Thoroughbred Racing Fan Association, Inc.
WHAT HORSE WAS THE FIRST TO WIN THE ARKANSAS DERBY AND THE BREEDERS CUP CLASSIC?
This weekend’s Arkansas Derby (GI) offers enough qualifying points to earn a stall for the winner in the Kentucky Derby just three weeks away. 1936 marked the inaugural running of the race at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs Arkansas. It became a grade one race in 2010 and the premier race for 3-year-olds prepping for the Kentucky Derby. Although a great race, the Kentucky Derby does hold the same prestige in the eyes of many owners and breeders. The Breeders’ Cup Classic owns that distinction among most horsemen in the industry. Only tree horse in the race’s 84-year history have won the Arkansas Derby and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. This may change in the 85th running of the race this year. The most recent for this dual effort was American Pharoah (2015) who won the Triple Crown on his way to the Classic. Fifteen years earlier Curlin got combined wins in these two races. However, the first horse to do it did it in 1994, just 10 years after the initial running of the Breeders’ Cup races in 1984. The horse was Concern, trained by Richard W. Small and owned and bred by Robert E. Meyerhoff. Two jockeys combined for the feat; Garrett Gomez brought him home the Arkansas Derby while Jerry Bailey did the job in the 1994 Breeders’ Cup Classic.