By Mint Julep

Kentucky Derby Winner 1979 Spectacular Bid

kentucky derby winner 1979 spectacular bid

Step into the exciting journey of Spectacular Bid, an American Thoroughbred sensation known for his incredible speed and agility on the racetrack. From his beginnings at Milfer Farm to winning prestigious races like the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, Spectacular Bid remains a legendary figure in horse racing history that continues to captivate fans around the globe.

Early Life and Family Background

Spectacular Bid stands out in the history of horse racing with a sense of greatness. He was born at Milfer Farm in Versailles, Kentucky, from a strong lineage as the foal of Bold Bidder and Spectacular. Under Grover G. “Buddy” Delp Jr.’s expert guidance, people started talking about his natural talent on the track.

With every stride, Spectacular Bid showed a mix of grace and power that made him stand out early on from other horses. His shiny coat sparkled under the sun as he ran across lush fields, leaving spectators amazed by his sheer magnificence. The determined look in his eyes hinted at a spirit that refused to settle for anything less than winning – qualities that would soon establish him as one of racing’s most celebrated champions.

As he matured into his prime years, Spectacular Bid’s skills became more evident with each race he won. With elegance similar to ballet dancers and strength like mythical creatures, he charged forward like a force of nature on those revered tracks where dreams turned into reality before our very eyes.

During those crucial years at Milfer Farm amid rolling hills and gentle winds carrying tales of equine excellence throughout Kentucky’s bluegrass region, Spectacular Bid honed abilities that would later etch his name deeply into racing folklore—a legacy not only based on speed but also unmatched determination against any competitor bold enough to challenge him.

Introduction to Racing

When Spectacular Bid burst onto the racing scene in 1978, he immediately captivated fans with his stunning presence. Owned by Hawksworth Farm and trained by Buddy Delp, this horse seemed destined for greatness from the start. His strong build and powerful strides hinted at an exceptional talent waiting to shine, winning over supporters right away.

Spectacular Bid wasted no time in leaving his mark on the track. With each thunderous gallop and graceful leap forward, he mesmerized spectators with his skill and speed. His ability to effortlessly surpass competitors appeared almost magical—a true reflection of his extraordinary breeding and natural abilities that set him apart as a rising legend rather than just another racer.

Watching Spectacular Bid race wasn’t simply about victory; it was like witnessing art come to life—a harmonious blend of strength and elegance on display. As he conquered challenges with finesse, viewers couldn’t help but be drawn into his commanding presence, cheering for him passionately like believers enchanted by a mythical figure brought into reality.

Despite facing tough rivals throughout his career, these encounters only highlighted Spectacular Bid’s unparalleled brilliance on the racetrack. He didn’t just win races; he dominated them so convincingly that defeat seemed impossible when associated with him. Each triumph added another remarkable chapter to horse racing history—an era where legends like him stood out as eternal champions.

Every hoofbeat carried untold stories—tales of victories celebrated under waving flags and cheers echoing through legendary grounds reserved solely for champions’ glory. Spectacular Bid wasn’t merely a horse; he symbolized dreams realized against all odds—the epitome of determination, poise, and excellence seamlessly woven together under promising skies awaiting fulfillment.

The Pros & Cons of Racing Legends


  1. Future jockeys and horse trainers look up to racing stars for inspiration.

  2. Racing legends inject thrill and honor into the world of horse racing.

  3. Fans are drawn in by their captivating tales, evoking a sense of nostalgia.

  4. The impact that racing legends have on the history of horse racing is enduring.


  1. Current competitors may feel overwhelmed by the pressure to perform at legendary levels.

  2. Newer talent in racing can struggle for recognition and success when overshadowed by racing legends.

  3. Those responsible for caring for retired racing legends face challenges in maintaining their legacy.

  4. Controversies or scandals involving racing legends have the potential to damage both their reputation and the sport's image.

