By Mint Julep

Omar Khayyam Before and Beyond the Kentucky Derby

omar khayyam 1917 kentucky derby winner

Join the thrilling journey of Omar Khayyam, a British-bred racehorse named after a famous Persian thinker. Against all odds, he made history by becoming the first foreign-born horse to win the prestigious Kentucky Derby. Discover his impressive lineage that can be traced back to renowned champions like Marco and Persimmon. Experience his remarkable racing career under trainer Charles Patterson, where he achieved victories in races such as the Travers Stakes and Lawrence Realization Stakes. Learn about Omar Khayyam’s lasting impact on Thoroughbred racing through his influential offspring and how he continues to shape the world of horse racing even today because of his historic victory at the Kentucky Derby.

Early Life and Family Background

Omar Khayyam, a British-bred Thoroughbred racehorse, made history by becoming the first foreign-bred horse to win the Kentucky Derby. He was named after a famous Persian mathematician, poet, and astronomer. A yearling Omar was sold to an American racing partnership.

Under the guidance of trainer Charles T. Patterson and ridden by jockey Charles Borel on May 8th at Churchill Downs that fateful year, Omar Khayyam sprinted into the record books with his outstanding victory in the Run for the Roses.

His win at the prestigious Kentucky Derby not only displayed his remarkable talent but also solidified his place as a pioneer for international horses competing in America.

In fierce competition against top contenders, Omar Khayyam’s determination and speed carried him across the finish line ahead of all others.

Omar Khayyam’s story illustrates how passion, perseverance,and pedigree can combine to create success on the racetrack. His journey from humble beginnings in Britain to triumphing in one of America’s most iconic races is truly inspiring for racing fans worldwide.


Omar Khayyam comes from a long line of impressive ancestors. His father, Marco, was a standout three-year-old racehorse in England back in 1895, and his great-grandfather is none other than West Australian, the first English Triple Crown Champion. On his mother’s side, Omar Khayyam’s dam is Lisma, who descends from the renowned champion sire Persimmon.

This royal lineage gave Omar Khayyam a unique mix of speed and endurance that made him stand out on the racetrack. The combination of Marco’s racing skills and West Australian’s legendary status came together perfectly in this majestic colt. With Lisma adding her own strong pedigree through Persimmon’s line, it seemed almost destined for Omar Khayyam to make a lasting impact on the turf.

The complex blend of genetics found in Omar Khayyam exemplifies how breeding can shape greatness in Thoroughbred racing. Each strand of DNA passed down from Marco to West Australian to Persimmon played a vital role in shaping this exceptional racehorse into what he ultimately became—a Kentucky Derby winner and symbol of excellence on both sides of the Atlantic.

When discussing bloodlines like those behind Omar Khayyam, one cannot help but be amazed at how generations have contributed to creating such magnificent equine athletes over time. It’s similar to tracing a royal lineage where each ancestor leaves their mark on future generations—culminating in champions like our cherished Persian-bred star.

Every stride taken by descendants carrying these distinguished bloodlines echoes not only their spirit but also resonates with history—the victories and challenges faced by those who paved the way for them—all encapsulated within their powerful gallops towards glory.

The Pros & Cons of Racing Legends


  1. Motivate upcoming racers for the future

  2. Keep alive the rich history and traditions of horse racing

  3. Offer fans thrilling entertainment and excitement

  4. Demonstrate the talent and hard work of trainers and jockeys

  5. Play a role in boosting the financial impact of the racing industry

  6. Foster friendly competition and good sportsmanship among participants


  1. Horses and riders face risks of injuries

  2. People may exploit animals to win competitions

  3. Training, care, and competing costs can be high

  4. Athletes feel pressure to excel at big events

  5. Ensuring fair play and stopping cheating is tough

  6. Resource use and waste produced can harm the environment

Racing Career

Under the tutelage of the experienced trainer Charles Patterson, Omar Khayyam began his impressive racing career in 1916 at just two years old. His talent quickly became evident as he excelled in races with remarkable agility and elegance.

In 1917, Omar Khayyam achieved fame and glory by winning the prestigious Kentucky Derby, solidifying his position among the greatest racehorses of all time. With powerful strides and unwavering determination, he galloped across the finish line first, leaving spectators in awe of his skill.

