Through The Years:  Reminiscing The 5 Biggest Kentucky Derby Conquerors

What’s the best thing about a horse? These beings are not only part of your farms. Horses are destined to become mighty racehorses that can compete in the world’s best-thoroughbred racing. They don’t only have the chance to win big prizes but gain the experience and the achievements that these competitions have to offer.

As the new year starts, many horse racing shows are in line to showcase the toughest horses on earth. In fact, the Kentucky Derby, known as one of the world’s richest horse racing is back on track. After getting postponed to September last year, the Run For The Roses lit the U.S. Triple Crown fire again from April 30 to May 1, 2020.

Although there are no official entrants yet to this year’s Derby, the horse racing community is eyeing who will be this year’s greatest racehorse conqueror. Some are ready to start betting on a winning horse. While there are still many races that will occur before the Derby, let’s meet the most impressive Kentucky Derby heroes in the past years.

Authentic (2020)

Authentic was probably one of the quietest racehorses last year. He is a horse that did his stint surely by picking the races to join. Bob Baffert and John R. Velazquez are the men behind Authentic’s success. During the first quarter of last year, he dominated right away in the Sham Stakes and San Felipe Stakes, where he won the title.

After that, he made his way to Santa Anita Derby and won second place. Authentic did not have second thoughts and bagged two of the most prominent titles: the Haskell Stakes and Breeder’s Cup Classic. During the Derby, he dispatched the undefeated Tiz The Law and took home the 2020 Run For The Roses prestige.

Country House (2019)

The Kentucky Derby 2019 was the most controversial year of the said event. Not only did it become the last episode before the spectators were banned from the show because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s also where the real Derby winner was disqualified. The Derby was the biggest headline since then but has fully redeemed last year.

Country House was declared as the 2019 Kentucky Derby winner after the Maximum Security got disqualified due to a pole bump. As such, Maximum Security withdrew all his entries at the same time Country House didn’t pursue his Triple Crown stint and retired due to an injury. Before winning the Derby, Country House was a big placer in the Risen Star Stakes, Louisiana Derby, and Arkansas Derby.

Justify (2018)

Bob Baffert had reached the peak of his training career when Justify successfully won the U.S. Triple Crown title in 2018. He became the recent winner of the most prestigious title, and until now, no one has snatched the title from him. Besides, Mike Smith became the most famous jockey after sending Justify to a landslide victory.

Before joining the U.S. Triple Crown showdown,  Justify competed at Santa Anita Derby. It was his first stakes racing show where he clinched the title flawlessly. After that, he conquered the Kentucky Derby crown and the two jewels of the Triple Crown. Justify is one of the Derby winners who’s most celebrated by the horse racing community.

Always Dreaming (2017)

Aside from Bob Baffert, Todd Pletcher is also one of the most sought after racehorse trainers in today’s generation. In 2017, his name became more famous when he trained Always Dreaming and earned the Run For The Roses title. Before appearing in the Derby, he debuted in the Florida Derby, where he also triumphed.

After winning the 2017 Kentucky, the road to the Triple Crown Series was a bit tough for this horse. He only placed 8th at the Preakness Stakes and missed the Belmont Stakes. Although he placed in some other races, Always Dreaming will stay as one of the Derby winners that made history at Churchill Downs.

Nyquist (2015)

In 2015, Nyquist made a historic win after winning a Juvenile-Derby double. He won the 2015 Kentucky Derby at the same time and earned the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Cup. This racehorse was trained by Doug F. O’Neill and ridden by Mario Gutierrez.

Besides winning the Derby, Nyquist was the only horse that made six consecutive victories before competing in the Run For The Roses. These races include  Best Pal Stakes, Del Mar Futurity, FrontRunner Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, San Vicente Stakes, and Florida Derby.


The road to the Kentucky Derby is not an easy task to fulfill. Aside from the tight competition and facing the strongest colts, the horses need to complete the Derby trails to earn qualifying points. Thus, a horse should remain tough and solid to earn the Kentucky Derby crown. With the biggest achievements the past five winners have achieved, the Derby will offer more in the coming years.