By Mint Julep

Montrose Kentucky Derby Winner 1887

montrose kentucky derby winner 1887

Embark on an exciting adventure through the captivating world of horse racing history as you delve into Montrose’s incredible win at the 1887 Kentucky Derby. Experience the fierce competition, strategic planning, and joyous festivities that surrounded this legendary race. Learn about how Montrose’s victory left a lasting impact, cementing his legacy as a top champion among elite racehorses.

Montrose’s Background and Early Training

In 1887, Montrose won the Kentucky Derby under the careful breeding and training of John McGinty. Labold Bros., owned by Alexander S. & Isaac Labold, nurtured Montrose’s exceptional speed and agility from an early racing career stage.

His background reflects dedication and hard work behind the scenes. With each stride on the track, Montrose not only displayed raw talent but also demonstrated hours of sweat equity invested in his development by both McGinty and Labold Bros. This winning combination propelled him towards greatness at Churchill Downs during that memorable Derby day.

During his formative years leading up to his iconic Kentucky Derby victory, observers admired Montrose’s graceful yet powerful presence on every racecourse he graced. His journey was more than just about winning races; it embodied resilience and skill refinement honed through numerous practice runs under watchful eyes dedicated to nurturing his potential.

Montrose’s ascent to fame wasn’t mere luck or chance; it represented passion meeting preparation head-on in a precise choreographed dance executed with finesse—a story told not only through victories but also through overcoming setbacks with unwavering determination deeply etched into this remarkable steed’s history books forevermore.

The 13th Running of the Kentucky Derby

The 1887 Kentucky Derby proved to be a game-changer for horse racing history, as it brought together top-notch competitors and attracted an excited crowd at Churchill Downs on May 11. It wasn’t just another race; it was a symbol of tradition, skill, and the competitive spirit deeply ingrained in American sports.

Montrose stole the spotlight during this momentous derby with his jaw-dropping performance that left everyone in awe. His journey to this prestigious event was paved with hard work and sheer determination, laying the groundwork for an epic showdown on race day.

As the horses thundered down the track, their hooves creating a thrilling rhythm of anticipation, Montrose surged ahead with unmatched speed and elegance. Each stride he made felt like a nod to history—a clear sign of his talent as a champion racer destined for glory.

After Montrose’s impressive win at the 1887 Kentucky Derby, celebrations erupted like bursts of fireworks lighting up the night sky. Cheers echoed through Churchill Downs as fans cheered on both the triumphant steed and his skilled jockey—an iconic duo whose names would forever be remembered in racing legends.

The Pros & Cons of Racing Legends


  1. Racing icons motivate upcoming athletes and fans of all ages.

  2. Their remarkable accomplishments help shape the vibrant history and traditions of horse racing.

  3. These legends often have captivating life stories and backgrounds that draw in audiences.

  4. They unite communities by sparking shared pride and admiration.

  5. Their triumphs can elevate the popularity and economic prosperity of the sport.

  6. Racing icons act as inspiring figures embodying perseverance, dedication, and good sportsmanship.


  1. Current athletes often feel overwhelmed by the pressure to live up to legendary status.

  2. Controversies or scandals can damage the legacy of racing legends.

  3. The sport tends to focus too much on past champions, which can overshadow today's talents.

  4. Prioritizing winning above all else may lead some to engage in unethical practices or take shortcuts.

  5. Racing legends face stress from unrealistic expectations set by fans and stakeholders.

  6. Fans sometimes argue over different eras in racing history, causing division.

Victory at Churchill Downs

In the 1887 Kentucky Derby, Montrose clinched victory under jockey Isaac E. Lewis’s expert guidance. With astounding racing skills, Montrose outpaced other top competitors to claim first place in a thrilling finish that marked him as a standout champion of his time.

The day of the race at Churchill Downs buzzed with excitement as spectators waited eagerly to see which horse would make history that year. Among all the contenders, Montrose shone not just for speed but also for his graceful presence on the track—a true example of excellence in horse racing.

As hooves pounded against the turf and cheers filled the air, Montrose surged forward with unwavering determination that distinguished him from rival horses vying for victory. Every stride he took exuded sheer willpower—an undeniable energy driving him towards triumph amidst an enthusiastic crowd of supporters.

In those heart-pounding moments leading up to his win, it wasn’t just about crossing first; it was about captivating both hearts and minds—a mark only achieved by those destined for greatness like Montrose. Each powerful gallop towards success painted a vivid picture of resilience and exceptional talent under Lewis’s skilled handling.

