Not often does an Illinois-bred horse make it to the starting gate of the Kentucky Derby. The last time a horse bred in the state even made it into the starting gate on the first Saturday in May was in 1989. That year, Western Playboy won the Jim Beam (now Spiral) Stakes (GII) and the Blue Grass Stakes (GI) en route to a fifteenth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.
1966 was one of the rare years an Illinois-bred made it to the starting gate of the Kentucky Derby. A horse named Abe’s Hope became one of that small group, and had an eventful time along the way. This week at Chicago Railbird, I look at Abe’s Hope and his road to the Derby.