By Mint Julep

Dust Commander Kentucky Derby Winner 1970

dust commander kentucky derby winner 1970

In 1970, Dust Commander won the Kentucky Derby, showcasing his exceptional talent as a champion racehorse. Jockey Mike Manganello’s ride, trainer Don Combs’ expert guidance, and owner Robert E. Lehmann’s strategic ownership were key to securing this prestigious Grade I stakes win. Dust Commander’s victory with a winning time of 2:03.40 made history in horse racing and popular culture, establishing him as an iconic winner in one of the sport’s most famous events that year.

Dust Commander’s Victory at the 1970 Kentucky Derby

In 1970, Dust Commander made history by winning the Kentucky Derby in an impressive fashion. Guided by jockey Mike Manganello and trained skillfully by Don Combs, this chestnut colt left a lasting impression on horse racing fans everywhere. Owned by Robert E. Lehmann, Dust Commander’s victory showcased the excitement and magic of Churchill Downs every first Saturday in May.

Dust Commander’s journey to success was a story of determination and perseverance that resonated with many. Coming from Pullen Bros’ breeding program in Illinois, this magnificent steed overcame challenges and doubters as he thundered towards the finish line. His triumph not only echoed through racetracks but also captured hearts across different cultures, inspiring awe and admiration among those who witnessed his historic win firsthand.

Hunter S. Thompson’s gonzo journalism piece after Dust Commander’s victory perfectly captured the wild spirit of horse racing and American culture during that time—an exhilarating mix of chaos, thrill, and unpredictability igniting like fireworks in Louisville that day. Decades have passed since then; however, Dust Commander’s legacy lives on as a symbol for dreamers pursuing their own greatness amidst cheering crowds and refreshing mint juleps under sunny Kentucky skies.

Hunter S. Thompson’s Gonzo Journalism Piece

Hunter S. Thompson’s article “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved,” published in Scanlan’s Monthly, brought even more attention to the 1970 Kentucky Derby. This piece is known for its innovative approach in gonzo journalism, mixing personal storytelling with factual details to offer a fresh perspective on the event and American society.

Thompson’s unique writing style perfectly captured the essence of the Derby that year, delving into the wild atmosphere at Churchill Downs. His clever humor and unusual methods painted a lively scene for readers around the world, immersing them in an experience beyond typical sports coverage.

In the midst of all this excitement was Dust Commander, bravely racing towards victory under jockey Mike Manganello’s expert guidance. Trainer Don Combs had meticulously prepared this chestnut colt for his shining moment while owner Robert E. Lehmann nervously watched from afar.

The Pullen Bros from Illinois also played a crucial role; their exceptional breeding skills had paved Dust Commander’s way to success as he crossed that finish line at 2:03⅖, securing his spot in history among equine legends.

The Pros & Cons of Racing Legends


  1. Motivates upcoming racers for the future

  2. Displays the grace and strength of horses in action

  3. Fosters a feeling of togetherness among racing enthusiasts

  4. Shines a spotlight on the expertise and commitment of trainers and jockeys

  5. Offers exciting entertainment for those watching

  6. Upholds the rich legacy and customs of horse racing


  1. Horses and riders face a high risk of injury or harm

  2. Animals are exploited for human entertainment

  3. Horses feel pressured to perform at high levels

  4. Owners, trainers, and jockeys experience financial strain

  5. There is a possibility of doping or unethical practices in the industry

  6. Horse racing has an environmental impact due to resource usage

Full Results of the 1970 Kentucky Derby

In 1970, Dust Commander made history by winning the Kentucky Derby with jockey Mike Manganello skillfully guiding him to victory. Trained by Don Combs and owned by Robert E. Lehmann, Dust Commander showed determination and speed as he crossed the finish line first in just 2 minutes and 3.4 seconds. This win not only secured Dust Commander’s place among racing greats but also showcased his impressive breeding lineage from Pullen Bros in Illinois.

Dust Commander’s surprising triumph that day captivated audiences beyond just sports fans. Hunter S. Thompson captured the chaotic excitement of May 2nd, 1970, at Churchill Downs through his vivid storytelling style known as gonzo journalism. His account brought readers ringside to experience the thundering hooves and roaring crowds firsthand in a thrilling narrative.

Looking back on this historic moment over fifty years later, Dust Commander remains more than just a Derby winner; he symbolizes resilience, perseverance, and unexpected victories against all odds—a source of inspiration for anyone facing challenges or doubts along their journey towards success.

As we recall that unforgettable Derby day when Dust Commander defied expectations with each stride towards victory under Louisville skies—each hoofbeat echoing defiance—it becomes clear why this triumph endures as a timeless reminder of courage prevailing in the face of adversity.

Winning Breeder Pullen Bros; (IL)

The Pullen Bros, hailing from Illinois, were the brilliant minds responsible for guiding Dust Commander to victory at the 1970 Kentucky Derby. Their expertise in breeding and keen eye for talent allowed them to mold a champion racehorse that outshone all competitors on the track. Through their dedication and skillful selection of top-tier bloodlines, they clearly distinguished Dust Commander as he raced triumphantly down Churchill Downs.

