By Mint Julep

Burgoo King Before and Beyond the Kentucky Derby

1932 burgoo king kentucky derby winner

Join us on an exciting journey through the remarkable career of Burgoo King, the champion of both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 1932. Learn about his beginnings at Idle Hour Stock Farm, witness his thrilling wins with jockey Eugene James, and lament the missed chance for Triple Crown glory due to unexpected events. Delve into Burgoo King’s later races, breeding success, and enduring influence on American Thoroughbred racing history as a symbol of achievements and challenges within the sport.

Early Life and Family Background

Burgoo King, born in 1929 at the Idle Hour Stock Farm near Lexington, Kentucky, belonged to Colonel Edward R. Bradley. He got his name from a local grocer known for his famous burgoo stew and was sired by Bubbling Over, who won the Kentucky Derby in 1926.

Champions ran through Burgoo King’s family tree as he could trace back his lineage to Exterminator and Sun Briar. Right from the start, it was clear that greatness was in his blood.

Colonel Bradley spared no expense when it came to raising and training Burgoo King for competition. The colt began showing promise early on with some impressive wins leading up to the highly anticipated Kentucky Derby.

Unfortunately, fate took a turn just days before the 1932 Kentucky Derby where Burgoo King was considered one of the favorites but suffered an injury that crushed his chances of racing. It was a tough blow for everyone rooting for him to triumph at Churchill Downs that day.

Introduction to Racing

Burgoo King started out in the racing world with a mix of wins and losses, not making much of an impression. With “Derby Dick” Thompson guiding him, he showed promise but hadn’t yet made a big impact on the track. Even though he did well in races like the Pimlico Futurity, Burgoo King wasn’t considered one of the top contenders among his fellow racers.

In 1932, things changed for Burgoo King as he began to reveal his true talent on the racetrack. He gained momentum with every stride and caught everyone’s attention as a real force to be reckoned with. His victories kept piling up, setting him apart from others in his league and positioning him as a serious contender for prestigious titles. The once underestimated colt was now causing ripples in the racing scene and laying down solid groundwork for what would become an outstanding career.

As Burgoo King raced towards greatness, spectators couldn’t help but be amazed by how he transformed from an underdog into a powerful frontrunner within American Thoroughbred racing circles. His journey from modest beginnings to becoming one of the sport’s most lauded champions showcases perseverance, skill, and unyielding determination that continue to inspire fans and budding riders alike even today.

The Pros & Cons of Racing Legends


  1. Inspiring the next wave of horse racing fans

  2. Offering fun and thrills to spectators

  3. Highlighting the amazing agility and elegance of thoroughbred horses

  4. Keeping alive the rich heritage and customs of the sport

  5. Contributing substantially to the industry's economic growth


  1. Horses and jockeys face a high risk of getting injured or even dying during races.

  2. The racing industry is under scrutiny for how well it takes care of animals' welfare.

  3. Horses often endure excessive training and stress to meet performance expectations, leading to burnout.

  4. Some individuals may develop addiction issues and financial troubles due to gambling on horse racing outcomes.

  5. Horse breeding, training, and transportation operations have a significant environmental impact due to their heavy resource consumption.

Triple Crown Bid and Kentucky Derby Victory

In 1932, the racing world was buzzing with excitement as Burgoo King shocked everyone by winning both the prestigious Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes titles! Guided by jockey Eugene James, this chestnut colt captivated spectators as he surged ahead of his rivals to claim victory. Despite being underestimated at Churchill Downs, Burgoo King proved he was the best that day.

Burgoo King’s triumph at the Kentucky Derby wasn’t just a win; it was a powerful statement—a reminder that talent can overcome any odds. As he raced towards glory in the final stretch, hearts pounded alongside him, urging him to cross that finish line first. His story resonated with fans everywhere, sparking passion for this determined horse whose spirit knew no limits.

The impact of Burgoo King’s victories echoed across racetracks nationwide like a beautiful melody that lingered long after each race ended. Every step he took seemed to carve his name deeper into Thoroughbred history—a testament to perseverance against all expectations. His legacy wasn’t just about winning races; it inspired dreamers to pursue their goals with unwavering resolve.

Beyond being celebrated as an unlikely hero on thrilling race days, Burgoo King embodied resilience in its purest form—an example that greatness often emerges unexpectedly. While missing out on the Triple Crown despite captivating audiences at Churchill Downs and Pimlico Race Course, his legacy remains a symbol of hope for every underdog striving to defy norms and chase success against all odds.

Missed Opportunity at Triple Crown Glory

In 1932, the absence of Burgoo King from the Belmont Stakes had racing fans eagerly anticipating a chance to witness history in the making. His unexpected no-show, possibly due to an ankle injury or administrative mix-up, added mystery to his already impressive career. Despite winning both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes that year, fate had other plans for this talented racehorse.

