Kentucky Derby Winners by Horse Color
So far, bay horses have been the most successful in the Derby, taking home the trophy for their happy connections 54 times. Chestnuts checked in as runner-up with 48 winners, brown runners have been victorious 17 times to complete the color trifecta, while dark bay/brown runners have crossed the wire in front 11 times. Grays/roans have won eight times, four times for black and three for dark bays.
The last bay to win the Derby – Nyquist, 2016 L
The last chestnut to win the Derby — Country House, 2019
The last dark bay/brown to win the Derby — Always Dreaming, 2017
The last gray/roan to win the Derby – Giacomo, 2005
The last black to win the Derb — Flying Ebony 1925
In 1962, the Jockey Club merged the dark bay & brown color classifications to dark bay/brown. In 1993, gray and roan were merged to gray/roan.
Kentucky Derby Horse Color Trends
There’s an old saying in racing about betting gray horses on rainy days but this year, without any rain on September 5 likely in Louisville, the old adage will be on the shelf. However since 1930, 107 gray horses have started, producing the aforementioned eight winners for a 7.5 percent strike rate. Both 1968 and 1981 had the most gray starters with five a piece. This year, four of the probable starters are gray – Ny Traffic, Enforceable, Rushie and Winning Impression.
Miriam Lee has always been a horse racing fan thanks to trips to the tracks in her home state of Maryland with her father as kid. She owns an OTTB and is an advocate for promoting the sport among her peers. Miriam studies communication arts at Hood College and will receive her master’s degree in 2021, which she plans to use for a career in screenwriting. Her all-time favorite racehorse is Man O War.