By Mint Julep

Whirlaway Before and Beyond the Kentucky Derby

whirlaway 1941 kentucky derby winner

Discover the remarkable story of Whirlaway, an exceptional American Triple Crown champion from 1941. Follow his journey from growing up at Calumet Farm in Kentucky to achieving success on the racetrack with trainer Ben A. Jones and jockey Eddie Arcaro. Learn about Whirlaway’s unique habits like drifting during races and his distinctive long tail that led to him being known as “Mr. Longtail.” Delve into his enduring impact on horse racing history, including winning Horse of the Year honors and being honored with induction into the United States Racing Hall of Fame, solidifying his status as a true legend in the sport.

Early Life and Family Background

Whirlaway was born on April 2, 1938, at Calumet Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. He came from a strong family line – his father was Blenheim, the speedy and durable English Derby champion. Whirlaway’s mother Dustwhirl also had impressive bloodlines that contributed to her foal’s exceptional racing skills.

Under the guidance of renowned trainer Ben A. Jones and jockey Eddie Arcaro throughout his career, Whirlaway quickly rose to fame in the horse racing world. Their expertise combined with Whirlaway’s natural talent set him up for success as he embarked on an extraordinary journey towards winning the Triple Crown in 1941.

Calumet Farm wasn’t just where Whirlaway was born; it was where he trained and evolved into a fierce competitor on the racetrack. The farm’s history of breeding champions played a significant role in shaping Whirlaway into one of the most remarkable horses of his time. The legacy of excellence at Calumet Farm intertwined seamlessly with Whirlaway’s own story of triumph and glory during races across America.

Racing Career Highlights

Whirlaway had an incredible racing career that was truly outstanding. He won big races like the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes, which made him a legendary racehorse. What made him even more special was when he triumphed in the Travers Stakes after already winning the Triple Crown—this really showcased his amazing talent and endurance on the track.

Not only did Whirlaway dominate in America by winning six major races in just 1941 alone, but he also ventured into new territory by coming out on top at the Agua Caliente Handicap in Mexico. This victory showed how versatile he was and how well he could perform beyond traditional racing venues, earning him fans from all over the world.

Throughout his impressive career, Whirlaway secured a total of 32 wins out of 60 starts. His consistency and determination proved time and again that he was a powerful force to be reckoned with on any racetrack. He didn’t just become a champion; Whirlaway became an emblem of excellence in horse racing history.

Whirlaway’s legacy continues to shine bright through achievements such as being named Horse of the Year twice (in 1941 & 1942), entering posthumously into the United States Racing Hall of Fame, and ranking among some of America’s greatest thoroughbred champions alongside legends like Secretariat and Man o’ War—who surely acknowledge him as part of their exclusive club up there in horseracing heaven!

The Pros & Cons of Racing Legends


  1. Their remarkable achievements inspire and captivate audiences.

  2. They are role models for aspiring athletes and horse enthusiasts.

  3. They leave a lasting legacy in the world of sports and beyond.

  4. They actively help preserve the rich history and tradition of horse racing.


  1. Feeling the weight of living up to their iconic reputation can be a lot to handle

  2. The danger of overly praising them, setting standards that are too high

  3. Not enough attention given to the struggles and hard work they put in to achieve success

  4. Risk of scandals or controversies damaging how people see them

Quirky Personality Traits

Whirlaway wasn’t just a great racer- he had his own unique quirks that set him apart. During races, he had this funny habit of veering towards the middle of the track. But there was a clever solution to keep him on course – they put a special blinker over his right eye! It sounds strange, but it worked like magic and added an extra charm to Whirlaway’s already fascinating personality.

Aside from being known for his blazing speed on the tracks, Whirlaway also became famous for something unexpected – his long and majestic tail. They even gave him the nickname “Mr. Longtail,” which really stuck with fans and enthusiasts alike. Picture this: Whirlaway galloping down the stretch with that magnificent tail swishing behind him; it must have been quite a sight!

