Kentucky Derby Museum opens new exhibit dedicated to Derby filli - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky Derby Museum opens new exhibit dedicated to Derby fillies

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- When you think fillies, you think of Kentucky Oaks. However, a new Derby exhibit is all about girl power, highlighting the ladies who held their own, raced like one of the guys and came out victorious.

The word filly can be up to interpretation outside of Churchill Downs. "Assume somebody from Pennsylvania," Timothy Pregana said. 

A new year brings an ol' vocabulary lesson. "I don't remember if it's a male or female. I don't remember. I don't know. I coach robotics," Mike West said. 

Full of grace and grit, these girls horses have raced in Kentucky Oaks, beginning the same year as the Kentucky Derby. However, have they ever beat the guys in the two most exciting minutes in sports?  

"I think once I think. Is that right? Am I close? I'd say once. I think. I don't remember," West said.

If you guessed three times, you're right. Their glory is highlighted at a new exhibit at the Kentucky Derby Museum.

"It's very remarkable the first Derby was in 1875  that we've had only three fillies, and obviously this is Derby 144. So, when you think of that feat, it is very remarkable," says Lindsay English, Communications Manager at the Kentucky Derby Museum.

In 1915, Regret was the first filly to win the Derby. "It wasn't uncommon for fillies to run in the Kentucky Derby. It really starts to change around the 1940s and I think it has to do with the ascendancy of the Kentucky Oaks as a marquee race," says Chris Goodlett, Director of Curatorial and Educational Affairs at the Kentucky Derby Museum.

It wasn't until 1980 that another filly, Genuine Risk, took home a Derby trophy.

Winning Colors won eight years later. "She was actually the crowd favorite in the 1988 Kentucky Derby, but she had a lot of fan support and she was very enthusiastic when she was coming down to the wire and actually finishing first," Goodlett said.

This year marks 30 years since Trainer D. Wayne Lukas' Winning Colors won. It's also the last time. The Kentucky Derby Museum is commemorating the anniversary with its exhibit, Winning Colors, a Celebration of Famous Fillies.

"Some that have been here at Churchill downs, some that haven't, but have been just very distinguished but have had great careers," Goodlett said.

The centerpiece is Winning Colors' gold cup. "It was pretty intact except it didn't have a jockey or reigns on the horse," Goodlett said.

The three-and-a half pound cup recently arrived from Rhode Island where it was being repaired. It will be available to be viewed through the summer, along with the stories that made history. 

The last filly to run in the Kentucky Derby was Devil May Care who finished tenth in 2010. 

The exhibit is part of admission. For more information, click here

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