By Mint Julep

Forward Pass 1968 Kentucky Derby Winner

forward pass 1968 kentucky derby winner

Step back in time to the 1968 Kentucky Derby and witness the incredible victory of a determined racehorse named Forward Pass. Follow his journey from Calumet Farm to the thrilling comeback at Churchill Downs, experiencing all the highs and lows of this historic race that sparked controversy and had a lasting impact on horse racing rules. Discover the winning connections, media excitement, and enduring legacy that define Forward Pass’ triumph in one of America’s most prestigious sporting events.

Forward Pass Early Life and Background

Forward Pass was born in Kentucky and quickly became a standout at Calumet Farm. From the start, it was evident that this horse had something truly special. His combination of grace and strength hinted at his potential for greatness, catching the eye of those well-versed in Thoroughbred talent.

As Forward Pass matured, he honed his racing skills on the track, showcasing a unique blend of speed and endurance that set him apart from his competitors. Each race he entered left spectators eagerly awaiting to witness history being made right before their eyes. The excitement of watching a possible champion like Forward Pass charging towards victory kept fans hooked and coming back for more.

Despite facing obstacles along the way – such as stumbling over hurdles or falling behind momentarily – Forward Pass never wavered in pursuit of his ultimate goal: leaving an unforgettable legacy in horse racing history. Every step he took exuded determination and resilience, endearing him not only to those who bet on him but also to anyone who appreciated an underdog overcoming challenges.

The journey to success presented numerous challenges for both Forward Pass and those guiding him. Through hard work and steadfast belief in their abilities, they pushed forward relentlessly toward their shared dream: triumphing at prestigious events like the Kentucky Derby – where legends are made amidst thundering hooves and roaring crowds.

When destiny beckoned them at the 1968 Kentucky Derby, there was no room for doubt or hesitation. Jockeys mounted up as horses eagerly pranced at Churchill Downs’ starting gate; all eyes were fixed on one contender – our beloved Forward Pass – poised to claim glory against daunting odds stacked high like hay bales waiting for a bold leap into forever-open pages of history still being written today.

Victory at the 1968 Kentucky Derby

In 1968, a talented chestnut colt named Forward Pass made history in the world of horse racing. The Kentucky Derby, famous for being “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports,” saw Forward Pass defy all odds to win under jockey Ismael Valenzuela’s expert guidance. As he thundered through Churchill Downs, the colt showed incredible determination and grit that captivated fans worldwide.

This victory wasn’t just about winning; it represented resilience and perseverance against challenges. Trainer Henry Forrest’s careful training program and Calumet Farm’s strong support played crucial roles in Forward Pass’ success at this prestigious event. Standing in the winner’s circle amid cheers and applause, their connection with the spirited colt was clear—a testament to teamwork and dedication producing impressive results in competitive sports.

The 1968 Kentucky Derby was a pivotal moment not only for Forward Pass but also for global horse racing regulations. After controversy arose when rival Dancer’s Image tested positive for banned substances after the race, extensive investigations led to Forward Pass being declared the rightful winner following appeals processes. This significant decision reshaped doping policies within horse racing, highlighting fair play and integrity as key values in equine competition.

Forward Pass’ triumph went beyond sporting achievement—it became a source of inspiration for underdogs everywhere. His journey from humble beginnings to conquering one of America’s most esteemed races motivated countless individuals to pursue their dreams relentlessly despite facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles along the way. The echoes of his remarkable victory continue to resonate across generations, reminding us that success often stems from sheer determination combined with unwavering spirit.

Looking back on this historic sports moment years later, let us remember Forward Pass not only as a racehorse who triumphed at Churchill Downs but also as a symbol of strength against all odds—an embodiment of what can be accomplished when passion meets perseverance head-on. May his legacy endure as an enduring reminder that true champions are molded not just by talent or luck but by an unbreakable spirit ready to challenge expectations time after time.