These little oddities made Whirlaway more than just your average racehorse; he was truly one-of-a-kind. Whether it was drifting off-course or elegantly flaunting that grand tail, each quirk made him stand out among other champions in a league of his own. Embracing these unique traits as part of what made him exceptional, Whirlaway captured hearts both on and off the racetrack with unmatched style and finesse throughout history.

Legacy and Honors

Whirlaway was an incredible racehorse who won many awards, including being named Horse of the Year in 1941 and 1942. He earned a spot in the United States Racing Hall of Fame in 1959, which confirmed his status as one of the best horses in racing history. Whirlaway solidified his reputation even further by securing the #26 position on The Blood-Horse magazine’s list of top U.S. thoroughbred champions from the 20th century.

His remarkable accomplishments are still celebrated worldwide by horse racing fans who continue to be amazed by his outstanding performances on the track. Whirlaway didn’t just win races; he also won hearts, becoming a beloved icon among American turf legends. Being awarded Horse of the Year for two years straight shows how much he influenced the sport, leaving behind a lasting legacy that inspires generations.

Even though it’s been decades since he retired from racing, Whirlaway remains a shining example of excellence and determination in Thoroughbred competition. His name represents greatness and serves as inspiration for young jockeys and trainers striving to achieve similar success in their careers. His legacy goes beyond numbers; it symbolizes passion, drive, and sheer willpower — qualities that make him immortalized as one of horse racing’s greatest icons ever.

Legendary Racehorse Whirlaway: Key Details

Attribute Value
Sire Blenheim
Grandsire Blandford
Dam Dustwhirl
Damsire Sweep
Sex Stallion
Foaled 1938
Country United States
Color Chestnut
Breeder Calumet Farm
Owner Calumet Farm
Trainer Ben A. Jones
Record 60: 32-15-9
Earnings $561,161
Major wins Breeders’ Futurity Stakes (1940), Hopeful Stakes (1940), Saratoga Special Stakes (1940), Walden Stakes (1940), A. J. Joyner Handicap (1941), Travers Stakes (1941), Lawrence Realization Stakes (1941), Saranac Handicap (1941), Dwyer Stakes (1941), American Derby (1941), Massachusetts Handicap (1942), Narragansett Special (1942), Clark Handicap (1942), Jockey Club Gold Cup (1942), Louisiana Handicap (1942), Washington Handicap (1942), Trenton Handicap (1942), American Classic Race wins: Kentucky Derby (1941), Preakness Stakes (1941), Belmont Stakes (1941)
Awards 5th U.S. Triple Crown Champion (1941), TSD American Champion Two-Year-Old Colt (1940), U.S. Champion 3-Yr-Old Colt (1941), United States Horse of the Year (1941 & 1942), U.S. Champion Older Male Horse (1942)
Honors United States Racing Hall of Fame (1959), Fair Grounds Racing Hall of Fame (1991), #26 – Top 100 U.S. Racehorses of the 20th Century, Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack (19802011), Whirlaway Handicap at Fair Grounds Race Course (19732004)
Last updated 11 February 2021

Offspring and Stud Career

After Whirlaway retired from racing in 1944 at the age of six, he began a new journey as a stud. He stood proudly at Calumet Farm before being leased to French breeder Marcel Boussac in August 1950. This shift to breeding marked the start of his incredible legacy through his offspring.

Whirlaway made a lasting impact beyond the racetrack with notable descendants such as Scattered, Whirling Bat, and Dart By. These horses continued their father’s lineage by achieving great success in competitive horse racing circuits. They demonstrated that greatness truly ran deep within Whirlaway’s bloodline.

The legacy was passed down from one generation to another as Whirlaway’s offspring left their mark on the equestrian world. Through careful breeding and selection of mates, his descendants upheld the family name with pride and honor, showcasing traits reminiscent of their legendary sire.

