Elwood (horse)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Elwood 1904.jpg
1904 Kentucky Derby winner Elwood
SireFree Knight
GrandsireTen Broeck
SexStallion, eventually Gelding
CountryUnited States
BreederMrs. J. B. Prather
Owner1) Laska Durnell
2) Burlingame Stables
TrainerCharles Elwood Durnell
Record58: 8-7-5
Major wins
Latonia Derby (1904)

American Classic Race wins:
Kentucky Derby (1904)

Elwood (foaled 1901 in Missouri) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse that is best remembered for winning the 1904 Kentucky Derby and for being the first horse both bred and owned by a woman to win the Derby.[1]


Elwood was a bay colt sired by Free Knight out of the mare Petticoat (by Alarm). Free Knight finished third in the 1886 Kentucky Derby. By the time Elwood won the Derby in 1904, Free Knight had been sold for $45 and was used as a farm horse in southern Kentucky.[2]

Elwood was bred by Mrs. J.B. Prather at Faustiana Stud in Maryville, Missouri and was bought in 1902 by Charles Durnell while on a horse buying trip to San Francisco, where the yearling was being trained. Durnell named the horse Elwood after his mother's maiden name.[3]

Racing career[edit]

Elwood was a mediocre racehorse during his two-year-old and early three-year-old season, racing mostly in small stakes and a few $300 claiming races in California. He was second in the Competition Stakes and Youngster Stakes as a two-year-old and placed a commendable second in the 1904 California Ascot Derby, which was run on a very muddy track that year.[2]

Elwood was raced in Charles Durnell's wife's name. Laska Durnell entered the colt in the Kentucky Derby without her husband's knowledge.[4] For the Derby, the Durnell's had traveled with Elwood by railroad car from California to Kentucky, but Derby spectators did not think the "Missouri mule" would win.[2] The thirtieth Kentucky Derby was run on a fast track with a field of five contenders.[1] Elwood won the Kentucky Derby at 15-1 odds over the favored colt, Proceeds, to win $4,850 in one of the greatest upsets recorded at the Derby to that date.[1]

Elwood went on to win the 1904 Latonia Derby but was 15th of 16 in the more prestigious 1904 American Derby.

Elwood was gelded at some point during his four-year-old season but did race, with marginal success, until he was six years old in California. In 1907, Charles Durnell was banned from racing horses and had to sell 20 horses, including Elwood, from his Burlingame Stables.[5] By 1910, Elwood was being used as a saddle horse in California.[6]


  1. ^ Jim Bolus. Run for the Roses: 100 years at the Kentucky Derby. Hawthorn Books, INC. New York, 1974.
  2. ^ Daily Racing Form. "Pulls plow while son wins derby". March 12, 1921.
  3. ^ Greatest Kentucky Derby Upsets, Blood-Horse Publications, 2005.
  4. ^ http://www.kentuckyderby.com/2009/history/women-derby
  5. ^ Staff (December 18, 1907). "Durnell horses for forced sale". Daily Racing Form. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  6. ^ Daily Racing Form. "Careers of Kentucky Derby winners." May 19, 1910.