Triple Crown Pursuit

In 1979, Spectacular Bid was on a mission to win the Triple Crown – his journey unfolding like a perfectly orchestrated symphony. Each race added its own unique touch to an already beautiful melody. His victory at the Kentucky Derby sent shockwaves through Churchill Downs, leaving everyone eager for what would come next. The Preakness Stakes was up next – a chance for him to further solidify his place among racing greats.

As Spectacular Bid raced around the track at Pimlico Race Course during the Preakness Stakes, spectators were captivated by his sheer power and unwavering determination. Despite facing heavy rain and a muddy track that day, he handled challenges with grace, much like an experienced sailor navigating rough seas. Every stride brought him closer not just to winning but also to securing his spot in horse racing history.

The Belmont Stakes awaited like a coveted prize reserved only for the most deserving. Spectacular Bid stood ready on the edge of greatness, poised to claim glory with every fiber of his being. Though fate had other plans that day, casting shadows over what could have been a historic moment, nothing could dim this magnificent colt’s legacy—a legacy built on unmatched talent and unwavering spirit on tracks where dreams are both fulfilled and shattered.

Record-breaking Kentucky Derby Win

Spectacular Bid’s win at the 105th Kentucky Derby was like watching a firestorm ignite the track. Racing to victory in a stunning time of 2:02.40, he effortlessly conquered the classic 1 1/4-mile distance, leaving everyone in awe and his competitors far behind him. With odds of .60-1, it seemed almost certain that this superstar horse would dominate Churchill Downs that day and secure his place in racing history.

The crowd erupted as Spectacular Bid charged towards triumph on that legendary May afternoon back in ’79. Under Ron Franklin’s expert guidance, each step spoke volumes about his power and skill on the racetrack. It wasn’t just a race; it was a bold statement marking the beginning of an unforgettable legacy destined to be remembered for generations.

Watching Spectacular Bid make history at the Kentucky Derby felt like witnessing an artist creating magic right before your eyes—except this masterpiece was crafted by hooves instead of hands. Every stride forward not only sealed his victory but also won over hearts worldwide with his exceptional talent and unwavering passion for racing excellence.

Memorable Moments: Top Finishers at the Race

Finished Post Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Time / behind
1st 4 Spectacular Bid Ron Franklin Bud Delp Hawksworth Farm 2:02 2/5
2nd 1 General Assembly Laffit Pincay Jr. LeRoy Jolley Bertram R. Firestone 2 ¾
3rd 2 Golden Act Sandy Hawley Loren Rettele William H. Oldknow & Robert W. Phipps 3
4th 7 King Celebrity Cash Asmussen Robert J. Taylor Che-Bar Stable 1 ¾
5th 8 Flying Paster Donald Pierce Gordon C. Campbell Bernard J. Ridder 2 ½
6th 6 Screen King Angel Cordero Jr. Luis Barrera Flying Zee Stable 3 ½
7th 1A Sir Ivor Again Don MacBeth LeRoy Jolley Mrs. Tilyou Christopher 3 ¼
8th 5 Shamgo Frank Olivares John Sullivan Rogers Red Top Inc. 1 ¼
9th 9 Lot O’ Gold Donald Brumfield Smiley Adams Frederick E. Lehmann 4 ¼
10th 3 Great Redeemer Richard Depass James A. Mohamed Mr. & Mrs. James Mohamed 25

Impressive Pedigree and Breeding

Spectacular Bid comes from a long line of famous racehorses, tracing back to the legendary Bold Ruler, known for his speed and endurance. Spectacular Bid inherited not only physical strength but also a winning attitude from this impressive ancestor. Secretariat, another racing icon, added even more power and grace to the mix, making Spectacular Bid stand out among competitors.

The combination of these strong bloodlines created a one-of-a-kind horse – powerful yet graceful, leaving spectators amazed as he raced down the tracks. Thanks to their shared genetics, Spectacular Bid excelled on the racetrack with incredible speed and determination that wowed crowds. With each stride he took echoing past champions’ legacies, Spectacular Bid embodied excellence in every race he ran.