As Burgoo King thundered down the track at Churchill Downs during the Kentucky Derby, spectators held their breath as he surged ahead with unwavering determination. His strong presence on the racetrack was hard to miss, captivating hearts and sparking hopes for a Triple Crown victory. Each powerful stride seemed full of promise, setting up what could have been an unforgettable moment in American horse racing history.

The talk of what might have been lingered long after Burgoo King’s missed shot at Triple Crown glory. Fans and experts alike wondered how things would have turned out if circumstances were different that year. The near-miss reminded everyone of how fragile yet resilient this sport can be where fortunes change with each race day.

While some may ponder alternative outcomes regarding Burgoo King’s missed opportunity at Triple Crown glory, true enthusiasts know every twist in his journey contributed to shaping his enduring legacy in American Thoroughbred racing lore. Beyond unseized chances are stories of bravery, perseverance, and sheer equine skill that still captivate generations who embrace both victories and setbacks as vital parts of this thrilling sport we cherish so much.

Racing Royalty: Burgoo King Profile Highlights

Attribute Information
Sire Bubbling Over
Grandsire North Star
Dam Minawand
Damsire Lonawand
Sex Stallion
Foaled 1929
Country United States
Colour Chestnut
Breeder H. N. Davis & Idle Hour Stock Farm
Owner Edward R. Bradley
Trainer Herbert J. Thompson
Record 21: 8-2-3
Earnings $110,940
Major wins Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes
Awards U.S. Co-Champion 3-Yr-Old Colt (1932)

Later Racing Career and Return

After taking a break from 1932 to 1934 due to injuries and other reasons, Burgoo King came back to racing in May 1934 as a five-year-old horse. Although he didn’t win any major races after 1932, he still had success in less important competitions. The brave stallion showed his toughness by continuing to compete at a high level despite facing setbacks.

When Burgoo King returned, fans and experts had mixed feelings. Some wondered if he could regain his former glory after such a long rest, while others were optimistic that the experienced champion still had more to offer. It was an uncertain but exciting time as Burgoo King hit the track again, eager to show what he was made of.

As Burgoo King started this new phase of his racing career, people talked about what might have been if he hadn’t taken those years off. His legacy hung in the balance between past achievements and future potential. Would he add more wins to his already impressive record or fall short of expectations with this comeback? Only time would reveal how well this seasoned veteran could perform against younger rivals.

Despite tough competition from rising stars in racing world; Burgoo King displayed moments of brilliance that reminded spectators why they considered him one of the greats before. While not always winning big events like before; his performances left an unforgettable impression on those who watched him race towards victory or face defeat valiantly down that familiar stretch.

Looking back now: though Burgoo King’s later career may not have matched his earlier success during Derby days gone by; it stands as proof of his enduring spirit and love for competition – even without claiming another Triple Crown jewel or major stakes title post-hiatus! Through perseverance through challenges beyond control – including injuries putting dreams on hold yet never breaking spirits forged over countless tracks where legends forever run wild!

Stud Record and Legacy

Burgoo King made the switch from racing to breeding with mixed success. Although he fathered six winners of prestigious races, none matched his own track achievements. Nonetheless, his offspring made a notable impact on American Thoroughbred racing.

After retiring at Idle Hour Stock Farm, Burgoo King started a new career as a stallion. His time there set the stage for what unfolded at Darby Dan Farm, where his legacy continued to grow and resonate in the racing world.

Darby Dan Farm wasn’t just a place for Burgoo King; it became his final resting spot after he passed away in 1946. The farm was sacred ground that honored both his victories on the track and dreams carried by generations of horses inspired by him.

Although Burgoo King didn’t reach monumental success as a sire like some others of his time, his influence went beyond mere numbers. His impact traveled through time, reminding us that greatness isn’t always measured solely by wins but also by legacies woven into horse racing history.

In death, Burgoo King found immortality not only through physical lineage but also through stories and memories shared among those who cherish the rich heritage he added to American Thoroughbred racing. Reflecting on his breeding record and legacy reminds us that true greatness lasts beyond victories—it lives on in hearts touched by tales of courage, resilience, and unwavering spirit embodied by champions like Burgoo King.”

Legendary lore surrounding Burgoo King's Derby legacy

  1. Legendary tales of Burgoo King's impact on the Derby scene:

  2. Unstoppable Winning Streak: Before the 1932 Kentucky Derby, Burgoo King dominated by winning an incredible 21 races in a row, proving he was a top contender in the racing world.

  3. Derby Disappointment: Despite being favored to win, Burgoo King came second in the 1932 Kentucky Derby, shocking and disappointing fans who were rooting for him to take home the victory.

