As the Kentucky Derby draws near, there are some favorites - hey, Nyquist! - who'll be the bettors' choices. Then there's the handful of long shots that are sure to pepper the 20-horse field. But no one can top Donerail, the longest shot to ever win the race at 91-1.
In 1913, a three-year-old colt named Donerail stood in the winner's circle at Churchill Downs. He set a track record in the process, but the real highlight was the price he paid for his supporters: a $2 bet yielded $184.90 to a lucky bettor. That year also marked the introduction of pari-mutuel wagering via machines, a bettors' paradise, to the Derby.
Donerail strikes a pose. Image via Total Pro Sports.
Donerail wasn't only famous for his outrageous odds. His jockey had one of the most epic names to ever hit the track: Roscoe Goose. Dubbed the "Golden Goose" for his ability to guide winners home, the rider was also a Bluegrass State native, showing that this hometown boy had made good.
But the real highlight wasn't Donerail himself; it was the publicity that his epic triumph engendered for the Kentucky Derby. The brainchild behind making the Derby the premier race for three-year-olds in America, "Colonel" Matt Winn, was all about getting good press for his pet project.
Donerail's win added a dollop of excitement to this relatively new race (the race was first run fewer than 50 years earlier), and the Derby started to attract better and better horses. In 1915, the first filly to win the race, Regret, stormed to victory, while fellow long shot Exterminator, one of the grand old geldings of racing, claimed the Derby as his own in 1918.
Feature image via Mineola Farm/Pinterest.