As time went by, Whirlaway’s influence persisted through generations of talented horses who inherited not only his physical abilities but also his spirit for competition. The impact he had on horse racing remained strong, ensuring that his name would always be associated with excellence and triumph on tracks worldwide.

International Recognition

Whirlaway was a famous racehorse that people all over the world couldn’t stop talking about. His incredible speed and endurance amazed racing fans everywhere. When he won the Triple Crown in 1941, he became a true legend in horse racing history.

In Europe, where they take horse racing very seriously, Whirlaway was known for his amazing talent on the track. He was seen as unbeatable and gained admirers from different parts of the world.

Even in Australia, where horses are a big deal, everyone had heard of Whirlaway’s impressive victories. People talked about him with wonder and admiration at stables and racetracks Down Under.

From Asia to Africa and beyond oceans and seas, stories of Whirlaway’s extraordinary accomplishments captured people’s imaginations. Winning the Triple Crown made him a global icon in thoroughbred racing history.

No matter where you were in the world watching horses race or hearing their hooves pound on turf tracks, there was always talk about Whirlaway – an incredible horse whose greatness seemed limitless.

Mythical Tales and Whirlaway Wonders

  1. ### Fascinating Stories of Mystical Creatures and Breathtaking Feats

  2. **Whirlaway's Unique Training Regimen:** The tale goes that Whirlaway, the victor of the 1941 Triple Crown, followed an unconventional training routine. His trainer, Ben Jones, would blast music for him to groove to and even encouraged him to sprint in the opposite direction during workouts to keep his attention sharp.

  3. **The Enigmatic Blinkers:** Known for his peculiar antics on the track, Whirlaway was spotted wearing blinkers only during morning practice runs. Rumors circulated that he flat out refused them come race day, sparking debates about whether they impeded his vision or influenced his performance somehow.

  4. **The Triumph of Conquering Three Races:** Whirlaway’s crowning glory came in 1941 when he clinched the prestigious Triple Crown title – a feat achieved by only five horses in history at that time. His stellar victories at the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes solidified his standing as a legendary figure in horse racing lore.

  5. **A History-Making Win:** At the Kentucky Derby, Whirlaway left everyone astounded by shattering records with an astounding victory margin of 8 lengths – a record unbroken untilHis impressive speed and commanding stride mesmerized spectators and firmly established him as a remarkable force on the racetrack.

  6. **Whirlaway's Enduring Influence:** Even decades after retiring from competitive racing, Whirlaway’s legacy remains a wellspring of inspiration for fans and budding jockeys alike. His extraordinary career achievements coupled with an unforgettable persona have enshrined him among the pantheon of elite racehorses throughout history; ensuring his name will forever be etched into horse racing folklore.

Training Techniques and Strategies

Trainer Ben A. Jones was famous for his clever way of dealing with Whirlaway’s habit of veering off course during races, making sure the horse stayed focused and headed towards victory. By using personalized training methods, Jones managed to unlock Whirlaway’s potential and steer him toward triumph in big events like the Kentucky Derby.

Jones used smart exercises that improved Whirlaway’s agility and concentration, helping the horse stay on a straight path when it mattered most in races. With careful attention to detail during training sessions, Jones instilled discipline in Whirlaway that led to outstanding performances on the racetrack.

With Jones leading the way, Whirlaway turned into a strong competitor with an impressive winning streak that wowed crowds and cemented his status as one of history’s greatest racehorses. The connection between trainer and horse played a key role in shaping Whirlaway’s legacy as a Triple Crown champion who exceeded all expectations.

By refining Whirlaway’s racing skills through specialized drills and workouts, Jones set up unparalleled success at some of horse racing’s biggest events. His commitment to understanding his unique quirks laid down the foundation for unforgettable victories still cherished today.

The teamwork between Trainer Ben A. Jones and Whirlaway shows how effective training techniques can lift an already exceptional athlete to legendary heights within their sport. Their journey emphasizes the importance of adaptability and creativity when honing talent—a lesson relevant across various fields beyond just horse racing.

