Women in the Derby

Women have played an active role in Kentucky Derby history since the turn of the century. In 1904, Mrs. Laska Durnell nominated Elwood to the Kentucky Derby, unbeknownst to her husband, trainer Charles Durnell. The decision was a shrewd one and Elwood won as the longest price in the field of five. Elwood was the first starter and winner owned by a woman, and also the first winner bred by a woman, Mrs. J.B. Prather.

  • Julie Krone

  • Elwood - 1904 Kentucky Derby - the first horse both bred and owned by a woman to win the Kentucky Derby

By the 1940s, women owners in the Derby were almost commonplace. In 1942, seven of the first eight finishers in the Kentucky Derby were owned by women. The exception was Valdina Orphan, who finished third.

Besides the role of owner, a total of 13 women trainers have sent 14 starters postward in the Kentucky Derby, most recently Jamie Sanders, who saddled Teuflesburg in 2007. To date, five women have ridden in the famed "Run for the Roses": Diane Crump, Patti Cooksey, Andrea Seefeldt, Julie Krone, and Rosemary Homeister.