  4. Almost Triple Crown Winner: After his setback at the Kentucky Derby, Burgoo King bounced back to win both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes but fell short of completing the Triple Crown due to missing out on winning at Churchill Downs.

  5. Racing Rivalries: The intense competition between Burgoo King and Twenty Grand during that era kept audiences on their toes as they eagerly anticipated each showdown between these two talented racehorses.

  6. Lasting Legacy: While falling short of capturing all three major races, Burgoo King's exceptional skills and captivating personality ensured his place in horse racing history as one of its most cherished and unforgettable stars from that time period.

Breeding Lineage and Pedigree

Burgoo King comes from a line of top-notch racehorses that reads like an exciting story of excellence. With ancestors such as Bubbling Over and North Star on his father’s side, it’s no surprise he had so much talent and speed. These famous sires passed down their winning genes to Burgoo King, setting him up for success on the racetrack.

On his mother’s side, Lonawand and Cupbearer also contributed to Burgoo King’s genetic makeup with their own touch of magic. Their legacy mixed with his, creating a blend of strength, endurance, and determination that made him a strong competitor in every race he ran. This unique combination of bloodlines fueled Burgoo King’s relentless pursuit of victory.

The coming together of these prestigious pedigrees wasn’t just about names written down; it was like an ancestral orchestra playing out in each powerful stride Burgoo King took around the track. Every time he won a race, it was a tribute to those who came before him – honoring their legacy while making his mark in Thoroughbred racing history.

When you look back through Burgoo King’s family tree, you can almost hear past champions whispering stories of triumphs and close calls. His pedigree is more than just a list of names; it tells a tale woven with threads of courage, perseverance, and sheer love for the sport that goes beyond generations—a narrative inspiring racing fans who admire the enduring legacy left by the great Burgoo King.”

Impact on Horse Racing History

In 1932, Burgoo King quickly became a sensation in the world of horse racing. His impressive wins at Pimlico and Belmont Park captured the hearts of fans everywhere. Despite facing a setback due to a minor leg injury that caused him to miss the final leg of the Triple Crown at Churchill Downs, his early victories showcased his incredible talent and potential on the racetrack.

After recovering from his injury, Burgoo King made an epic comeback in 1933 with several more impressive wins that solidified his status as one of the top Thoroughbreds of his time. His stellar performances not only redeemed past setbacks but also demonstrated his resilience and determination on the track. Fans were inspired by his ability to overcome challenges and admired both his speed and spirit during races.

Although circumstances prevented Burgoo King from making history in the Triple Crown, he still left behind a lasting legacy in American horse racing lore. His influence went beyond wins and losses, resonating with generations of fans who remember him for bringing excitement and thrills to every race he entered – not just for what could have been, but for all that he achieved during an era marked by fierce competition on the tracks.


1. What made Burgoo King's victory in the Kentucky Derby so significant in the history of American Thoroughbred racing?

Burgoo King made history in American horse racing when he won the Kentucky Derby, becoming the first gelding to ever achieve this prestigious victory. His exceptional talent and ability defied traditional breeding norms, showcasing his remarkable skills on the racetrack.

2. How did Burgoo King's career unfold after his Kentucky Derby win, and what were some of his notable achievements post-Derby?

After winning the Kentucky Derby in 1932, Burgoo King continued his winning streak by claiming victory at both the Preakness Stakes and the Withers Stakes. These wins established him as a strong contender in horse racing. Unfortunately, injuries and missed chances hindered his career progression, holding him back from reaching his peak performance on the track.

3. What factors contributed to Burgoo King not achieving more success on the racetrack despite his early promise?

Burgoo King didn't achieve more success on the racetrack because he frequently got injured, had inconsistent performances, and faced tough competition throughout his racing career.

4. How has Burgoo King's legacy endured in the world of horse racing, and what impact has he had on future generations of Thoroughbred champions?

The legacy of Burgoo King lives on as a symbol of both success and missed chances in American horse racing. It reminds us that champions are shaped by both victories and setbacks, inspiring the next generation to pursue greatness on the race track.

5. Can you share some lesser-known stories or anecdotes about Burgoo King that highlight his personality and character as a racehorse?

Burgoo King had a reputation for his playful behavior in the barn, where he would often playfully nip at his caretakers and win them over with his lively personality when not racing.

6. In what ways did Burgoo King's racing style and abilities set him apart from other horses of his time, and how did he captivate fans with his performances on the track?

Burgoo King stood out from other horses of his time with his remarkable speed, stamina, and smart racing tactics. Fans were drawn to him for his exciting come-from-behind wins and impressive ability to take control of races with a strong final burst of energy.