It almost seemed like destiny when Spectacular Bid was born with such an illustrious pedigree that promised greatness right from the start. The blend of Bold Ruler’s agility and Secretariat’s spirit shone brightly in every competition where this majestic horse appeared. His breeding wasn’t just luck; it was carefully planned by generations who had mastered their craft on racetracks worldwide—a testament to how ancestry can shape success on those revered grounds where champions rise or fall.

Dominance in Three-year-old Season

In 1979, Spectacular Bid had a remarkable three-year-old season that left everyone in awe. The young colt blazed through Grade I stakes races, impressing spectators with his amazing talent on the track. His wins at prestigious events like the Flamingo Stakes and Blue Grass Stakes showcased his exceptional skill and unwavering determination leading up to the famous Kentucky Derby.

Spectacular Bid was incredibly consistent, making him a formidable competitor among his peers. He wasn’t just winning races; he was dominating them with finesse and style that garnered admiration from fans and rivals alike. Each race felt like a perfectly orchestrated symphony, building up to an inevitable victory every time he hit the track.

With each powerful stride down the homestretch, Spectacular Bid not only clinched victories but also cemented his place in horse racing history books. His legacy cast a long shadow over other competitors, inspiring future generations who aimed for such greatness on the turf. In 1979, he didn’t just win races; he epitomized what it meant to reign supreme during one’s three-year-old season—a feat that few could even dream of matching.

Legendary tales of the '79 Derby champion

  1. Legendary stories of the '79 Derby winner:

  2. Spectacular Bid's Undefeated Streak: As a two-year-old, Spectacular Bid won all nine races he competed in, showcasing his extraordinary talent and dominance on the track.

  3. The Shoe Incident: An intriguing event unfolded before the 1979 Kentucky Derby when Spectacular Bid accidentally stepped on a safety pin, sparking rumors of foul play. Despite this setback, he triumphed decisively in the race.

  4. Almost Triple Crown Champ: In 1979, Spectacular Bid came close to winning the Triple Crown but finished third in the Belmont Stakes after stepping on a safety pin mid-race. Many believe this unfortunate incident was what cost him victory in that prestigious competition.

  5. Setting Records: Throughout his career, Spectacular Bid established numerous records including clocking the fastest time for running one mile and an eighth on dirt at that time. His exceptional speed and endurance made him stand out as a star in horse racing circles.

  6. Lasting Impact: Even years after retiring from competitive racing, Spectacular Bid is still regarded as one of horse racing's most celebrated champions ever known. His legacy endures through his outstanding performances and unforgettable moments during races."

Unforgettable Run in Preakness Stakes

In 1979, Spectacular Bid won the Preakness Stakes, showcasing his incredible talent and dominance on the racetrack. Despite facing tough competition, he showed unmatched determination and skill that left no doubt about his racing abilities.

The race was an exciting mix of speed and strategy, with Spectacular Bid expertly guided by jockey Ronnie Franklin as they navigated the track flawlessly. Their strong partnership stood out as they surged past their rivals, displaying a fierce desire to win that amazed everyone watching.

With each powerful stride towards the finish line, Spectacular Bid proved himself not only as a champion but also as a legendary figure in horse racing. His performance at the Preakness Stakes was pure brilliance—a moment that will always be remembered in history.

Looking back now, Spectacular Bid’s victory at the Preakness Stakes is a great example of excellence and perseverance in thoroughbred racing—a feat that continues to inspire both fans and professionals alike. His legacy remains a symbol of greatness, reminding us all that true champions are made through unwavering determination and exceptional talent.

Legacy of Excellence

Spectacular Bid made a lasting mark on horse racing enthusiasts worldwide with his outstanding performances on the racetrack. He won an impressive 26 out of 30 races, including prestigious events like the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, firmly establishing himself as one of the greatest thoroughbred racehorses in history.

