A Kentucky Derby winner is exalted and memorialized. But what does the future typically hold for the worst of the laggards in the Run for the Roses, the horses who finish dead last in America’s most venerated race? How often do these dawdlers have racing careers that compensate for such a dismal performance on the first Saturday in May?
The answer, at least for the past ten Kentucky Derby runnings, is frequently.
Here are the nine colts and one gelding who finished last (either 19th or 20th) in the Kentucky Derby from 2005-2014, followed by their career earnings and career race records.
2005 High Limit, $922,500, 12 starts, 5 wins, 1 place, 1 show
2006 Keyed Entry, $322,852, 12 starts, 4 wins, 1 place, 1 show
2007 Cowtown Cat, $562,228, 16 starts, 4 wins, 1 place, 2 shows
2008 Monba, $669,034, 10 starts, 3 wins, 0 places, 2 shows
2009 Flying Private, $346,203, 20 starts, 2 wins, 6 places, 1 show
2010 Backtalk, $405,051, 15 starts, 4 wins, 4 places, 3 shows
2011 Comma To The Top, $1,349,406, 33 starts, 14 wins, 3 places, 2 shows
2012 Daddy Long Legs, $1,348,231, 16 starts, 3 wins, 0 places, 0 shows
2013 Falling Sky, $420,118, 14 starts, 5 wins, 1 place, 2 shows
2014 Vicar’s In Trouble, $1,228,292, 11 starts, 4 wins, 1 place, 4 shows
Kentucky Derby’s “biggest losers” from 2005-2014 have average career earnings of $757,392. Three of them earned over $1 million and another earned close to a million dollars. They had 159 combined career starts with 48 wins, 18 places, and 18 shows. This equates to 52.8 percent in the money and a 30.2 win percentage.
Two of the ten last-place finishers were conditioned by Hall of Fame trainers (Robert Frankel and D. Wayne Lukas), two were conditioned by a certain future Hall of Fame trainer (Todd Pletcher), and one was conditioned by Europe’s leading trainer (Aidan O’Brien). In summary, half of the last-place finishers in the Kentucky Derby from 2005-2014 were conditioned by four of the best trainers in the modern era in the United States and Europe.
Whichever colt in Kentucky Derby 141 passes under the Churchill Downs finish line in last place won’t receive any accolades and his connections will likely be disappointed if not embarrassed. Yet recent history suggests that tomorrow offers a fresh start and redemption is ultimately a distinct possibility.
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