By Mint Julep

Johnstown 1939 Kentucky Derby Winner

johnstown 1939 kentucky derby winner

In this thrilling tale, we delve into the world of horse racing and follow the incredible journey of a champion. Starting from his humble beginnings, witness how Johnstown soared to victory at the prestigious Kentucky Derby in 1939. Alongside trainer James E. Fitzsimmons and jockey James Stout, experience firsthand the talent, dedication, and passion that propelled Johnstown to success on the race track. Learn about Belair Stud’s ownership and Claiborne Farm’s breeding expertise as they played pivotal roles in shaping Johnstown’s unforgettable triumph at Churchill Downs – securing a lasting legacy in horse racing history.

Johnstown’s Background and Early Years

Johnstown, a standout horse from Claiborne Farm in Kentucky, was born to race. Trained by the renowned James E. Fitzsimmons and sporting the colors of Belair Stud, this remarkable steed was destined for glory right from the start.

From an early age, Johnstown showed exceptional speed and endurance on the track. With Fitzsimmons’ expert coaching, this horse honed its abilities and emerged as a strong contender in thoroughbred racing circles.

Belair Stud’s ownership added another level of prestige to Johnstown’s tale. Known for producing top-notch racehorses with impressive lineage, Belair Stud made sure that Johnstown possessed all the qualities needed to shine brightly on racing’s grandest stages.

As Johnstown thundered down Churchill Downs on that significant day in 1939, jockey James Stout skillfully guided it towards victory with finesse worthy of a true master at work. The winning combination of Stout’s expertise and Johnstown’s natural talent proved unbeatable as they raced past their rivals towards triumph.

The unforgettable legacy of Johnstown at the 1939 Kentucky Derby lives on as a testament to dedication, teamwork, and unwavering determination within horse racing history. With Claiborne Farm breeding excellence blending seamlessly with Fitzsimmons’ training skills,

Belair Stud’s prestigious ownership touch,

and Stout’s expert jockeying finesse – it truly was a match made in racetrack heaven!

Road to the Kentucky Derby Victory

Let me share with you the exciting story of how Johnstown won the 1939 Kentucky Derby! This talented colt, trained by the legendary James E. Fitzsimmons and owned by Belair Stud, was destined for greatness. With jockey James Stout guiding him, Johnstown showed confidence and grace as they raced towards Churchill Downs on that important day in May.

The anticipation surrounding Johnstown before the 65th running of the Kentucky Derby was electric. Fans and experts were impressed by his flawless form and unwavering determination on the track. The collaboration between trainer Fitzsimmons, jockey Stout, and Belair Stud proved to be a winning combination that set Johnstown apart from his rivals.

In horse racing circles, it is said that raising a champion requires teamwork. It was truly a group effort that led to Johnstown’s victory at Churchill Downs. From rigorous training under Fitzsimmons’ guidance to Stout’s expert race-day handling, every aspect played a crucial role in molding Johnstown into an exceptional racehorse capable of claiming victory when it counted most.

When the gates opened at Churchill Downs on that historic day in 1939, all eyes were on Johnstown as he raced down the homestretch with remarkable speed and precision. The cheers from fans only spurred him on as he crossed the finish line first, securing his place in Kentucky Derby history forever.

Looking back at Johnstown’s triumph reveals more than just one victorious moment—it showcases grit, talent, teamwork,and sheer passion for horseracing embodied by everyone involved in his journey to glory at America’s premier horse racing event: The Kentucky Derby.Cheers filled Churchill Downs as fans celebrated not just a win but also a legacy—a legacy built through dedication and dreams coming true against all odds.”

The Pros & Cons of Racing Legends


  1. Future athletes get inspired by racing legends

  2. They demonstrate the importance of working hard and never giving up

  3. Racing legends bring fans together and connect them through shared history

  4. Their experiences teach valuable life lessons that can be educational

  5. These icons often shatter barriers, opening doors for diversity in sports

  6. They add to the diverse history of sports


  1. Some famous racers might outshine lesser-known but equally talented athletes

  2. Current athletes can feel overwhelmed by the pressure to match a legendary status

  3. Controversies or scandals involving racing stars could damage their reputation

  4. The focus on well-known racers might overlook other important parts of sports history

  5. Fans and media sometimes have high expectations that stress out popular racers

  6. Making legends in racing sound like myths may warp how amazing their accomplishments truly are

The Winning Jockey: James Stout

Jockey James Stout had an incredible partnership with Johnstown that many considered legendary. His deep understanding of the horse’s abilities and his skill in maneuvering through a crowded field set him apart from other jockeys of his time.

