Countdown to the Derby- 77 days to go!

Countdown to the Derby- 77 days to go!

77 Days!!! 1942 Shut Out was by the champion Equipoise out of the Chicle mare, Goose Egg. Mrs. Payne Whitney bred Shut Out’s dam, Goose Egg, and gave him the appropriate name. Shut Out was the last offspring of Equipoise, who became ill prior to the 1931 Derby that was won by Twenty Grand. He was the stable mate to the highly regarded Devil Diver, whom Eddie Arcaro chose to ride when he picked between the two. At the time, Devil Diver was more accomplished, having won three stakes at two, however Shut Out had been getting good at the right time.

The Kentucky Derby had more seating made available for the attendees, as they opened 700 new terrace seats, 480 new boxes, plus 950 feet that was opened up in the infield, which made it a little more comfortable for the 90,000 plus that came to the races. The fact that the country was in a war was evident as well, with many military visitors, lots of War Bond windows, and military planes that were flying overhead. The war time radio covered the race, sending it by short wave radio to the troops.

A record number of media were present to cover the Derby, with nearly 700 passes being issued. They were able to cover the special ceremony that was held prior to the Derby when Churchill Downs donated $50,000 to the Red Cross. The 1942 running was also unique in that 5 women owned 6 of the 15 horses that made up the field. Mrs. Ethel Mars owned Dogpatch, Mrs. Al Sabath from Chicago owned Alsab, Mrs. Whitney had Shut Out and Devil Diver, Mrs. T.D. Grimes was the owner of With Regards, while Mrs. Edward Mulrenan raced First Fiddle. These six horses all finished in the top 7. Shut Out’s victory made Whitney the first woman to win the Kentucky Derby twice. The start of the Derby was made a little more difficult for starter Ruby White.

The starting gate only held 12 horses, leading Churchill to have to borrow one from Keeneland. The difficulty came in that the two gates had different start times, one being just a bit off from the other. White practiced opening the gates with the two start buttons until he had the timing down. Due to his hard work, the start of the Kentucky Derby was perfect. Wayne Wright guided the John Gaver trainee Shut Out in the Derby, breaking first from the gate. Quickly though, Wright took the colt back, letting With Regards set the pace. The duo was in fourth as they passed the grandstand the first time. As they reached the backstretch, Wright let Shut Out move closer to the leaders, just off the pace. At the top of the stretch, Wright tapped Shut Out once with the stick, leading to the chestnut taking off, passing the leaders and drawing away to a 2 ½ length victory over the 2YO Champion Alsab in a time of 2:04 2/5.

After a 5th place finish in the Preakness. Eddie Arcaro was then given the mount for the Belmont, which they won. The pair would also win the Travers, Arlington Classic, and Yankee Handicap. Although Shut Out beat Alsab in two of their four meetings, as well as having a better record, Alsab earned the 3YO Championship due to the fact that he took on older horses, including Whirlaway, defeating him.

At 4, Shut Out would win the Laurel and Wilson Stakes. After his 5YO season, he would be retired to his owner’s Greentree Farm having won 16 and finishing 2nd or 3rd ten times of his 40 starts. As a stallion, he would sire over 150 winners, including stakes winner One Hitter, $600,000 winner Social Outcast, broodmare Exclusive, and 2YO Filly Champion, Evening Out.

(Photo courtesy Kentucky Derby Museum archives)

Rickelle  Nelson

Rickelle Nelson

Reservations Manager for the Kentucky Derby Museum