By Mint Julep

1981 Pleasant Colony Kentucky Derby Winner

1981 pleasant colony kentucky derby winner

Join us on an exciting adventure into the thrilling world of horse racing. In 1981, Pleasant Colony, guided by jockey Jorge Velásquez and trainer John P. Campo, overcame all odds to win the prestigious Kentucky Derby. Experience the intense race at Churchill Downs surrounded by cheering fans as Pleasant Colony’s incredible skill and determination lead him to victory in this historic event.

Early Life and Family Background

Born in 1978 from the impressive lineage of His Majesty and Sun Colony, Pleasant Colony was destined for fame right from his very first steps. Bred by Thomas Mellon Evans of Virginia, this chestnut colt had a special mix of speed and stamina that made him stand out among his peers. Back then, no one could have guessed that he would later become a well-known name associated with victory on the racetrack.

As Pleasant Colony grew into a strong competitor on the racing scene, it quickly became clear that he had a natural talent for surpassing his rivals. With every stride he took, he displayed elegance and power, captivating everyone who watched his exciting performances unfold. Under the expert guidance of trainer John P. Campo and jockey Jorge Velásquez, Pleasant Colony polished his skills to perfection as he prepared for one of horse racing’s most prestigious events—the Kentucky Derby.

The year 1981 marked an important moment in Pleasant Colony’s career when he entered Churchill Downs amidst throngs of excited spectators eagerly awaiting the race ahead. The air buzzed with anticipation as fans placed their bets on which contender would emerge victorious in “the most thrilling two minutes in sports.” Every heartbeat seemed to echo like hoofbeats thundering down the track while Pleasant Colony stood ready to make history.

When those starting gates swung open like floodgates releasing raw horsepower onto sacred grounds, Pleasant Colony surged forward with unwavering determination—a symphony of muscle and sinew propelling him toward destiny. As hooves pounded against the earth rhythmically syncing with beating hearts around him, time felt suspended until crossing that finish line crowned him champion—a testament to sheer willpower combined with unmatched athleticism—forever etching himself into Kentucky Derby legends.

Introduction to Racing

In 1981, at Churchill Downs, an exciting moment unfolded as Pleasant Colony made his mark on history by winning the Kentucky Derby. Jockey Jorge Velásquez skillfully guided him to victory with unwavering determination, igniting cheers from fans near and far.

Under the careful guidance of trainer John P. Campo, Pleasant Colony became a dominant force on the racetrack through meticulous care and strategic training. With every powerful stride he took, his confidence shone brightly like a beacon in the twilight as he gracefully conquered each furlong like a true champion.

Buckland Farm played a crucial role in nurturing Pleasant Colony’s talents to greatness, creating an environment where he could flourish under their watchful eyes. The strong bond between horse and owner strengthened with every win, showcasing unity that deeply resonated within the world of horse racing.

Breeder Thomas Mellon Evans’ vision came to fruition as Pleasant Colony raced towards glory at Churchill Downs. His deep understanding of bloodlines intertwined perfectly to produce this magnificent athlete destined for immortality in racing history.

The atmosphere crackled with excitement as spectators held their breath witnessing history being made right before their eyes. In that thrilling moment when hooves thundered across sacred ground, Pleasant Colony cemented his place among legends – forever remembered as a symbol of resilience, speed, and triumph against all odds.

The Pros & Cons of Racing Legends: Pleasant Colony


  1. In 1981, Pleasant Colony won the Kentucky Derby in a spectacular fashion, cementing his place as a legendary racehorse.

  2. His impressive lineage and breeding played a key role in his success on the racetrack.

  3. Thanks to his ability to excel in both dirt and turf races, he proved to be a versatile competitor.

  4. Fans were drawn to Pleasant Colony's charming personality, making him a beloved icon within the racing community.

  5. Even today, his remarkable story serves as an inspiration for upcoming generations of horses and fans alike.


  1. Pleasant Colony won the Kentucky Derby, but he couldn't keep up the momentum in his following races and didn't manage to clinch any more major wins.

  2. Injuries at different times during his career held him back from achieving even greater success on the racetrack.

  3. The pressure of meeting sky-high expectations after winning the Derby might have affected how well he performed in later races.

  4. After retiring, having limited chances to breed may have reduced his lasting impact on the sport.

  5. Some critics suggest that external factors prevented Pleasant Colony from reaching his full potential as a racehorse.

Kentucky Derby Victory

At the exciting race day in Churchill Downs, Pleasant Colony stole the show with his amazing skills. Jockey Jorge Velásquez expertly guided him through a crowded field, showing off exceptional horsemanship as they raced towards victory.

