History of the Ohio Derby
The Ohio Derby is one of the most popular horse racing events in the second half of the year and takes place annually at Thistledown Racecourse in June. There have been some prestigious winners of the race throughout its history, and below we will go through some of the historical moments that make it one of the most enthralling meetings in the United States.
Early Beginnings And Winners
The history of the Ohio Derby hasn’t just been full of bright moments, as it was scrapped for a short while in 1883. The first renewal of the race took place in 1876, with Bombay winning the race. However, after just eight renewals of the now-Grade 3 race, it was removed from the calendar. Winners during its initial eight-year spell included Bootjack, Harper, and Pilot.
It wasn’t until 1924 that the race made its comeback. That year’s renewal remains one of the most famous runnings of the race, as it was won by Kentucky Derby winner Black Gold. Black Gold’s victory ensured that the Ohio Derby was a race that the most talented horses in training would target for years to come. However, the race hasn’t always taken place at its current location, as it was also hosted at Bainbridge Park for a short period.
Grade 3 Status
The status of the race has also altered throughout its history. Back in 2009, the date of the race was re-arranged, as it took place in October as part of the Best of Ohio meeting. At that time, it was a Grade 2, but it was downgraded five years later in 2014 and became a stakes race. However, it would regain graded status three years later, as it was given Grade 3 status.
There were a number of illustrious winners of the race during its time as a Grade 2. Deputy Glitters won the race in 2006, as well as winning the Tampa Bay Stakes earlier in the season. Brass Hat would also claim a victory in the Ohio Derby early in his career. The horse trained by William Bradley would later claim success in the Louisville Handicap and Sycamore Stakes. Magic Weisner, who was second in the Preakness Stakes in 2002, went on to win the Ohio Derby later in the same season.
Likely Contenders in 2021
Some of the most exciting three-year-olds in training will be targeting the Ohio Derby this year. Two previous Grade 3 winners are both likely entries for the race this year, with King Fury and Promise Keeper both expected to be towards the top of the betting. King Fury bypassed the Triple Crown races this season for a strong challenge at the graded races in the second half of the season. The G1 Lexington Stakes winner will be heading to the Ohio Derby before a tilt at the G1 Travers Stakes later in the year.
Promise Keeper has also been showing signs of improvement. His first graded run came in the G2 Tampa Bay Derby, where he finished 12th, but he stormed to the first victory in graded company when winning the G3 Peter Pan Stakes in May. Proxy and Hozier are two other horses that look set to challenge for the Ohio Derby in 2021.
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