By Mint Julep

Omar Khayyam 1917 Kentucky Derby Winner

omar khayyam 1917 kentucky derby winner

In 1917, the Kentucky Derby witnessed a remarkable victory by an overseas horse that defied all expectations. Join us as we step back in time to experience this groundbreaking moment firsthand. Meet the fierce competition, including notable rivals like Ticket and Midway, and learn about the international acclaim earned by Omar Khayyam’s historic triumph. Explore how this win continues to leave a lasting impact on one of America’s most prestigious horse races, showcasing its enduring global appeal.

Early Life and Family Background

In 1917, the Kentucky Derby was won by a horse named Omar Khayyam. Born in England, he made history as the first non-American horse to win this prestigious race at Churchill Downs. Trained by Charles T. Patterson and owned by C.K.G.

Billings & Frederick Johnson, Omar Khayyam triumphed on May 12th with jockey Charles Borel leading him to victory.

That year’s competition was intense, with many strong contenders vying for the coveted Garland of Roses. Notable rivals included Ticket who finished third in that memorable race and War Cloud who went on to win other important races during his career.

The track conditions played a crucial role in shaping this historic event; described as fast but challenging due to scattered showers before the big day which added an element of unpredictability to this thrilling spectacle on American soil.

Race Day Triumph

At Churchill Downs that memorable day, a thrilling showdown was about to unfold. The competition featured strong contenders like Ticket and Bet Mosie, but it was Omar Khayyam who captured everyone’s attention with his outstanding performance. Jockey Charles Borel skillfully guided the English-bred horse to victory, leaving spectators amazed.

The challenging track conditions added an exciting twist to the already intense race. With heavy rain making the dirt slippery, only the most skilled jockeys could navigate their way to success in this tough environment. It truly tested both horse and rider’s abilities to adapt and triumph over nature’s unpredictable challenges.

Omar Khayyam’s win at the 1917 Kentucky Derby wasn’t just about claiming a title; it marked a significant moment in racing history as he joined few foreign-bred horses in clinching victory on American soil. This achievement not only showcased international talent but also piqued interest and admiration for horses from different breeding lines among racing fans worldwide.

Looking back, Omar Khayyam’s Kentucky Derby victory stands out as a shining example of excellence amid fierce competition. His legacy lives on through generations as a symbol of determination, skill, and sheer willpower overcoming all obstacles—a reminder that greatness has no limits when striving for glory down that final stretch.

So next time you gaze at those iconic twin spires at Churchill Downs or watch thoroughbreds gallop across green pastures under blue skies, remember Omar Khayyam—the English colt whose name resonates through time as proof of courage, resilience, and unwavering spirit in pursuit of victory on legendary grounds where dreams come true.

The Pros & Cons of Racing Legends


  1. Racing legends motivate upcoming athletes to reach their full potential.

  2. Their accomplishments enrich the history and heritage of the sport.

  3. They set examples of commitment, resilience, and fair play for others to follow.

  4. The tales of racing legends bring thrill and fascination to the realm of horse racing.


  1. Current athletes may feel overwhelmed by the pressure to match up to the legendary reputation of those who came before them.

  2. Some racing legends might have had controversial or problematic personal lives.

  3. The attention on past legends could outshine the achievements of current athletes in the sport.

  4. Sometimes, people tend to romanticize legends, which can create unrealistic expectations for today's competitors.

International Recognition

Sir John Robinson, a renowned breeder from England, played a crucial role in Omar Khayyam’s victory at the 1917 Kentucky Derby. This win highlighted how international horses could thrive on American racetracks and showcased the global appeal of thoroughbred racing.

Omar Khayyam didn’t have an easy time winning the 1917 Kentucky Derby. The competition was tough, with strong rivals like Ticket putting up a fierce fight. Back then, winning big races wasn’t just about being fast; it took determination, courage, and perfect timing – qualities that both Omar Khayyam and jockey Charles Borel had in spades.

The impact of this historic triumph went beyond Churchill Downs that day. It marked a pivotal moment in American horse racing by demonstrating that talent knows no boundaries or limits. Seeing Omar Khayyam cross the finish line first not only became part of sports history but also paved the way for more international competitors to aim for success on American tracks. This forever changed the landscape of thoroughbred racing as we knew it.