The Pros & Cons of Underdog Victories


  1. Inspires hope and motivation, showing the strength of perseverance

  2. Keeps the audience engaged by sparking imagination

  3. Makes lasting marks in sports history with memorable moments

  4. Motivates underdogs to pursue success against all odds

  5. Challenges traditional expectations for added excitement


  1. Favored teams or individuals might end up disappointed

  2. People could view it as luck rather than genuine skill

  3. Fans of the losing side may react negatively

  4. It could steal the spotlight from other well-deserved accomplishments

  5. Unrealistic hopes for future underdog victories can be reinforced

  6. It makes us question the fairness and unpredictability of sports

Disqualification Controversy

The 1968 Kentucky Derby was forever changed by the victory of ‘Forward Pass’. This unexpected win made a lasting impact on horse racing. The disqualification of Dancer’s Image due to medication violation stirred up controversy that spread far beyond Churchill Downs. It wasn’t just about who won the race; it became a story of resilience and adaptability in the face of unexpected challenges.

The disqualification not only shifted the final standings but also sparked conversations about drug regulations in horse racing. This crucial moment led to increased scrutiny and stricter controls over substances used for racehorses, aiming to ensure fair competition and maintain the sport’s integrity. ‘Forward Pass’ unwittingly became a force for change, influencing future protocols that continue to shape today’s racing standards.

Imagine being part of ‘Forward Pass’ team – experiencing both defeat and triumph within moments as victory unexpectedly came their way after an intense day at the races. Going from what seemed like second place to securing one of horse racing’s most prestigious titles must have been thrilling yet nerve-wracking for everyone involved. Such twists in fate are what make sports so exciting – you never know when luck might turn in your favor.

While some may question fairness or debate if rules were applied correctly, there’s no denying that this controversial win left its mark on sporting history as proof of perseverance amid chaos. Just like how jockeys navigate through unpredictable tracks during races, life often throws curveballs where we must adjust our course swiftly without losing momentum – much like ‘Forward Pass’ did on that memorable Derby day.

Looking back, ‘Forward Pass”s triumph represents more than just winning a race; it embodies overcoming challenges against all odds and emerging victorious despite initial setbacks. This historic event serves as a reminder that even amidst uncertainties and controversies, staying true to one’s abilities can lead us across finish lines we never thought possible – making it an unforgettable chapter in equestrian excellence forevermore.

Race Description and Comeback

In the 1968 Kentucky Derby, Forward Pass initially faced tough competition and fell behind early on. But with great skill and determination, his jockey guided him through the pack.

The spectators at Churchill Downs were amazed as Forward Pass steadily gained ground with each stride, showing off impressive speed and endurance. The atmosphere was charged with excitement as he boldly moved towards the front of the group, keeping everyone on edge.

In an exhilarating finish, Forward Pass surged ahead in a remarkable comeback to win by nearly two lengths. This amazing achievement not only secured his spot in racing history but also showed how resilience and persistence can make a lasting impact well beyond horse racing.

Thrilling Race Results: Top Finishers Revealed!

Finished Post Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Time / behind
1st 10 Forward Pass Ismael Valenzuela Henry Forrest Calumet Farm 2:02 1/5
2nd 7 Francie’s Hat Earlie Fires James P. Conway Saddle Rock Farm
3rd 2 T V Commercial Howard Grant Anthony L. Basile Bwamazon Farm
4th 12 Kentucky Sherry Jimmy Combest Alcee J. Richard Dorothy D. Brown
5th 3 Jig Time Ray Broussard MacKenzie Miller Cragwood Stables
6th 4 Don B. Donald R. Pierce Lester Holt Don B. Wood
7th 13 Trouble Brewing Buck Thornburg William Sterling Coventry Rock Farm
8th 8 Proper Proof Johnny Sellers J. Lee Mosbacher Mrs. Montgomery R. Fisher
9th 14 Te Vega Mike Manganello George C. Berthold Brunswick Farm (Frank C. Sullivan)
10th 6 Captain’s Gig Manuel Ycaza William Ward Stephens Cain Hoy Stable
11th 1 Iron Ruler Braulio Baeza Edward J. Yowell October House Farm
12th 5 Verbatim Angel Cordero Jr. Jerry C. Meyer Elmendorf Farm
13th 11 Gleaming Sword Eddie Belmonte Robert L. Wheeler Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney
14th 9 Dancer’s Image Bobby Ussery Lou Cavalaris Jr. Peter D. Fuller

Notable Breeder and Winning Connections

Calumet Farm, a famous name in horse racing breeding, played a key role in shaping Forward Pass into the champion he was. Their expertise and commitment to excellence were evident in every step he took towards winning the 1968 Kentucky Derby.