Montrose’s triumphant performance at Churchill Downs left an enduring impression long after he crossed the finish line—forever securing his name among legendary horses who had graced those historic grounds before him. In that unforgettable win lay not only individual accomplishment but also a testament to relentless dedication and raw ability seamlessly coming together on one unforgettable derby day.

Payouts and Prizes

When Montrose won the 1887 Kentucky Derby, it not only made him a legend in horse racing history but also earned his owners, Labold Bros., a cool $4,200. This big cash prize showed just how fierce the competition was and how much was at stake in one of America’s most prestigious horse races. Even second place didn’t go home empty-handed with $300, while third place still walked away with a respectable $150.

The payouts and rewards for the 1887 Kentucky Derby highlighted the excitement and appeal of this famous event. Winning this race wasn’t just about bragging rights; it meant serious money for all involved. With Montrose taking first place and getting a fantastic reward for his hard work, it showcased how profitable thoroughbred racing could be back then. These winnings weren’t just numbers; they represented dedication, talent, and unwavering determination that all came together on that important day at Churchill Downs.

In those times when success was measured by both speed on the track and monetary gains off it too, Montrose’s win showed excellence both in racing performance as well as financial prosperity. The generous prize given to winners like him emphasized that each step towards victory wasn’t simply about finishing first – it symbolized overcoming challenges, seizing opportunities, and reaping real benefits from hours spent training these majestic horses for moments that would forever be etched in sporting history.

Exciting Finish: Montrose Claims Victory in Thrilling Race

Finished Post Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Time / behind
1st 7 Montrose Isaac E. Lewis John McGinty Labold Bros. (Alexander S. & Isaac Labold) 2:39.25
2nd 5 Jim Gore William J. Fitzpatrick Amos G. McCampbell 2
3rd 3 Jackobin John Stoval Robert Lisle 1
4th 2 Banburg Harry Blaylock James Murphy James D. Morrisey 2
5th 1 Clarion Arnold Fleetwood Stable Nose
6th 6 Ban Yan Godfrey William O. Scully
7th 4 Pendennis Isaac Murphy Santa Anita Stable

Racing Legacy and Impact

Montrose’s stunning victory at the 1887 Kentucky Derby had a profound impact that reached far beyond the racetrack, resonating through horse racing history like a powerful thundering sound. This win wasn’t just about finishing first; it was about beating the odds and making his mark among legends of horse racing. His triumph represented determination, skill, and pure grit—a story that continues to inspire both riders and spectators.

The influence of Montrose’s historic win spread across generations of aspiring equestrians, inspiring hope with every step taken on racecourses worldwide. Like ripples in a pond caused by throwing a stone, Montrose’s legacy traveled far and wide—each subsequent champion carrying echoes of his incredible journey to success. He became more than just a winner; he became an iconic figure embodying dreams pursued against all challenges.

Beyond achieving victory at one prestigious event, Montrose secured himself a lasting place in the hearts of racing fans everywhere. His win highlighted how perseverance can bring unexpected rewards—an underdog tale turned into an anthem for overcoming adversity. The effects from his Derby triumph still affect modern-day races today, reminding us that greatness often emerges when courage confronts opportunities head-on.

By honoring Montrose’s legacy now, we not only celebrate one remarkable horse’s achievement but also pay tribute to the spirit defining champions—the relentless drive to break barriers and surpass expectations set by oneself or others. Every time hooves pound down tracks globally or crowds roar with excitement as horses gallop toward glory—it recalls memories deeply rooted in history where Montrose stands tall among those who dared greatly and emerged victorious.

Historical Context and Significance

The 1887 Kentucky Derby was a game-changer in the world of horse racing. Montrose’s win showed just how skilled and determined both the horse and its jockey were. This victory didn’t just make Montrose famous in sports history, but it also highlighted the fierce competition that defined this top-tier event.

Montrose’s triumph at the Kentucky Derby wasn’t just another race; it represented grit and perseverance against tough rivals. The thrilling vibe on race day added to the excitement, pulling spectators into the heart-pumping action happening on the track. With each step towards victory, Montrose made its mark in Derby history books, creating a legacy for future generations.

As cheers erupted for Montrose’s incredible performance, it became clear that this win would go down as a key moment in Kentucky Derby lore for years to come. The historical impact of Montrose’s victory went beyond Churchill Downs, sparking discussions about fairness, commitment, and unyielding determination. In simple terms, Montrose’s win captured what makes horse racing such an exciting and timeless spectacle.

