Sports

Has a gray horse ever won the Kentucky Derby?

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Essential Quality is set to go off as the overwhelming favorite in the 147th Run for the Roses.

Essential Quality is set to go off as the overwhelming favorite in the 147th Run for the Roses.
Illustration: AP

There’s this phrase in thoroughbred racing, it goes one of two ways: “always bet the grays” or “never bet the grays.” [Ed. note: My uncles were firmly in the “never” category — R.O.]

Superstitious? Sure. Valid? Well, it depends on who you ask. But in one particular big race, it’s pretty one-sided.

The Kentucky Derby’s 147th Run for the Roses is on Saturday. But only eight grays have ever trotted into the winners circle. And we haven’t had a gray winner since 2005.

So, yes, a gray horse has won before but it’s exceedingly rare. And you thought a Triple Crown was!

This year, there are two gray horses in the running: Essential Quality and Soup and Sandwich.

Essential Quality is undefeated and a 2-1 favorite in this year’s Run for the Roses. The colt is also the first gray horse favored to win the Derby in 25 years. So could this actually be the year to bet on Gray?

If he wins, he would join this rare breed of champions.

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