Under the guidance of trainer John P. Campo, Pleasant Colony’s smart training routine paid off big time on that important Derby day. Each powerful stride showed determination and elegance, proving how well both the trainer and horse worked together to achieve their shared goal of winning at one of racing’s biggest events.

The owner of Buckland Farm must have felt pure joy as their star horse crossed the finish line first. The hard work put into breeding by Thomas Mellon Evans had finally paid off with this impressive win—a moment forever remembered in Thoroughbred racing history.

As Pleasant Colony enjoyed his well-earned fame after the race, it seemed like a new chapter was beginning for this incredible colt. His legacy would live on long past that memorable event—celebrated by fans who saw his greatness firsthand at the Kentucky Derby or heard about it later in stories highlighting equine excellence.

Jockey and Trainer

Jorge Velásquez skillfully guided Pleasant Colony through a crowded field at Churchill Downs, showcasing his expert touch and deep understanding of the colt’s abilities. With precision, he positioned the horse for success and led them confidently to victory.

Under John P. Campo’s careful training regimen, Pleasant Colony transformed into a fierce competitor on race day. The trainer’s dedication to conditioning paid off as they surged down the home stretch, leaving their rivals in awe with an impressive display of strength and speed.

The unbeatable team of Jorge Velásquez and John P. Campo propelled Pleasant Colony to glory at the 1981 Kentucky Derby. Their partnership demonstrated how synergy between jockey and trainer can elevate a thoroughbred to greatness on racing’s biggest stage.

Velásquez and Campo worked together seamlessly towards Buckland Farm’s dream of Derby triumph. Each stride taken by Pleasant Colony under their guidance made history—a story woven from hard work, determination, and unwavering belief in their champion’s potential.

In Thoroughbred racing lore, this dynamic duo—Velásquez guiding from above while Campo fine-tuned below—stands as proof that talent paired with dedication can lead to remarkable achievements amidst the thundering hooves echoing across Churchill Downs’ hallowed grounds that memorable day in May 1981.

1981 Kentucky Derby Top 20 Finishers Snapshot

Finished Post Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Time / behind
1st 4 Pleasant Colony Jorge Velásquez John P. Campo Buckland Farm 2:02.00
2nd 6 Woodchopper Eddie Delahoussaye John M. Gaver Jr. Greentree Stable
3rd 12 Partez Sandy Hawley D. Wayne Lukas Elizabeth Davis / Mr. & Mrs. Henry Greene
4th 16 Classic Go Go Anthony S. Black Jerry C. Meyer Verne Winchell
5th 19 Television Studio David Whited Anthony L. Basile Bwamazon Farm
6th 5 Pass the Tab Laffit Pincay Jr. Albert S. Barrera Leopoldo Villareal
7th 3 Splendid Spruce Darrel McHargue Chay R. Knight Surf and Turf Stable
8th 11 Flying Nashua Angel Cordero Jr. Larry Barrera Dr. Ulf Kirkegaard-Jensen
9th 2 Noble Nashua Cash Asmussen Jose A. Martin Flying Zee Stable
10th 8 Bold Ego John L. Lively Jack Van Berg Double B Ranch & Kidd
11th 13 Double Sonic Buck Thornburg George Krnjaich Elias Brothers
12th 15 Hoedown’s Day Thomas Chapman Roger Dominquez Mr. & Mrs. Roger Dominguez & Marie Freidel
13th 18 Beau Rit Phil Rubbicco Louie J. Roussel III Carole Roussel
14th 10 Tap Shoes Ruben Hernandez Horatio Luro Leone J. Peters & Arthur B. Hancock III
15th 9 Cure the Blues Bill Shoemaker LeRoy Jolley Bert Firestone
16th 7 Well Decorated Don MacBeth Eugene Jacobs Herbert A. Allen Sr.
17th 20 Mythical Ruler Kevin Wirth Fred Wirth Albert Risen
18th 1A Proud Appeal Jeffrey Fell Stanley M. Hough M. H. Winfield & S. M.Hough
19th 17 Top Avenger Larry Snyder Dwight Viator W. P. "Buster" Bishop
20th 14 Habano Bennie R. Feliciano Francisco Gonzalez Marco Coello
21st 1 Golden Derby Julio C. Espinoza Smiley Adams Frederick N. Lehmann & John R. Gaines

Owner and Breeder

Buckland Farm proudly owned Pleasant Colony during his incredible racing career and played a crucial role in guiding him towards success. Their unyielding support and dedication to his training were key in shaping him into the strong competitor that stole hearts at the Kentucky Derby. As he raced down the final stretch at Churchill Downs, it was Buckland Farm’s vision and commitment that fueled every powerful stride.

