“We know the most unbreakable of all Kentucky Derby “rules.” Any aspirant that failed to race at 2 need not apply for a spot in the starting gate on the first Saturday in May. The last horse to win the Kentucky Derby without the benefit of at least one race as a juvenile was Apollo in 1882, 21 years before the very first World Series was played. For the last century, it is this juvenile foundation, or so it seems, that aids a Derby prospect through the winding road to Louisville.
Recently, however, Derby “rules” have crumbled like the Walls of Jericho. Remember the Clyde Van Dusen gelding law of 1927? That went out the window in 2003 when a plucky New York-bred (the only New York-bred Derby winner) named Funny Cide altered that rule for good. Six years later, Mine That Bird scored another one for the gelded set by upsetting the Derby at astronomical odds.
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