As a three-year-old sensation, Omar Khayyam didn’t settle for one victory; he went on to triumph in other renowned races like the Travers Stakes and Lawrence Realization Stakes. Each win further cemented his legacy in horse racing history, showcasing both his exceptional ability and relentless drive.

Throughout his career, Omar Khayyam captivated audiences around the world with his brilliance. Whether it was an exhilarating win or a thrilling close finish, every race he participated in exuded an atmosphere of excitement that lingered long after the final lap had been completed on the track.

Major Wins

Omar Khayyam, the incredible racehorse known for his amazing speed and endurance on the track, won big races like the Brooklyn Derby and Kenner Stakes. These victories not only showed off his racing skills but also proved he could go the distance. His win in the Saratoga Cup solidified his reputation as a top competitor among other racehorses of his time.

The highlight of Omar Khayyam’s career was when he took first place in the 1917 Kentucky Derby, one of America’s most prestigious horse races. This major win made him a legend in Thoroughbred racing and left a lasting impact on history. With every step towards success, Omar Khayyam demonstrated grace under pressure and an unwavering determination that set him apart from other racers on the track.

Alongside these impressive wins, Omar Khayyam also excelled at competitions like the Pimlico Autumn Handicap and various other esteemed events throughout his successful career. His consistent performance and strong spirit captivated audiences worldwide, earning him a well-deserved spot among unforgettable champions of horse racing history. The legacy of Omar Khayyam continues to inspire equestrian enthusiasts who admire his remarkable achievements on both turf and dirt tracks alike.

Champion Stallion: Omar Khayyam (1914)

Attribute Information
Name Omar Khayyam
Sire Marco
Grandsire Barcaldine
Dam Lisma
Damsire Persimmon
Sex Stallion
Foaled 1914
Country Great Britain
Colour Chestnut
Breeder Sir John Robinson
Owner C. K. G. Billings & Frederick Johnson
Wilfrid Viau (from May 1917)
Trainer Charles T. Patterson
Richard F. Carmen Sr. (from May 1917)
Record 28: 12-5-4
Earnings $57,010
Major wins Brooklyn Derby (1917)
Kenner Stakes (1917)
Travers Stakes (1917)
Saratoga Cup (1917)
Lawrence Realization Stakes (1917)
Havre de Grace Handicap (1917)
Pimlico Autumn Handicap (1917)
Marines’ Liberty Bond Handicap (1918)
Rennert Handicap (1919)
American Classics wins: Kentucky Derby (1917)
Awards American Co-Champion 3-Yr-Old Male Horse (1917)


In 1917, the horse Omar Khayyam became a top American Co-Champion at just three years old. His remarkable skills on the racetrack amazed everyone who watched him race. With his impressive speed and endurance, Omar Khayyam’s win was well-earned.

Every time he ran, Omar Khayyam showed off his incredible talent that made him stand out from other horses. His determination to push forward with strength and elegance made him a formidable competitor during races. Being named co-champion cemented his place in history as one of the greatest Thoroughbreds ever seen in racing.

Omar Khayyam’s story continues to inspire new generations of horse racing fans around the world. He is remembered for his excellence, perseverance, and outstanding performance on the track. The award he won in 1917 proves how much impact he had on the sport—a reminder that true greatness can shine brightly like a champion charging towards victory down that final stretch.


Omar Khayyam didn’t just excel on the racetrack; his influence extended into the world of horse breeding. After he retired from racing, he became a stallion at Claiborne Farm before moving to J.P. Jones stud, where his true talents were showcased through his offspring. Some of his standout descendants included Malicious, Mr. Khayyam, and Balko – all leaving their mark on the racing scene with impressive wins.

Malicious made a name for himself in various races as one of Omar Khayyam’s descendants, inheriting his father’s exceptional genes that set him apart on the track. Mr. Khayyam continued the family tradition of speed and stamina by displaying innate excellence similar to his father’s prowess under saddle.

Balko emerged as another talented descendant proving that greatness ran deep within this esteemed bloodline established by Omar Khayyam. With each powerful stride down the homestretch or victory at prestigious tracks nationwide, these horses paid tribute to their legendary ancestor showing grit and determination reminiscent of Omar Khayyam himself.