Stout remained calm under pressure as he expertly guided Johnstown to victory at Churchill Downs, making quick decisions that ultimately led to their success. Handling the intensity and unpredictability of high-stakes races requires a special kind of rider, and Stout proved himself to be one of the best.

The bond between Stout and Johnstown went beyond just working together; it was built on hours of training, getting to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, creating a seamless unity on race day. Trust between jockey and horse is crucial in any race but especially in prestigious events like the Kentucky Derby where every move matters.

When they crossed the finish line in 1939, Stout not only secured his place in racing history but also solidified Belair Stud’s reputation for breeding exceptional champions. The legacy he helped build alongside trainer James E. Fitzsimmons remains a testament to skill, dedication, and an unbreakable connection between man and horse.

Trainer Extraordinaire: James E. Fitzsimmons

The famous trainer James E. Fitzsimmons played a key role in getting Johnstown ready for success at the Kentucky Derby. With his extensive experience and expertise in training top-notch racehorses, Fitzsimmons’ methods proved effective when Johnstown triumphed on race day.

Fitzsimmons, known for his sharp eye for talent and meticulous attention to detail, fine-tuned Johnstown’s skills leading up to the big Derby event. His ability to teach discipline and push his horses to peak performance set him apart as an exceptional trainer in horse racing.

Guided by Fitzsimmons, Johnstown displayed outstanding speed and stamina during important workouts, setting the scene for an impressive athletic performance on Derby day. The connection between trainer and horse was strong, reflecting years of hard work and mutual respect that culminated in their victory at Churchill Downs.

The legacy of James E. Fitzsimmons lives on through champions like Johnstown, cementing his name among some of the greatest trainers in racing history. His influence goes beyond just winning races; it represents a deep understanding of equine excellence that has made a lasting impact on the sport for future generations.

Race Results: Top Finishers and Their Performances

Finished Post Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Time / behind
1st Johnstown James Stout James E. Fitzsimmons Belair Stud 2:03 2/5
2nd Challedon George Seabo Louis Schaefer William L. Brann
3rd Heather Broom Basil James Earl Sande John Hay Whitney
4th Viscounty Carroll Bierman John J. Flanigan Valdina Farms Stable
5th Technician Johnny Adams Ben A. Jones Woolford Farm
6th El Chico Nick Wall Matthew P. Brady William Ziegler Jr.
7th T. M. Dorsett Leon Haas John B. Theall Joe W. Brown
8th On Location Alfred M. Robertson Roy Waldron Milky Way Farm Stable

Belair Stud: Owners of a Champion

In 1939, at the Kentucky Derby, Johnstown made history with an incredible win that left Belair Stud beaming with pride. This renowned stud farm is known for its dedication to breeding top racehorses and their hard work paid off as Johnstown raced to victory at Churchill Downs.

Trainer James E. Fitzsimmons expertly guided Johnstown, while jockey James Stout skillfully controlled the reins, leading them to a memorable triumph at the prestigious event. Their teamwork highlighted the importance of collaboration and expertise in creating a champion like no other.

Belair Stud’s legacy goes beyond just winning accolades; it represents a strong commitment to excellence and passion for horse racing that continues to inspire fans worldwide. With each powerful hoofbeat resonating through time, Johnstown remains a symbol of Belair Stud’s lasting impact as owners who truly knew how to nurture champions in the world of horse racing.

Track Conditions and Racing Surface

The Churchill Downs held the 1939 Kentucky Derby on a dirt track that was tough and exciting for the horses racing. As Johnstown raced down the stretch, his hooves kicking up dirt behind him, it was amazing to see how strong and graceful this impressive racehorse was. The track conditions that day made the race even more unpredictable, testing not only the speed of the horses but also their skill at maneuvering through different terrains.

Jockey James Stout showed incredible skill as he guided Johnstown during the race. With each step, he expertly directed his horse through rough parts of the track, demonstrating a deep understanding of both horse and course. It seemed like they were dancing together perfectly amidst all the dust and chaos around them. Stout’s bond with Johnstown went beyond just physicality; it was built through hours of training and trust between them.

