Countdown to the Kentucky Derby - 126 days to go!

Countdown to the Kentucky Derby - 126 days to go!

126 Days!!! 1893 Lookout, a beautiful chestnut with three tall white socks, has a mysterious life that isn’t easy to explain. Many reports have the horse having been bred by the Scoggan Brothers, although in their obituaries and histories, the horse is never listed.

In the Courier-Journal, Captain Robert McClellan is credited, and speaks of having his mare, Christina, bred to Troubadour, the 1886 Suburban Handicap winner. After the Kentucky Derby, the Courier Journal also wrote that Lookout was foaled on Captain McClelland’s farm near West Point, in Kentucky. Nonetheless, Lookout was sold as a yearling to Captain John Nelson Litrell, who passed away and his horses were dispersed. J.E. Cushing and John W. Orth, of Cushing & Orth, two well known Minneapolis horsemen, purchased the colt, and sent him to William McDaniel to condition the colt. At two, Lookout won 9 of his 20 races, one of which was the Minneapolis Stakes. At three, he would win his first three races, the Kentucky Derby included.

Kentucky Derby Day was beautiful, and drew a crowd of nearly 30,000, the largest since the Spokane/Proctor Knott Derby. Even thought the day was perfect, the track was muddy from the rain the previous day. The stands were painted and the stables were full. The 633 stalls weren’t enough to hold all the horses, with Colonel Clark securing 30 to 40 more outside stalls to house the overflow. The downpour the day before the forced a rain out for the Cleveland/Louisville baseball game. It was to be played the next day at the same time as the races. The managers agreed to a later time and went with their teams to the track to watch the Derby. There was little delay to the start, with all having a good start. Lookout was much the best of the six horse field.

Jockey Edward Kunze’s instructions were simple; he was told only to, “Kill ‘Em”. Lookout took the lead after the first quarter, and even though Kunze continued with a tight hold, he would win the Kentucky Derby easily, “untired and untouched” by five lengths in a time of 2:39 ¼. Lookout continued to race throughout his 6 YO season. He was gelded and sold at 4 to J.E. Seagram, of Seagram Distilling, who raced him in Canada on the flat, hurdles, and steeplechases. His death was a mystery as well, but it is widely believed that he died at seven.

"He won the Derby so easily that it places him clear out of the reach of anything but a high-class horse. Coming on the track, all the horses paraded in front of the grand stand and were vociferously applauded. The enthusiasm which the two previous races had in no wise affected, broke out in uproarious demonstration. Some yelled for one and some for another just as fancy or interest suggested, but the keen eyed judge of a racehorse could see the winner only in the big, graceful chestnut, who apparently oblivious to the excitement of which he was partially the cause, galloped quietly to the post. " - History of the Kentucky Derby, 1875-1921”

Rickelle  Nelson

Rickelle Nelson

Reservations Manager for the Kentucky Derby Museum