The impact left by Omar Kayyaum’s progenies reverberated throughout horse racing circles near and far solidifying not only his status as a champion but also as an influential sire passing down winning traits to future generations effortlessly. Their successes served as proof that both nature-given talent inherited from their illustrious forebear paired with expert training guided by skilled professionals ensured they reached peak performance every race day.

In conclusion: Through Malicious’ tenacity, Mr.Khayyan’s gracefulness,and Balko’s power – it is evident that Omar Kayyaum left behind more than just memories; he gifted us with a lasting legacy seen in every thundering hoofbeat echoing down history’s hallowed halls—a testament to how one extraordinary Thoroughbred can shape not only its own destiny but those yet untold tales woven into our sport forevermore!

Mythical tales surrounding Omar Khayyam's Derby connection

  1. Mythical stories surrounding Omar Khayyam's connection to the Kentucky Derby:

  2. The Mysterious Potion: Legend has it that Omar Khayyam owned a magical potion that he would give his horses before races, ensuring they would triumph at the Kentucky Derby. Some believe this potion granted the horses extraordinary speed and endurance.

  3. The Horse Whisperer: It is said that Omar Khayyam could communicate with his horses by speaking words of encouragement and guidance in hushed tones. His ability to understand and bond with these majestic animals greatly contributed to his success at the Derby.

  4. The Amulet of Luck: According to legend, Omar Khayyam always carried an amulet given to him by a wise sage for good fortune and protection during the Kentucky Derby races for both himself and his horses.

  5. The Divine Steed: Rumor had it that Omar Khayyam once owned a magnificent stallion believed to be descended from celestial beings. This heavenly horse was rumored to have unparalleled speed and elegance, leading to numerous victories at the prestigious race.

  6. A Lasting Legacy: Although centuries have passed since his time, many believe that Omar Khayyam's spirit continues to oversee the Kentucky Derby, motivating both horses and jockeys alike in pursuit of excellence as a tribute in his honor.


Omar Khayyam comes from a prestigious line of ancestors known for their exceptional qualities. His family tree includes the renowned Barcaldine, who was famous for passing on stamina and durability to his descendants like Omar Khayyam. In addition, Persimmon contributes elegance and grace to Omar Khayyam’s pedigree, creating a well-rounded athlete capable of excelling in various racing conditions.

Stallions such as Hampton appear multiple times in Omar Khayyam’s lineage, reinforcing his genetic predisposition for success on the racetrack. These influential stallions have made significant contributions to Thoroughbred racing history by shaping generations of champions with their outstanding traits. Through these connections, Omar Khayyam inherits not just physical attributes but also intangible qualities that set him apart as a true competitor.

The blending of these distinguished bloodlines results in Omar Khayyam’s remarkable talent and legacy as a racehorse. His heritage showcases the importance of breeding in horse racing where each ancestor brings something unique to create a champion. With every stride he takes on the track, one can see glimpses from past generations woven into his performance.

As fans admire Omar Khayyam’s skills on the racetrack or analyze his pedigree closely, they witness centuries-old traditions coming alive through this magnificent creature rather than just individual achievements. He carries within him deep roots connected to some iconic figures in racing; each step echoing tales from long ago while simultaneously making new history himself.

In every race where he sprints towards victory or crosses finish lines triumphantly adorned with garlands fit for kings, we witness not only one horse running but an entire lineage stretching back through time—a living reminder that greatness is inherited from those who came before us rather than achieved alone.

And so it goes with Omar Kayyyam—reflecting not only himself but also embodying threads spun by legends now whispered softly among clouds gathering above at dusk – stories told under moonlit skies about horses dreaming big dreams amidst thunderous applause beside tracks where shadows dance between light beams cast upon winners circle rings graced by famous faces smiling beneath tilted hats…

Legacy Beyond Racing

Omar Khayyam wasn’t just a champion in the Kentucky Derby and other big races. His impact went far beyond his own wins, influencing many of his offspring who later excelled on the racetrack too. By carefully breeding horses, Omar Khayyam passed down not only speed and stamina but also a winning mindset to future generations of Thoroughbreds.

