1970 Derby Winner Dust Commander honored at Kentucky Derby Museum

Kentucky Derby trophy of 1970 winner Dust Commander

On Monday, July 8, 2013 at 10:30 AM, connections of the 1970 Kentucky Derby gathered in the Kentucky Derby Museum’s garden to honor Dust Commander after his death nearly twenty two years ago. The Kentucky Derby Museum press release continued that the Derby winning trainer (Don Combs), jockey (Mike Manganello) and owner (Verna Lehmann) were all in attendance for a short ceremony before the burial.

The Kentucky Derby Museum and the newly organized Thoroughbred Breeders Museum, Inc (TBM) in Paris, KY, in a joint collaborative effort, located the original burial site of 1970 Kentucky Derby Winner, Dust Commander. Both museums worked with Sparks Enterprise landscaping to exhume and transport his remains to his final resting place. The remains of Dust Commander were buried in an unmarked location on a Paris, KY farm that later changed ownership and the property was divided. Family members of the winning owner have been searching for Dust Commander’s burial site for many years and uncovered his remains on Friday, July 5th at Woodline Farm.

The husband of Verna Lehmann’s granddaughter, Hardy Dungan, a local veterinarian and forensic scientist has been assisting Lehmann in her quest to find Dust Commander’s remains. Dr. Hardy and Cristal Dungan are the co-Founders of the newly developing Thoroughbred Breeders Museum located in Paris, Ky.

Lehmann says, “myself and the entire Lehmann family are sincerely grateful to all those involved in locating the lost remains of Dust Commander. It gives all of us and all of the fans who loved this horse, final closure and peace, knowing that his final resting place will be at the Derby Museum.”

The skeleton of Dust Commander was placed in a handcrafted box and brought to the Kentucky Derby Museum which is adjacent to Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY. Dust Commander will be buried next to four other Derby winners honored on the Museum’s property: Carry Back (1961), Swaps (1955), Brokers Tip (1933), and Sunny’s Halo (1983).

“Dust Commander’s Kentucky Derby victory will now be celebrated with daily visits through the Museum’s garden area as our guests visit the gravesites of these tremendous athletes,” said Lynn Ashton, the Museum’s executive director.

After being retired, Dust Commander stood at stud at Golden Chance Farm, owned by Robert Lehmann. He later stood at stud in Japan, at Gainesway Farm and finally at Springland Farm where he died on October 7, 1991. Dust Commander sired a total of 15 stakes winners. His most notable progeny was the 1975 Preakness winner Master Derby and multiple graded stakes winner Run Dusty Run.