This achievement was no stroke of luck; it was a meticulously planned masterpiece of equine genetics orchestrated by the Pullen Bros with precision and meticulous attention to detail. The impact of their breeding program radiated through Dust Commander’s powerful strides and unwavering determination during his monumental win in 1970. By striving for excellence, they paved the way for this extraordinary horse to carve his name into racing history with an unforgettable victory at America’s most renowned horse racing event.

Dust Commander’s success serves as a testament to the Pullen Bros’ expert craftsmanship in shaping champions destined for greatness on the racetrack. Their ability to blend pedigree lines flawlessly ultimately resulted in one of horse racing’s most iconic moments – captivating audiences globally while cementing their status among sporting legends. The enduring legacy they bestowed continues inspiring breeders, trainers, jockeys, and fans alike who reflect on how these trailblazers from Illinois forever altered the trajectory of Derby history.

Race Results: Top Performers in the Field

Finished Post Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Time / behind
1st 3 Dust Commander Mike Manganello Don Combs Robert E. Lehmann 2:03.40
2nd 7 My Dad George Ray Broussard Frank J. McManus Raymond M. Curtis
3rd 1 High Echelon Larry Adams John W. Jacobs Ethel D. Jacobs
4th 9 Naskra Braulio Baeza Philip G. Johnson Her-Jac Stable
5th 5 Silent Screen John L. Rotz J. Bowes Bond Elberon Farm
6th 10 Admiral’s Shield Jimmy Nichols Harvey L. Vanier William C. Robinson Jr.
7th 11 Corn off the Cob Angel Cordero Jr Arnold N. Winick Fence Post Farm
8th 1A Personality Eddie Belmonte John W. Jacobs Ethel D. Jacobs
9th 15 Native Royalty Ismael Valenzuela John T. Davis Happy Valley Farm
10th 14 Robin’s Bug Leroy Moyers Tracey Bougon W. J. Hickey-R. F. Kuhn
11th 8 Terlago Bill Shoemaker Jerry M. Fanning Samuel J. Agnew
12th 12 Dr. Behrman Chuck Baltazar James P. Conway Lin-Drake Farm
13th 16 Action Getter Mike Venezia Bob G. Dunham E. V. Benjamin-J. Jones Jr.
14th 2 George Lewis Bill Hartack Buster Millerick Mr. & Mrs. Allan Magerman
15th 17 Fathom Diane Crump Don H. Divine W. L. Lyons Brown
16th 4 Holy Land Hector Pilar John Weiport Steve Carson & Irving Apple
17th 13 Rancho Lejos H. Rudy Campas Chay R. Knight Mrs. J. S. Dean Jr.

Legacy of Dust Commander

The 1970 Kentucky Derby win by Dust Commander showcased the impressive teamwork between jockey Mike Manganello and the horse. Manganello’s smart tactics guided Dust Commander to victory, highlighting their strong partnership on the track.

Trainer Don Combs played a vital role in shaping Dust Commander into a champion, utilizing his expertise and dedication to prepare the horse for success at Churchill Downs in May.

Owned by Herbert Allen Sr., Dust Commander was not just a product of great breeding but also reflected Allen’s belief in equine talent and wise investments. His decision to acquire Dust Commander paid off as they thundered towards victory at the Kentucky Derby.

Dust Commander’s winning time of 2:03⅗ remains an impressive achievement that stands out in racing history, showcasing excellence against tough competition on one of racing’s biggest stages.

The Pullen Bros’ meticulous breeding process from Illinois brought forth Dust Commander—an emblem of success achieved through careful planning within horse racing. This strategic vision led to their iconic triumph at Churchill Downs, leaving an indelible mark on history books globally.

Impact on Popular Culture

In 1970, Dust Commander won the Kentucky Derby in an impressive time of 2:03.4, grabbing attention from racing enthusiasts and media outlets alike. Jockey Mike Manganello expertly steered Dust Commander to a surprising victory over tough competitors on that memorable day in May.

The horse’s win was more than just a sporting achievement; it became a symbol of triumph against the odds, resonating with audiences well beyond the racetrack. Trainer Don Combs’ skillful preparation showcased how hard work and careful planning can lead to unexpected wins in both sports and life.

Hunter S. Thompson vividly captured this event through his unique journalistic style, adding depth to Dust Commander’s legacy by portraying the intense energy and excitement of high-stakes competitions such as this one. The race went beyond mere competition; it reflected broader themes like ambition, risk-taking, and the spirit of that era—a potent mix encapsulated in one unforgettable Derby race that still reverberates through popular culture today.

Legendary Tales of the Kentucky Derby Champion

  1. In 1970, a dark bay colt named Dust Commander shocked everyone by winning the Kentucky Derby with jockey Mike Manganello riding him to victory at odds of 15-This win was one of the most surprising upsets in Derby history as he beat favorite Personality by an impressive five lengths.

  2. Before his unforgettable triumph at the Kentucky Derby, Dust Commander had a reputation for starting races slowly. But when it mattered most, he showed his true potential on the grand stage and silenced all doubts with a commanding performance.