Notable Competitors

In the 1917 Kentucky Derby, Omar Khayyam emerged as the winner despite facing tough competition from horses like Ticket and Midway. Skilled jockeys and talented trainers were all vying for victory at Churchill Downs.

Omar Khayyam didn’t have an easy win. He had to stay ahead with contenders like Ticket and Midway close behind, making it a fiercely competitive race. The jockeys showed determination in their rides, while trainers executed well-planned strategies on that exciting day at Churchill Downs.

Ticket brought incredible speed to challenge Omar Khayyam throughout the race, pushing him to his limits. Meanwhile, Midway displayed impressive stamina and resilience down the stretch. These competitors made sure that Omar Khayyam had to give his best performance to secure that historic win.

The track conditions played a crucial role in shaping this thrilling display of equine athleticism at the Kentucky Derby. The dirt kicked up by their powerful hooves added another level of challenge for both horses and riders alike—an intense test requiring skill under pressure where only the most exceptional could succeed.

Despite facing strong opponents such as Ticket and Midway, it was Omar Khayyam’s momentous triumph that left a mark on racing history forevermore. This victory not only highlighted his natural talent but also marked a significant milestone as he joined an elite group whose legacy still resonates—a true testament to perseverance, skill, and sheer horsepower prevailing against all odds.

1917 Kentucky Derby Top Finishers Snapshot

Finished Post Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Time / behind
1st 8 Omar Khayyam Charles Borel Charles T. Patterson C. K. G. Billings & Frederick Johnson 2:04.60
2nd 3 Ticket John McTaggart A. J. Goldsborough Andrew Miller 2
3rd 1 Midway Claude Hunt William J. Young James W. Parrish 1+1/2
4th 11 Rickety Frank Robinson James G. Rowe Sr. Harry Payne Whitney 4
5th 9 War Star Merrit C. Buxton Walter B. Jennings A. Kingsley Macomber 1
6th 14 Manister Toi Frank Keogh John J. Flanigan Emil Herz Head
7th 4 Skeptic Eddie Martin John I. Smith Herbert H. Hewitt Head
8th 2 Guy Fortune Danny Connelly Dan Lehan Pastime Stable 1+1/2
9th 12 Star Master Johnny Loftus Walter B. Jennings A. Kingsley Macomber 1/2
10th 13 Stargazer Willie Crump Walter B. Jennings A. Kingsley Macomber Head
11th 5 Cudgel Frank Murphy James T. Mooney John W. Schorr 2
12th 7 Green Jones Roscoe Goose William Huntley Baker William Huntley Baker 5
13th 10 Top o’ the Wave John Morys George Zeigler Beverwyck Stable 8
14th 6 Berline Walter Andress John S. Ward John S. Ward 4
15th 15 Acabado Andy Schuttinger William C. Clancy Wickliffe Stable 12

Payouts and Prizes

In 1917, Omar Khayyam won the Kentucky Derby and made history as well as earned a whopping $16,600 for his owners. This big reward showed how important it was to win on such a grand stage and highlighted the high stakes in elite horse racing competitions.

The horse that came in second place also took home a nice sum of money, proving just how intense the competition was at Churchill Downs that day. The prizes for third and fourth place emphasized the fierce battle among top horses competing for glory on this famous track. Each position had its own value, showing off both skillful performances and hard-fought efforts from all contenders.

Back then, every dollar counted, so winning significant prize money like Omar Khayyam did could either make or break a stable’s fortunes. The rewards from prestigious races such as the Kentucky Derby were not only about money but also symbolized prestige, honor, and recognition of one’s abilities as a breeder or owner in Thoroughbred racing’s competitive world.

Scratched Contenders

Before the 1917 Kentucky Derby, some top horses like Penrod, Diamond, and Sol Gilsey had to pull out of the race. Even though these withdrawals affected the competition’s dynamics, they didn’t stop Omar Khayyam from winning that day.

Penrod not racing disappointed many fans who were rooting for this talented horse. Diamond being scratched made racing enthusiasts wonder how he could have impacted the final result. Additionally, Sol Gilsey backing out introduced an element of unpredictability to an already intense event.