Thomas Mellon Evans from Virginia, the brilliant breeder behind Pleasant Colony’s exceptional lineage, carefully crafted a champion through generations of selective breeding. His expertise in pairing top-quality bloodlines paid off with this amazing colt who embodied grace and speed on the track. The echoes of Thomas Mellon Evans’ foresight rang through history as Pleasant Colony surged forward to seize victory amidst an electric atmosphere at one of horse racing’s most esteemed events.

In their synchronized journey towards triumph at Churchill Downs, both owner Buckland Farm and breeder Thomas Mellon Evans made a lasting impact on Thoroughbred racing with Pleasant Colony’s breathtaking performance. Their partnership symbolized not just success but also respect for equine excellence—a blend of passion and precision that elevated them beyond mere participants to legends in their own right.

The legacy left by Buckland Farm as owners and Thomas Mellon Evans as breeders is forever etched in horse racing lore thanks to their shared belief in nurturing greatness. Through their combined efforts, they propelled Pleasant Colony into the spotlight where he wowed spectators with his raw talent and untamed spirit—a testament to what can be achieved when determination meets destiny under the iconic spires of Churchill Downs.

Attendance at Churchill Downs

In 1981, on a thrilling May day at Churchill Downs, a crowd of 139,195 passionate racing fans gathered for the historic Kentucky Derby. The atmosphere was electric with excitement and anticipation as everyone eagerly awaited the big race.

As the bugle call announced the start of “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports,” a hush fell over the spectators. Each horse thundered down the track, their hooves pounding against history while jockeys guided them towards victory. Cheers and gasps filled every corner of Churchill Downs as one horse stood out from the rest like a shooting star in an indigo sky.

Pleasant Colony made his mark that unforgettable day at Churchill Downs. With Jorge Velásquez’s expert guidance and John P. Campo’s strategic training program supported by Buckland Farm and Thomas Mellon Evans’ exceptional breeding skills – this majestic bay colt wrote his name among legends with each stride towards triumph amidst those cheering stands.

Fascinating Tales of the Derby Champion

  1. ### The Exciting Story of the 1981 Kentucky Derby Winner: Pleasant Colony

  2. **Unique Training Routine**: Pleasant Colony, under the guidance of trainer John P. Campo, stood out for his unusual training techniques. Campo would frequently bring him to the beach for workouts in the ocean, believing it enhanced the horse's muscles and boosted his endurance.

  3. **Just Missed Triple Crown Glory**: Following a victory at the 1981 Kentucky Derby, Pleasant Colony finished second in both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, narrowly missing out on winning all three races known as Triple Crown.

  4. **Jockey Drama Unfolds**: Jockey Jorge Velasquez rode Pleasant Colony to triumph at the 1981 Kentucky Derby. However, controversy arose when he decided to switch horses for subsequent events in the Triple Crown series – a move that might have affected Pleasant Colony's performance.

  5. **Successful Offspring Legacy**: As a sire post-racing career, Pleasure County had numerous successful offspring who excelled on racetracks across generations – showcasing their prowess even today.

  6. **Lasting Impact**: Despite falling short of clinching Triple Crown glory, Pleasure County remains celebrated as one of history’s most remarkable racehorses from past Kentuck Derbies due to his determination speed and unique training methods – continuing to captivate fans young and old alike with enthusiasm.

Post-kentucky Derby Performances

After winning the Kentucky Derby, Pleasant Colony continued to dominate in his races, showcasing his incredible skill and determination. Jockey Jorge Velásquez expertly guided him through tough tracks, strengthening their partnership on the racetrack.

Trainer John P. Campo’s smart training techniques played a key role in keeping Pleasant Colony at his best after the Derby win. His knowledge ensured that the champion horse was always ready to take on strong competitors and deliver top-notch performances race after race.

The unwavering support from owner Buckland Farm was crucial for Pleasant Colony’s success post-Kentucky Derby. Their dedication to providing excellent care for the horse showed a deep commitment to nurturing his talent throughout his racing career.

Breeder Thomas Mellon Evans’ careful breeding program set a solid foundation for Pleasant Colony’s successes after the Derby victory. His expertise in bloodlines and genetic selection created an exceptional athlete capable of excelling under various racing conditions, further establishing Evans as a skilled breeder among Thoroughbred circles.

Pleasant Colony’s legacy goes beyond just one win – it represents resilience, excellence, and pure brilliance on the track. The excitement at Churchill Downs during that unforgettable Kentucky Derby triumph still resonates with fans today, immortalizing not only a moment but an enduring story of overcoming challenges in horse racing history.

Legacy of Pleasant Colony

In 1981, Pleasant Colony won the Kentucky Derby and solidified his reputation as a top-notch racehorse excelling on both dirt and turf tracks. His name became synonymous with determination and skill in the world of Thoroughbred racing.

