Who was the first grey horse to win the Kentucky Derby?

In 2007, Ray York with Calvin Borel at the Kentucky Derby Museum

Kentucky Derby Questions FAQs

Kentucky Derby Tours gets lots of questions each year about the Kentucky Derby. We thought we would share some of the questions and our answers on our blog. Here goes…

Who was the first gray horse to win the Kentucky Derby?

The first gray horse to win the Run for the Roses was Determine in 1954. He was a very small horse, estimated to weigh only about 870 pounds. He was so small that the man who bought him for $12,000, a California automobile dealer named Andrew J. Crevolin, said he “…must have been standing in a hole when he inspected the colt.” His breeder offered to take him back, but Crevolin refused, explaining that he might be letting a Kentucky Derby winner get away.

Despite his size, Determine managed to win several Kentucky Derby prep races in California including the Santa Anita Derby.

On May 1, 1954 Determine was ridden by Ray York in the Kentucky Derby. Right out of the gate, York was almost unseated. Timely Tip cut over badly from the outside. In what Churchill Downs describes as one of the roughest Derbys ever run, Determine stayed on his feet, and York stayed in the saddle.

In 2009, Kentucky Derby winning jockey Ray York joined Kentucky Derby Tours to come back to Louisville, Kentucky. Ray and his friend, Ms. Michael Mc Kay spent the week with Kentucky Derby Tours enjoying the sights and sounds of the Derby week. Ray joined other Kentucky Derby winning jockeys and put his signature in cement at the ‘Gallop to Glory’ exhibit at the Galt House Hotel on the riverfront in Louisville. He also signed the starting gate at the Kentucky Derby Museum.

There was a funny scene on the day after Derby at the Kentucky Derby Museum. Ray ran into Calvin Borel, who won the Kentucky Derby with Mine That Bird. Ray warmly greeted Calvin and said “Welcome to my Club”.

The second gray horse to win the Derby was Determines son, Decidedly in 1962.

Will a grey horse win the 2012 Kentucky Derby?