  3. The 1970 Kentucky Derby win was not only significant for Dust Commander but also marked the first-ever victory in this prestigious race for his trainer Don Combs and owner Robert E. Lehmann, who sadly passed away later on. This incredible feat secured Dust Commander's place in racing lore and made him a beloved figure among fans worldwide.

  4. Despite facing challenges after his unexpected victory at Churchill Downs, Dust Commander struggled to replicate that success in subsequent races. Nonetheless, his status as a Kentucky Derby champion remains an enduring source of inspiration for fans and budding racehorses alike.

  5. With his underdog story resonating across generations, Dust Commander's triumphant run in the 1970 Kentucky Derby is a testament to horse racing's thrilling unpredictability where anything can happen if you believe in yourself enough.His transformation from overlooked contender to victorious champion serves as encouragement for anyone dreaming big within this exhilarating sport!

Reflections on Don Combs’ Training Methods

Trainer Don Combs truly knew his stuff when it came to understanding horses and getting them in top shape. He worked tirelessly with Dust Commander, making sure the horse was at its best for the big Kentucky Derby race. Combs’ strict yet skillful training routine ensured that Dust Commander hit its peak performance just when it mattered most. Thanks to Combs’ meticulous approach, Dust Commander wasn’t just fast—it had a winning mindset that put it ahead of all the other competitors.

Under Combs’ close supervision, Dust Commander thrived on careful routines and personalized attention. Every morning gallop and post-workout cooldown were carefully planned out to perfection. This hands-on method not only built a strong bond between horse and trainer but also showcased Combs’ commitment to helping Dust Commander reach its full potential.

Combs didn’t stop at physical training—he also developed a deep connection with Dust Commander based on respect and mutual understanding. Their partnership went beyond typical coach-athlete dynamics; instead, it combined expertise with empathy in an environment where success naturally flourished. This harmony between man and beast prepared them well for one of racing’s biggest races—the 1970 Kentucky Derby.

As they raced down Churchill Downs on that unforgettable day, jockey Mike Manganello flawlessly executed Combs’ strategy aboard Dust Commander—a true example of rider skill and trainer intuition working hand-in-hand towards victory. The hard work from early mornings filled with sweat, along with shared moments of triumphs pastures afar—all culminated into an inspiring story of teamwork forever etched in racing history books!

Robert E. Lehmann’s Ownership Influence

Robert E. Lehmann’s ownership of Dust Commander during the 1970 Kentucky Derby showed how skilled he was at picking and nurturing top racehorses in a tough racing world. His smart decision-making skills were clear when Dust Commander won, proving Lehmann’s strong commitment to excellence in horse racing.

Lehmann’s sharp management abilities stood out as Dust Commander raced to victory at Churchill Downs. This win not only boosted Lehmann’s reputation as a savvy owner but also made Dust Commander a legend in horse racing history, captivating fans all over the globe.

The teamwork between Robert E. Lehmann and Dust Commander meant more than just a brief moment of success; it highlighted their combined expertise, love for the sport, and determination that defined their journey toward triumph on the racetrack. Their joint efforts deeply resonated with fans and industry insiders alike, leaving an unforgettable mark on the sport for years ahead.

Looking back now, Robert E. Lehmann’s impact as an owner during Dust Commander’s winning period showcases his exceptional ability to spot talent while navigating the ups and downs of thoroughbred racing—a legacy that goes beyond just wins or awards but embodies a deep dedication to greatness seen every step of the way by both humans and horses alike at iconic places like Churchill Downs.


1. Who was the jockey that rode Dust Commander to victory at the 1970 Kentucky Derby?

Mike Manganello was the jockey who guided Dust Commander to a win in the 1970 Kentucky Derby.

2. What was the winning time for Dust Commander in the 1970 Kentucky Derby?

In 1970, Dust Commander raced to victory at the Kentucky Derby in a speedy time of 2:03.4.

3. Who trained Dust Commander leading up to his triumph at the Kentucky Derby?

Don Combs trained Dust Commander before the horse won the 1970 Kentucky Derby.

4. What was the significance of Dust Commander's victory in the context of horse racing history?

The 1970 Kentucky Derby win by Dust Commander was a game-changer in horse racing history. It highlighted the strength of a little-known horse and firmly established him as a legendary underdog in the sport.

5. How did Hunter S. Thompson's gonzo journalism piece capture the cultural impact of Dust Commander's win at the Kentucky Derby?

Hunter S. Thompson's gonzo journalism piece brought the rebellious spirit of the 1970 Kentucky Derby to life by vividly portraying Dust Commander's surprising win, showcasing a mix of disorder, thrill, and changing societal norms in American culture.

6. How did Pullen Bros from Illinois contribute to Dust Commander's breeding success and eventual victory at the Kentucky Derby?

Pullen Bros from Illinois played a crucial part in Dust Commander's breeding success by thoughtfully choosing his lineage, which ultimately resulted in his impressive win at the 1970 Kentucky Derby.