Fascinating Lore Surrounding Montrose's Derby Triumph

  1. ### The Intriguing Story Behind Montrose's Victory in the Derby

  2. **Unique Training Techniques:** Rumor has it that Montrose underwent unconventional training, such as consuming a mix of honey, oats, and beer to boost his stamina and endurance for the big race.

  3. **Mysterious Background:** Montrose's origins were veiled in mystery; some believed he descended from a lineage of mystical horses known for their supernatural speed and agility on the track.

  4. **Lucky Number Seven:** Montrose pulled off a stunning win at the 1887 Kentucky Derby starting from post position seven – a number considered lucky by many superstitious fans of horse racing.

  5. **Underdog Success:** In the 1887 Kentucky Derby, Montrose was seen as an underdog with odds stacked against him. However, his unexpected victory over favored competitors etched his name into racing history as a true dark horse tale.

  6. **Enduring Impact:** Fans and historians still celebrate Montrose's triumph at the 1887 Kentucky Derby today, highlighting how perseverance and determination can overcome challenges to create lasting legacies in sports history.

Jockey Isaac E. Lewis’s Role

Isaac E. Lewis showed off his exceptional talent and close connection with Montrose as they raced down the track, maneuvering through a crowded field of competitors at the 1887 Kentucky Derby. His smart decisions and precise handling of Montrose revealed an unspoken bond between jockey and horse, demonstrating their perfect teamwork in the midst of intense competition.

Lewis’s expertise was on full display that memorable day when every choice he made impacted the result of this prestigious race. With nerves of steel and unwavering concentration, he guided Montrose to victory by outsmarting opponents while maintaining flawless coordination with his trusty steed—a true testament to the artistry and skill required in top-tier horse racing.

The partnership between Isaac E. Lewis and Montrose went beyond just speed; it represented a harmonious blend of trust, communication, and mutual admiration culminating in an unforgettable win at Churchill Downs. Their seamless collaboration captured the essence of teamwork in horse racing—where two individuals unite as one to pursue glory amidst roaring cheers from spectators mesmerized by their enchanting performance on that fateful Derby day.

Trainer John Mcginty’s Strategy

Trainer John McGinty played a crucial role in getting Montrose ready for the 1887 Kentucky Derby by meticulously preparing and offering strategic insights. His dedication to training and developing top-notch racehorses set Montrose up as a strong competitor.

By truly understanding each horse he worked with, McGinty could create tailored training plans that brought out their individual strengths, helping them perform better during races. This personalized approach not only built trust between the horses and their trainer but also maximized each horse’s abilities.

Montrose’s win wasn’t just luck – it showcased McGinty’s expertise, unwavering commitment, and careful planning. Through his efforts, an average steed was transformed into a champion at Churchill Downs on that unforgettable day.


1. How did Montrose's background and training contribute to his victory at the 1887 Kentucky Derby?

Montrose's success at the 1887 Kentucky Derby was greatly influenced by his impressive skills as a well-trained racehorse, nurtured under the expert guidance of his trainer, Hardy Campbell.

2. What were some of the key challenges Montrose faced leading up to the race, and how did he overcome them?

At the 1887 Kentucky Derby, Montrose conquered obstacles as an underdog with little racing experience. He had to prove himself against seasoned competitors but he triumphed through sheer determination, dedicated training, and a strong connection with his jockey. This led him to achieve a remarkable victory at the prestigious event.

3. Can you describe the atmosphere and excitement surrounding the 1887 Kentucky Derby on race day?

Excitement filled the air at the 1887 Kentucky Derby as fans eagerly anticipated the thrilling race between top horses. The crowd was electrified by Montrose's historic victory, creating a memorable moment for all in attendance.

4. What were some notable moments or strategies during the actual race that helped Montrose secure his win?

Isaac Lewis, Montrose's jockey during the 1887 Kentucky Derby, cleverly placed him along the inside rail. This move helped Montrose unleash a strong burst of speed in the last stretch and clinch victory.

5. How did Montrose's victory at the 1887 Kentucky Derby impact the world of horse racing at that time?

Montrose's surprising win at the 1887 Kentucky Derby boosted his reputation as an unlikely champion and revolutionized the horse racing scene by highlighting the power of unexpected successes, motivating upcoming racers and fans.

6. What lasting legacy did Montrose leave behind after his historic win at the Kentucky Derby?

When Montrose won the 1887 Kentucky Derby, it made history by being the first horse bred in California to win this famous race. This victory opened doors for other horses from the West Coast to show their skills and make a name for themselves in the competitive world of horse racing.