With these contenders no longer in play, it set up a thrilling showdown where every move by each jockey mattered. Despite their absence on race day, Omar Khayyam stood out with determination evident in every stride towards victory at Churchill Downs. The unexpected changes added excitement to a captivating story that would be remembered as one of horse racing’s most remarkable moments in history.

The Mystical Lore of Omar Khayyam's Victory

  1. ### Unveiling the Enigmatic Triumph of Omar Khayyam

  2. **Seventh Heaven:** In 1917, Omar Khayyam galloped to victory at the Kentucky Derby as the seventh horse to clinch this prestigious title – a number revered for its luck across various traditions. This win not only etched his name in racing history but also heightened the aura of mystery surrounding him.

  3. **Moonlit Legend:** Born under a luminous full moon, folklore suggests that Omar Khayyam was bestowed with extraordinary prowess and talents on the racetrack. Some speculate that his mystical bond with the moon played a pivotal role in propelling him towards triumph at the Kentucky Derby.

  4. **Whispers of Fate:** As whispers spread through racing circles before the 1917 Kentucky Derby, many believed that destiny had already ordained Omar Khayyam's conquest. The air was thick with anticipation, infusing an element of destined grandeur into his eventual victory.

  5. **Celestial Omens:** According to ancient tales, celestial signs and omens heralded Omar Khayyam's impending success on race day by aligning favorably in his path. Rumors even suggest that stars gleamed brighter in acknowledgment as he surged past the finish line, securing his enduring place among legends.

  6. **Enduring Influence:** The tale of Omar Khayyam’s triumph reverberates through horse racing history as an inspiration for future equestrians and enthusiasts alike – transcending generations with its timeless allure and enigmatic charm linked to the mystique of the Kentucky Derby.

Surface Conditions

In 1917, the Kentucky Derby took place at Churchill Downs on a dirt track, setting the stage for horse racing fans to witness top-notch competition up close.

Trainer Charles T. Patterson teamed up with owners C.K.G Billings & Frederick Johnson to guide Omar Khayyam to victory in the prestigious 1917 Kentucky Derby – making their mark in racing history with an unforgettable win that crossed borders.

Omar Khayyam made history by becoming the first foreign-bred horse to claim victory at the Kentucky Derby in 1917. This groundbreaking achievement opened doors for international competitors, allowing them to showcase their skills on one of horse racing’s biggest platforms.

The memory of Omar Khayyam’s triumph at the 1917 Kentucky Derby lives on as he stands out as a foreign-bred champion among American rivals. His story highlights the diversity and thrill that make thoroughbred racing so exciting at its peak level.


1. What made Omar Khayyam's victory in the 1917 Kentucky Derby so significant in racing history?

Omar Khayyam made history by winning the 1917 Kentucky Derby. This victory was a big deal because it was the first time a horse from another country won America's top race, showing how competitive and far-reaching racing can be on an international level.

2. How did the international success of Omar Khayyam impact the American racing scene in 1917?

Omar Khayyam made history by winning the 1917 Kentucky Derby, demonstrating how international talent could shine in horse racing and inspiring other global competitors to come forward and raise the bar in American racing.

3. Who were some of the notable competitors that Omar Khayyam faced in the 1917 Kentucky Derby?

In the 1917 Kentucky Derby, Omar Khayyam competed against tough opponents like Ticket, War Cloud, and Under Fire. He proved his skill by going head-to-head with a strong group of top competitors.

4. What were the track conditions like during the 1917 Kentucky Derby, and how did they affect the race?

The track at the 1917 Kentucky Derby was wet and muddy, making it a tough and unpredictable challenge for both horses and jockeys. It tested their skills and stamina in an exciting way.

5. How did Omar Khayyam's win pave the way for future international horses to compete in prestigious American races?

In 1917, Omar Khayyam made history by winning the Kentucky Derby. This victory proved that international horses could excel in American races, opening doors for more foreign contenders to showcase their skills in prestigious competitions.

6. What lasting legacy did Omar Khayyam leave on the sport of horse racing following his historic victory in the 1917 Kentucky Derby?

Omar Khayyam made history by winning the 1917 Kentucky Derby, demonstrating how international talent can excel in American horse racing and motivating upcoming generations to push boundaries in the sport.