Kentucky Derby: Pick a Letter, Any Letter, but ‘S’ Delivers
By US Racing Team
For those who prefer to bypass the past performances of the horses running in the 146th Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5, here’s one alternative: Bet the letters!
Thanks to Churchill Downs, we can provide you with all the intel you’ll need to go with the first letter of a horse’s name. The biggest Derby-winning letter is S – as in Storm the Court, Sole Volante and Shirl’s Speight, this year’s S horses.
So, if you like letters and long shots — and all three will pay handsomely – then S is your letter.
Among the S-winning Derby winners are three Triple Crown winners: Sir Barton (1919), Secretariat (1973) and Seattle Slew (1977). The others: Spokane (1889); Sir Huron (1906); Stone Street (1908); Shut Out (1942); Swaps (1955); Spectacular Bid (1979); Sunny’s Halo (1983) Swale (1984); Spend a Buck (1985); Sunday Silence (1989); Strike the Gold (1991); Sea Hero (1993); Silver Charm (1997); Smarty Jones (2004); Street Sense (2007); and Super Saver (2010).
Second biggest winning letter – it’s a tie between B and C with 13 apiece. The most recent B winner was Big Brown in 2008; the most recent C winner was Country House in 2019 (Country House finished second but was declared the winner after first-place finisher Maximum Security was disqualified for interference).
There are no B horses in this year’s Derby, and Caracaro is your only C choice.
If you like Tiz the Law, the likely Derby favorite, the letter T has won five Derbies, the most recent being Thunder Gulch in 1995.
Here’s a list of winners, followed by the number of starters for each letter and the most recent horse to win with that letter:
Note: Statistics from 2020 Kentucky Derby Media Guide
|I||2||41||I’ll Have Another||2012|
|L||7||81||Lil E. Tee||1992|
|M||9||117||Mine That Bird||2009|