The triumph was the result of John P. Campo’s rigorous training, jockey Jorge Velásquez’s expert riding, strategic ownership by Buckland Farm, and Thomas Mellon Evans’ savvy breeding choices. Each person played a crucial role in molding Pleasant Colony into the champion he proved to be on that momentous day at Churchill Downs.

Excitement filled Churchill Downs as fans eagerly awaited the start of this prestigious race. The air crackled with energy as horses raced down the track, but it was Pleasant Colony who emerged victorious, leaving spectators amazed by his speed and tenacity.

Even decades after that memorable win, Pleasant Colony’s legacy remains a testament to hard work, dedication, and an unyielding love for horse racing. His tale not only inspires those in the sport but also reminds us how one exceptional horse can capture hearts and minds for generations to come.

Winning Time and Conditions

Pleasant Colony raced swiftly across the track at Churchill Downs, his strong strides covering the ground effortlessly. With Jorge Velásquez guiding him skillfully, they moved forward with a determination that seemed unstoppable. The crowd cheered loudly as he crossed the finish line in an impressive 2:02.00, setting a new record on that memorable Derby day.

The sun shone brightly above as Pleasant Colony displayed his incredible speed and endurance on the fast track. Every muscle worked together tirelessly after years of expert training under John P. Campo’s guidance. It was like watching poetry in motion as this magnificent horse and his skilled jockey maneuvered through competitors like a perfectly choreographed dance routine.

Buckland Farm must have felt their excitement building along with Pleasant Colony’s thundering hooves; each stride bringing them closer to victory at America’s most prestigious horse racing event. For breeder Thomas Mellon Evans, witnessing his creation dominate the field was akin to seeing an artist create a masterpiece before their eyes — pure magic unfolding right there on the racetrack.

As history was made at that Kentucky Derby race, Pleasant Colony left more than just hoofprints behind; he created a legacy destined to be remembered in Thoroughbred racing lore forever. His triumph echoed beyond Churchill Downs’ revered grounds, resonating through time as proof of talent and dedication from all involved parties — including owner Buckland Farm — and showcasing an unspoken bond between man and horse that transcends competition but embodies true partnership at its best.

Recognition as Champion

Pleasant Colony became a renowned champion in the horse racing world after winning the prestigious Kentucky Derby. With jockey Jorge Velásquez at the reins, Pleasant Colony showed incredible speed and stamina, leaving fans amazed. Trainer John P. Campo’s careful preparation was key to turning Pleasant Colony into a top contender.

At Churchill Downs, excitement filled the air as spectators cheered loudly. Pleasant Colony raced ahead confidently, showcasing his power and grace. Owner Buckland Farm beamed with pride as their prized colt triumphed on the track. Breeder Thomas Mellon Evans’ expertise in breeding proved successful once again as Pleasant Colony crossed the finish line first.

The 1981 Kentucky Derby victory solidified Pleasant Colony’s place in history as a beloved champion by fans worldwide. His determination and spirit captured hearts that day, symbolizing equine greatness for all to see. This story of success is a testament to hard work and dedication from everyone involved—a lasting legacy in horse racing lore for years to come.


1. Who was the jockey that rode Pleasant Colony to victory in the 1981 Kentucky Derby?

In the 1981 Kentucky Derby, Jockey Jorge Velásquez skillfully guided Pleasant Colony to a triumphant victory, demonstrating great teamwork with the talented colt.

2. What made Pleasant Colony's win at the Kentucky Derby in 1981 so remarkable?

Pleasant Colony amazed everyone with his win at the 1981 Kentucky Derby. He made a stunning comeback, showing off his incredible skills and determination while being expertly guided by jockey Jorge Velásquez and trainer John P. Campo.

3. Which farm owned Pleasant Colony during his racing career?

Buckland Farm owned Pleasant Colony throughout his impressive racing career.

4. Who was the trainer responsible for preparing Pleasant Colony for his Kentucky Derby triumph?

Trainer John P. Campo successfully trained Pleasant Colony for his exciting win at the 1981 Kentucky Derby.

5. What distinguished Pleasant Colony as a standout Thoroughbred in the history of horse racing?

Pleasant Colony's amazing abilities, along with jockey Jorge Velásquez, trainer John P. Campo, and the backing of owner Buckland Farm and breeder Thomas Mellon Evans, all played a crucial role in his impressive win at the 1981 Kentucky Derby. This victory firmly established him as a remarkable Thoroughbred in the history of horse racing.

6. How did breeder Thomas Mellon Evans contribute to Pleasant Colony's success on the racetrack?

Breeder Thomas Mellon Evans played a vital role in the success of Pleasant Colony on the racetrack. He carefully chose and bred high-quality bloodlines to create a powerful and skilled racehorse.