A Missouri Horse Wins the Kentucky Derby: May 2, 1904

Elwood in 1904
Public Domain

On this day in 1904, Elwood won The Kentucky Derby. He was the first (and so far only) horse to win the Derby who was foaled in Missouri. He was born in Maryville. Elwood was also the first Derby winner bred and owned by a woman, Emma Holt Prather.

On Derby Day, he was last in the five-horse field until the final eighth-mile, closing under jockey Frank “Shorty” Prior for a half-length triumph over Ed Tierney. The winning time was 2:08, a middling time in the full history of the Derby, but respectable for the era. Elmwood was trained by Charles Durnell.

At 15-1, Elwood was the longest shot in the field. He had run in some $300 claiming races in California, and was referred to as the “Missouri mule” leading into the Derby.