Jockey Ismael Valenzuela skillfully guided him, trainer Henry Forrest used strategic training methods, and Calumet Farm provided unwavering support – together they formed an unbeatable team that led Forward Pass to victory. Their teamwork on that important day showcased not only individual talent but also a strong sense of unity.

The success of Forward Pass with these renowned breeders and connections went beyond just the racetrack. It represented resilience, determination, and the importance of working together – values that resonate deeply within both the racing community and society as a whole.

Media Coverage and Sporting Impact

In 1968, the Kentucky Derby made headlines when Dancer’s Image was disqualified, causing a stir in the racing world. The media went wild with excitement over the unfolding drama both on and off the track. Sports Illustrated, famous for capturing iconic sports moments, quickly recognized this event as one to remember. Journalists scrambled to get interviews and fans were glued to their TV screens as Forward Pass unexpectedly claimed victory amid controversy.

When Forward Pass was declared the official winner due to Dancer’s Image being disqualified for a medication violation, debates erupted across bars and living rooms among horse racing enthusiasts. The effects of this surprising turn of events stretched far beyond Churchill Downs – they resonated throughout sporting communities worldwide. Suddenly, conversations weren’t just about who won or lost but delved into discussions about rules, integrity, and fair play in competitive sports.

During a time when sports rules were seen as strict and almost sacred, the 1968 Kentucky Derby rewrite challenged norms and sparked lasting discussions that extended well past that year’s race at Churchill Downs. Picture yourself experiencing those exhilarating days when everything you thought you knew about horse racing was turned upside down by one controversial decision! It wasn’t just any race; it became a symbol of resilience for horses like Forward Pass seizing an opportunity amidst chaos and humans gracefully navigating uncharted waters under pressure behind them.

Legendary Tales of Forward Pass

  1. ### The Exciting Story of the Victorious Forward Pass

  2. **Controversial Triumph:** Imagine this – in 1968, Forward Pass crossed the finish line at the Kentucky Derby amidst a cloud of controversy. Initially hailed as the runner-up to Dancer's Image, everything changed when a post-race drug test uncovered banned substances in Dancer's Image. Suddenly, Forward Pass was declared as the rightful champion.

  3. **Chasing Triple Crown Glory:** Following his jaw-dropping win at the Kentucky Derby, everyone had their eyes on Forward Pass as he geared up for an intense battle at both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes with hopes of clinching that elusive Triple Crown title. Despite putting up a fierce fight, he fell just short and secured second place in both races.

  4. **Switching Jockeys:** Picture this twist – Bill Shoemaker was set to ride Forward Pass at the 1968 Kentucky Derby but made a last-minute decision to saddle T.V. Commercial instead! Stepping into Shoemaker’s shoes was Ismael Valenzuela who gallantly rode Forward Pass to victory in that historic race.

  5. **Royal Bloodline:** Born from racing royalty, On-And-On sired none other than our hero Forward Pass – inheriting top-tier skills from his notable Thoroughbred father who dominated numerous stakes races throughout his career alongside Princess Turia as his dam; it’s no wonder racing ran through every vein of this remarkable descendant.

  6. 5 .**Enduring Racing Legacy**: Beyond all controversies lies an undeniable truth: forward pass wasn’t just any ordinary horse; he was a force to be reckoned with—a true competitor etched within history books for eternity despite uncertainties surrounding his initial triumph at Churchill Downs—proving yet again how unpredictable and thrilling horse racing can truly be!

Historical Significance and Legacy

In 1968, the Kentucky Derby became a pivotal moment in Forward Pass’ career and in the history of horse racing. This win not only highlighted the determination and resilience of both the horse and its team but also inspired generations to follow. It wasn’t just about winning; it sent a powerful message that even underdogs can achieve greatness with grit and perseverance.