During his career, Spectacular Bid dominated by winning 12 consecutive stakes races—a remarkable feat that few horses have been able to match. His exceptional talent shone through as he excelled across different distances and surfaces, showcasing brilliance every time he raced. Under the guidance of renowned trainer Grover G. “Buddy” Delp and ridden by skilled jockeys like Ronnie Franklin and Bill Shoemaker, Spectacular Bid not only set records but also captured the hearts of fans who witnessed his greatness firsthand.

Beyond just numbers, Spectacular Bid’s charisma extended far beyond the racetracks; he symbolized excellence and served as an inspiration for aspiring champions everywhere. Even after retiring from racing, this bay colt continued to inspire generations with his work ethic and unwavering spirit. The cheers from adoring crowds still echo whenever conversations steer towards iconic figures that defined eras in this sport.

In many ways, Spectacular Bid surpassed mere athleticism; he embodied grace under pressure while exuding sheer power down those homestretches seemingly designed specifically for him—each triumph adding another vibrant stroke to a canvas filled with colorful victories painted by thundering hoofbeats at some of America’s most legendary tracks—that is how legends are made!

Induction Into Racing Hall of Fame

When Spectacular Bid was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame, it marked a long-awaited recognition of his incredible talent. His record-breaking victories and complete dominance on the track firmly established him as one of the greatest in the sport. Fans from all over eagerly gathered at Saratoga Springs to honor this iconic racehorse, whose legacy continues to inspire racing enthusiasts.

With each powerful stride on renowned racetracks, Spectacular Bid captured hearts and left a lasting impression on fans and competitors alike. The induction into the Hall of Fame not only celebrated his speed but also highlighted his determination in overcoming obstacles with grace and composure. As visitors pass by his plaque today, they are reminded of a champion whose impact remains strong like an everlasting flame illuminating horse racing history.

In that esteemed hall where champions are immortalized, Spectacular Bid’s presence shines brightly—a testament that true greatness transcends time itself. His enshrinement symbolizes more than just winning races; it represents achieving dreams against all odds—an inspiration for those who dare to pursue glory with full determination like a majestic thoroughbred charging towards victory down the final stretch toward destiny.


1. How did Spectacular Bid's performance at the 1979 Kentucky Derby compare to other legendary horses in history?

In 1979, Spectacular Bid crushed the competition at the Kentucky Derby, proving his amazing talent and securing a spot among the greatest horses in history. His performance was a dazzling display of skill and speed that highlighted his brilliance on the racetrack.

2. What made Spectacular Bid stand out as a dominant force leading up to the Kentucky Derby that year?

Spectacular Bid stood out as a powerful competitor before the Kentucky Derby, thanks to his impressive mix of speed, endurance, and total control on the track. His unmatched skills and unwavering drive demonstrated his determination to become a force in the world of racing.

3. Can you elaborate on Spectacular Bid's jockey and trainer during his victorious run at the 1979 Kentucky Derby?

Absolutely! In 1979, Ronnie Franklin skillfully rode Spectacular Bid to win the Kentucky Derby. Grover G. "Bud" Delp trained this amazing colt, leading them to an incredible victory that will always be remembered.

4. In what ways did Spectacular Bid's victory at the Kentucky Derby solidify his reputation as one of the greatest racehorses of all time?

Spectacular Bid's incredible win at the Kentucky Derby didn't just show off how fast and strong he was, but also proved his determination, making him known as one of the best racehorses ever.

5. What were some key challenges or obstacles that Spectacular Bid overcame en route to his memorable win at the 1979 Kentucky Derby?

In the 1979 Kentucky Derby, Spectacular Bid faced tough challenges. Despite starting from a wide post position and encountering a rough trip during the race, he managed to win after almost colliding with another horse that had fallen. This victory highlighted his outstanding skills and unwavering determination.

6. How did Spectacular Bid's triumph at the Kentucky Derby influence his subsequent races and overall legacy in horse racing history?

Spectacular Bid crushed the competition at the Kentucky Derby, propelling him to more wins in other races and cementing his reputation as one of the top racehorses ever.