furlongs for the first time, he finished second in the Thespian Stakes, and again was tardy in the Saratoga Stakes at Saratoga. Next time out at the Spa he was sent a mile and he proved then that he was a colt who wanted to go on. He ran over his rivals in the stretch. Three times more he started as a juvenile, twice at a mile and once at three-quarters. Both | mile efforts were impressive victories, but he couldnt get up in time in the sprint. Adistides record as a juvenile showed only three wins in nine tries, but they all came in his last four races and stamped him as a colt of promise. As a sophomore in 1875, he wasnt long in proving his quality. Bows to Srablemate in Belmont First, he ran unplaced to Ten Broeck in the Phoenix Hotel Stakes at Lexington, then, a week later, drove to his history-making " win in the Kentucky Derby, • Shipped east, he followed his Derby score e ! with another in the Withers Stakes. In 1 j ; the Belmont Stakes on June 12, he ran J ! second to his stablemate, Calvin, when that r j colt was declared to win by his owner. It was obvious that Aristides was superior to 0 the winner throughout. Such equine titans Sl of the time as Chesapeake, Ozark and Tom a i I Ochiltree couldnt keep pace with him that day. In his other three-year-old engagements I he placed to Ozark in the Ocean Hotel J I Stakes, was third to DArtagnan in the I l Tr avers, captured the Jerome Stakes from j Calvin, Joe Cerns and Tom Ochiltree, raced ! unplaced in the Dixie behind Tom Ochil-* tree and then closed the season by winning the Breckenridge Stakes, besting Viator r i and Tom Ochiltree. At four, Aristides appeared but twice and Ji won both times, the most memorable victory being over Ten Broeck in tbe four- ARISTIDES — The Little Red Horse/ first winner of the Kentucky Derby, as he appeared to the eye of the artist seventy-seven years ago. " • ! e 1 j ; J ! r j year-old sweepstakes at two miles and a ■■ furlong. It was a terrific struggle — a des- j perate fight between two marvelous horses — but Aristides prevailed in the then un-J precedendted time of 3:45%. The son of, Leamington did not race at five, and ran but once, unplaced, at six. He died in 1893 at the Fair Grounds in St. Louis, hailed by turfgoers of that era as a horse of great courage.

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1950s/drf1951050501/drf1951050501_43_1
Local Identifier: drf1951050501_43_1
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800