Lasting Impact on Horse Racing History

Whirlaway made an indelible mark on horse racing history by accomplishing the extraordinary feat of winning both the prestigious Triple Crown and Travers Stakes. This unmatched achievement solidified his status as a true legend in the sport, distinguishing him from other champions of his era.

In addition to his remarkable wins, Whirlaway’s unique and energetic racing style captured fans worldwide. His habit of swerving unpredictably during races led to nicknames like “Mr. Longtail,” adding an exciting element that kept spectators enthralled. This distinctiveness endeared him to audiences and established him as a standout in horse racing lore.

Alongside his success on the track, Whirlaway was named Horse of The Year twice during his illustrious career—a title reserved for only the most outstanding equine athletes. This honor further confirms him as one of the greatest thoroughbreds ever seen on racetracks, showcasing his lasting impact on the sport even years after he retired.

Inducted into the United States Racing Hall of Fame in 1959, Whirlaway’s influence continues to resonate within horse racing circles today. His inclusion among esteemed company highlights his enduring importance and serves as proof of his everlasting legacy as a transcendent talent whose brilliance will forever be remembered in sporting history.

Endearing Nicknames and Unique Characteristics

Known affectionately as “Mr. Longtail” for his eye-catching long tail that fluttered behind him as he raced, Whirlaway not only wowed spectators with his incredible speed but also left a memorable mark on the racetrack that stuck with fans and enthusiasts alike.

Whirlaway wasn’t just about looks; he had a unique racing style, often drifting wide around turns before unleashing sudden bursts of acceleration down the stretch, keeping everyone at the edge of their seats in excitement.

Despite his unconventional ways, or maybe because of them, he became one of the most cherished horses in racing history. People were drawn to him not only for his quirks but also for his exceptional performances that set him apart from other competitors.

His legacy goes beyond mere numbers and race outcomes; it’s about having a larger-than-life presence that still captures imaginations years after winning the Triple Crown. His appeal wasn’t just about winning races—it was about embodying determination and unpredictability which are key traits of true champions.

In an arena filled with remarkable athletes, Whirlaway stood out by embracing what made him different. It’s this uniqueness—this mix of talent, charm, and sheer eccentricity—that solidifies his position not just as a legendary figure in horse racing but also as a timeless symbol of individuality where originality is valued over conformity.


1. What made Whirlaway's Triple Crown win in 1941 so remarkable?

Whirlaway's victory in the Triple Crown in 1941 stood out due to his amazing speed, versatility, and a distinct running technique that fascinated fans and established him as one of the best racehorses in American history.

2. How did Whirlaway's racing career evolve after his Kentucky Derby victory?

Whirlaway continued his winning streak after triumphing in the Kentucky Derby, securing victories in both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes during 1941. This remarkable feat made him the fifth horse ever to clinch the prestigious American Triple Crown title.

3. What were some of the key honors and awards that Whirlaway received during his career?

In 1941, Whirlaway won the esteemed title of Horse of the Year and joined the United States Racing Hall of Fame in 1959. This solidified his position as one of the greatest U.S. thoroughbred champions from the 20th century.

4. How does Whirlaway's legacy compare to other Triple Crown winners in horse racing history?

Whirlaway stands out in horse racing history as a Triple Crown champion because of his one-of-a-kind racing technique and extraordinary skill, confirming his status as one of the top champions in the sport.

5. In what ways did Whirlaway contribute to the popularity and growth of horse racing during his time?

Whirlaway's amazing racing skills, charming demeanor, and triumphant Triple Crown win in 1941 played a major role in boosting the appeal and expansion of horse racing during his era.

6. How has Whirlaway's impact on the sport of horse racing continued to be felt in modern times?

Whirlaway still influences horse racing today with his lasting legacy as one of the best American Triple Crown champions. His success inspires both upcoming racehorses and fans, leaving a significant impact on the sport that is felt even now.