After Forward Pass triumphed at Churchill Downs, his victory didn’t fade away quietly. Instead, it sparked significant changes within the sport itself. The controversial disqualification of Dancer’s Image due to drug use led to thorough investigations that resulted in new regulations on substances permitted in horse racing. This event prompted stricter enforcement measures for fair play across races—a legacy that continues today thanks to Forward Pass’ unexpected journey towards success.

Reflecting on the 1968 Kentucky Derby goes beyond remembering an exciting race or an unforeseen upset. It symbolizes hope against all odds, courage amidst challenges, and above all—resilience when facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Forward Pass didn’t just run a race; he captured hearts worldwide, leaving an unforgettable mark on sports history—an enduring reminder that those deemed least likely to succeed are often the ones who redefine what true victory means.

Enduring Influence on Racing Regulations

In 1968, when Forward Pass won the Kentucky Derby, it led to big changes in horse racing rules. The disqualification caused a stir and made people think more about testing horses for drugs after races. This event pushed for new rules to make sure races were fair and transparent for everyone involved with thoroughbred competitions. It was a turning point that made those in charge rethink how they tested horses after races, reshaping how horse racing was regulated for years to come.

After Forward Pass was disqualified, regulators all over the country brought in stricter rules on drug testing for horse racing. The focus on what happened during Forward Pass’s win showed why it was important to keep things fair and honest in the sport. They set up better ways of checking for banned substances to stop anyone from having an unfair advantage that could change race outcomes.

Forward Pass’s victory didn’t just end at Churchill Downs; it also had a lasting impact by leading to improvements in racing regulations. This moment wasn’t just about changing some rules; it started a shift within the sports community too. Fans, bettors, and people working in the industry thought about how this key moment challenged old ideas and moved them towards being more responsible. Even now, we can see its effects as we work together to follow ethical standards and encourage clean competition among those involved with horse racing.

The story of Forward Pass winning isn’t just history—it shows us that even when things go wrong or are controversial there is room for improvement and growth afterward. Looking back at that day back in 1968 reminds us that out of tough times can come new ideas—shaping not only one race but pushing an entire sport toward higher standards where honesty matters most.


1. How did Forward Pass overcome adversity to win the 1968 Kentucky Derby?

In the 1968 Kentucky Derby, Forward Pass showed incredible strength and determination by bouncing back from a second-place finish to ultimately win the race. This victory came after Dancer's Image was disqualified for a medication violation, making it a significant moment in horse racing history.

2. What was the controversy surrounding Dancer's Image's disqualification in favor of Forward Pass?

The big fuss over Dancer's Image getting disqualified in favor of Forward Pass at the 1968 Kentucky Derby started because of a positive drug test for phenylbutazone, which was a legal medication back then. This led to Forward Pass being named the winner after a long legal fight and some new rules were put in place for horse racing as a result.

3. How did Forward Pass' victory impact future regulations in horse racing?

Forward Pass' win at the 1968 Kentucky Derby caused a major shift in horse racing rules. This victory led to the introduction of photo finish technology to guarantee precise race outcomes and avoid disputes similar to the one that occurred during his triumph.

4. What role did jockey Ismael Valenzuela play in Forward Pass' historic win?

In 1968, Jockey Ismael Valenzuela expertly led Forward Pass to an unforgettable win at the Kentucky Derby. This showcased his incredible skills and forged a strong connection with the determined horse that could not be broken.

5. How did Forward Pass' victory at the 1968 Kentucky Derby change the perception of underdog horses in racing?

The 1968 Kentucky Derby win by Forward Pass broke the idea that underdog horses were just there to fill space. It showed their ability for greatness and changed how we see unlikely contenders in racing forever.

6. What legacy did Forward Pass leave on the sporting community following its triumph at the Kentucky Derby?

The 1968 Kentucky Derby win by 'Forward Pass' not only showed the horse and its team's strength and grit but also brought about a big change in racing rules. This event forever changed the world of sports, emphasizing how crucial fair play and honesty are in horse racing.