Belair Stud owning Johnstown added prestige to his win at the 1939 Kentucky Derby. Their commitment to breeding top-quality horses paid off with this victory, establishing them as respected figures in horse racing circles. Belair Stud’s legacy wasn’t just about one race – it represented years of dedication, passion, and relentless pursuit of excellence in thoroughbred racing overall. By claiming victory under Churchill Downs’ sunny skies that day, Belair Stud secured its place in history among other esteemed owners who have shaped horse racing’s rich heritage.

Legendary Tales of Johnstown's Derby Triumph

  1. Exciting Stories of Johnstown's Big Win at the Derby:

  2. The 1939 Kentucky Derby was a huge moment for Johnstown, the dark bay colt who came from behind to beat his competitors and clinch victory in an electrifying race.

  3. Despite being seen as a risky bet with odds of 20-1, Johnstown's unexpected win won over racing fans and cemented his place in Derby history.

  4. Legend has it that Johnstown had a special knack for sensing the finish line, which allowed him to make stunning late surges and win races by tiny margins.

  5. Winning the 1939 Kentucky Derby was the highlight of Johnstown's racing career, propelling him into fame among some of the most celebrated horses of his time.

  6. Even now, people still talk about Johnstown's epic Derby triumph as proof of how thrilling and magical horse racing can be—an inspiration for both future racehorses and fans alike.

Timeless Triumphs and Legacy

In 1939, Johnstown achieved a remarkable victory at the Kentucky Derby through a combination of skill, strategy, and pure determination. Trainer James E. Fitzsimmons carefully prepared the colt for this prestigious race, showcasing his expertise in training champions on the track.

Jockey James Stout expertly steered Johnstown to success with finesse and precision, displaying exceptional horsemanship that left spectators amazed. The seamless teamwork between jockey and horse highlighted their outstanding coordination on the racetrack.

The ownership of Johnstown by Belair Stud added an extra level of prestige to its triumph at Churchill Downs. As one of the most respected thoroughbred breeding farms back then, Belair Stud’s involvement further solidified Johnstown’s position among racing greats.

Johnstown’s legacy surpasses generations as a source of inspiration for aspiring equestrians and racing fans worldwide. Its impact on horse racing history lives on through stories told with reverence and admiration for this extraordinary champion.

With every stride towards glory at Churchill Downs in 1939, Johnstown carved its name into the annals of horse racing immortality—a testament to unwavering spirit, unmatched talent, and relentless perseverance that still resonates within fans’ hearts across time.

Recognition for Breeder Claiborne Farm (KY)

Claiborne Farm is known for breeding top-quality racehorses, and one shining example of their success is Johnstown. The careful work and expertise that went into creating this champion thoroughbred are evident in every race he ran. Claiborne Farm’s dedication to excellence can be seen throughout Johnstown’s impressive career.

Located in Kentucky, Claiborne Farm is a leader in the world of horse racing, known for producing exceptional horses like Johnstown who continue their tradition of breeding excellence. It takes a special touch to raise champions, and Claiborne Farm has perfected that skill.

The bloodlines of Johnstown showcase Claiborne Farm’s commitment to producing high-caliber racehorses. Each stride on the track not only displayed natural talent but also reflected the strategic planning and selective breeding practices used by this respected institution. Their vision led to greatness with each step underscoring their unwavering pursuit of perfection.

In horse racing, having a strong team behind every win is crucial for success. For Claiborne Farm, watching their prized creation triumph at prestigious races such as the Kentucky Derby must have been incredibly rewarding—a true validation of all their hard work culminating in an amazing victory.

As fans cheered from the stands and enthusiasts admired his speed and elegance, it was clear that Johnstown was more than just a racehorse—he embodied everything Claiborne Farm stands for: excellence, determination, and an unrelenting drive for greatness packaged beautifully into one magnificent equine athlete.

Runner-up Contenders and Competitive Field

In 1939, Johnstown became a legend in horse racing history by winning the Kentucky Derby. But let’s not forget about the tough competition he faced that day. Challenging rivals like Challedon, Heather Broom, and Viscounty brought their best game to Churchill Downs, making it an intense race for fans all over the world. Their determination and skill added even more excitement to what was already a thrilling event.