One standout descendant is Bold Ruler, a famous racehorse who became one of America’s most successful sires. Bold Ruler’s lineage can be traced back to Omar Khayyam through several generations, showing how this exceptional stallion shaped horse racing for years to come. It proves that Omar Khayyam had great genes and was an excellent racehorse himself.

Apart from leaving behind a strong legacy in racing, Omar Khayyam made important contributions to international horse breeding practices as well. His descendants have competed at top levels worldwide, demonstrating their sire’s versatility across different races. This global influence shows how impactful Omar Kayyyam was on the sport by producing elite athletes capable of succeeding under various conditions.

Nowadays, when we see modern champions with connections back to Omar Kayyyam putting up amazing performances, it reminds us how one outstanding horse can shape an entire industry long after retiring from the track themselves. The echoes of greatness over time pay tribute to this incredible athlete whose influence continues inspiring fans and breeders globally for new generations.

Enduring Impact

Omar Khayyam, a trailblazing horse from overseas, shook up the American racing scene by clinching prestigious titles like the Kentucky Derby. His 1917 victory not only made history but also proved that talent has no boundaries in horse racing. By triumphing on U.S. soil, Omar inspired owners and breeders worldwide to dream big and aim for greatness on an international scale.

Beyond his wins in America, Omar Khayyam left a lasting impact by showcasing the potential of horses from diverse backgrounds. He shattered doubts about where top equine athletes could come from and challenged traditional beliefs in the sport. Through breaking barriers and beating the odds, Omar became a symbol of hope for underdogs everywhere – both four-legged and two-legged.

Apart from his impressive athletic abilities, Omar Khayyam had an irresistible charm that captivated audiences globally. Fans were drawn not just to his speed on track but also to his friendly nature off it. Trainers often praised his gentle demeanor and determination to exceed limits when it truly counted—showcasing what sets champions apart from mere competitors.

Despite facing challenges like injuries during his career journey, including tough setbacks along the way, Omar Khayyam never lost sight of his goals. His perseverance resonated with fans who saw him as a role model of resilience against adversities—a true example of striving for excellence through dedication amidst obstacles faced head-on.

Decades after making history at Churchill Downs with his Kentucky Derby win, Omar Khayyam remains celebrated as a pioneer in Thoroughbred racing circles across nations worldwide. His name brings back memories of courage unbound by limitations – reminding us all how dreams can soar above borders or prejudices set before them . Reflecting on his enduring legacy today honors not just a champion racehorse but an iconic figure whose spirit lives on through every thunderous hoofbeat reverberating down racetracks near and far alike


1. What was Omar Khayyam's most memorable victory at the Kentucky Derby?

In 1917, Omar Khayyam made history by becoming the first horse bred outside the United States to win the Kentucky Derby. His impressive victory not only showcased his incredible talent but also left a lasting mark on Thoroughbred racing history.

2. How did Omar Khayyam's racing career unfold after his triumph at the Kentucky Derby?

Omar Khayyam won the Kentucky Derby in 1917 and then continued to impress by winning the Brooklyn Handicap and setting a new track record at Saratoga. These victories showcased his skills as a talented and versatile Thoroughbred, earning him a strong reputation in the racing world.

3. What distinguished Omar Khayyam from other Thoroughbreds of his time?

Omar Khayyam stood out from other Thoroughbreds of his time because of his remarkable versatility, stamina, and unwavering determination. These qualities made him a legendary figure in the world of horse racing.

4. How did Omar Khayyam's legacy influence future generations of racehorses?

Omar Khayyam made history by becoming the first foreign-bred horse to win the Kentucky Derby in 1917. His victory inspired a new era of racehorses, showing that international talent could dominate on American tracks and motivating future generations to aim for greatness.

5. What were some key challenges that Omar Khayyam faced during his racing career?

During his successful racing career, Omar Khayyam tackled obstacles like adjusting to American racing conditions, recovering from injuries, and competing against top-notch opponents.

6. How has the story of Omar Khayyam continued to captivate racing enthusiasts over the years?

Omar Khayyam's tale still mesmerizes fans of horse racing because of his incredible upset win in the 1917 Kentucky Derby. This victory highlights the lasting appeal of achieving success against all odds in the Thoroughbred racing world.