Other strong contenders like Technician, El Chico, T.M Dorsett, and On Location were no pushovers either in this star-studded lineup. Each of them showed exceptional talent and grit as they battled alongside Johnstown for victory. The competitive energy among these horses took the Derby atmosphere to another level, keeping fans on the edge of their seats with every thunderous gallop around the track.

Trainer James E. Fitzsimmons’ expertise truly stood out as he guided Johnstown to his historic win at the Derby. His careful preparation and strategic planning played a crucial role in molding Johnstown into a top competitor on race day. Fitzsimmons’ dedication underscored Belair Stud’s commitment to breeding champions destined for success on the racetrack.

Jockey James Stout delivered an outstanding performance aboard Johnstown during that unforgettable Derby run. With nerves of steel and unwavering focus, Stout expertly steered his equine partner through a field full of talent towards ultimate triumph. His connection with Johnstown showcased teamwork between horse and rider—a bond built on trust, skill, and pure passion for horseracing glory.

Post-derby Celebrations and Aftermath

After winning the 1939 Kentucky Derby, everyone connected to Johnstown – including jockey James Stout, trainer James E. Fitzsimmons, owner Belair Stud, breeder Claiborne Farm (KY), and their loyal fans – celebrated at Churchill Downs in a memorable way.

The victory parade was spectacular; Trainer Fitzsimmons proudly strutted around in his tweed jacket and fedora while Jockey Stout graciously acknowledged the cheering crowd. The Belair Stud team looked on with pride as cameras captured this historic moment. It was a day of joy and success where every member of Johnstown’s group reveled in their well-deserved triumph.

As the excitement settled after the Derby at Churchill Downs, there were discussions about whether Johnstown could continue its winning streak or if it had just been beginner’s luck. One thing was clear though – with Fitzsimmons’ sharp guidance and Stout’s excellent riding skills along with Belair Stud’s solid support; Johnstown seemed destined for greatness beyond that single race victory. The glow from that Derby win lingered like a sweet scent – a memory that would forever be etched into racing history.


1. How did trainer James E. Fitzsimmons prepare Johnstown for the 1939 Kentucky Derby victory?

Trainer James E. Fitzsimmons carefully trained Johnstown using top-notch methods to improve skills, ensuring peak performance and strategic race preparation that led to their impressive win at the 1939 Kentucky Derby.

2. What were some key characteristics that made Johnstown a standout contender in the 1939 Kentucky Derby field?

Under the expert guidance of Hall of Fame trainer James E. Fitzsimmons, jockey James Stout skillfully rode Johnstown to victory in the 1939 Kentucky Derby. Johnstown's exceptional speed, stamina, and rigorous training propelled him to success, highlighting the remarkable talent fostered by Belair Stud ownership.

3. How did jockey James Stout's skill and strategy contribute to Johnstown's success at the 1939 Kentucky Derby?

Jockey James Stout's skillful riding and smart race strategies were key in leading Johnstown to win the 1939 Kentucky Derby. This victory highlighted his remarkable talent and thorough knowledge of horse racing.

4. What role did Belair Stud play in shaping Johnstown's career leading up to the 1939 Kentucky Derby win?

Belair Stud's ownership laid the groundwork for Johnstown's triumph at the 1939 Kentucky Derby. They nurtured and honed the talented colt with trainer James E. Fitzsimmons leading the way, ultimately clinching a glorious victory with jockey James Stout riding to glory.

5. How did Johnstown's victory at the 1939 Kentucky Derby impact the legacy of trainer James E. Fitzsimmons and jockey James Stout?

In 1939, Johnstown won the Kentucky Derby, which made trainer James E. Fitzsimmons and jockey James Stout even more famous for their amazing skills in handling horses. They showed how talented they were by leading this incredible colt to victory with Belair Stud as the owner.

6. In what ways did Johnstown's triumph at the 1939 Kentucky Derby influence future generations of racehorses and trainers in the sport?

In 1939, Johnstown won the Kentucky Derby with trainer James E. Fitzsimmons and jockey James Stout leading the way. The horse was owned by Belair Stud. This victory set a high standard in horse racing that motivated many others to aim for greatness in the sport.