This day in sports: Smarty Jones gallops to victory in Kentucky Derby

Jockey Stewart Elliott rides Smarty Jones to victory at the Kentucky Derby on May 1, 2004.
(Getty Images)

Smarty Jones, ridden by Stewart Elliott, improved his record to 7-0 when he won the Kentucky Derby on this date in 2004, making him the first undefeated Derby winner since Seattle Slew in 1977.

A muddy surface at Churchill Downs didn’t slow the Pennsylvania-bred 3-year-old who overtook Lion Heart in the stretch to win by 2¾ lengths. The victory, coupled with earlier wins in the Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby, earned owners Pat and Roy Chapman a $5-million bonus from Oaklawn Park in Arkansas.

Smarty Jones would go on to win the Preakness Stakes but could not complete the Triple Crown, finishing second by a length to Birdstone in the Belmont Stakes.

If the baseball season hadn’t been postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Angels would have celebrated Shohei Ohtani bobblehead night Friday with the first of three games against the Minnesota Twins at Angel Stadium. The Dodgers would have started May with Game 1 of a three-games series against the Padres in San Diego.


Here is a look at memorable games and outstanding sports performances on this date:

1920 — Joe Oeschger of the Boston Braves and Leon Cadore of the Brooklyn Dodgers pitch 26 innings each in a 1-1 tie, the longest game in baseball history. The marathon tilt, which is called because of darkness, is played at Braves Field in Boston. Both Oeschger and Cadore are right-handers, and both are 28 years old.

1948 In a field of six horses, the smallest since 1907, jockey Eddie Arcaro rides Citation to a 3½-length victory over stablemate Coaltown in the Kentucky Derby. It is the toughest of Citation’s three Triple Crown races. He goes on to win the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes, the fourth horse to do so in the 1940s.

1982 Gato del Sol, ridden by Ed Delahoussaye, comes from last place in a field of 19 to win the Kentucky Derby. Gato del Sol finishes 2½ lengths ahead of Laser Light, who edges Reinvested by a neck for second. Coming out of the first turn, Gato del Sol is 19th, Laser Light 18th and Reinvested 17th.

1991 — Two record-breaking events occur in baseball on this date: On Arlington Appreciation Night in Texas, the Rangers’ Nolan Ryan, 44, pitches his seventh, and final, no-hitter when he blanks the Toronto Blue Jays 3-0 at Arlington Stadium. Ryan faces 29 batters, strikes out 16 and walks two. In Oakland, Rickey Henderson steals base No. 939 against the Angels, passing Lou Brock’s all-time mark.

1999 — Charismatic, a 31-1 shot who ran in a claiming race in February, charges to victory by a neck over Menifee in the 125th Kentucky Derby, giving trainer D. Wayne Lukas his fourth Derby winner and third of the 1990s. Charismatic, ridden by jockey Chris Antley, pays $64.60, at the time the third-largest winning ticket in Derby history.

The 2020 Little League World Series has been canceled because of concerns over COVID-19. Local leagues are encouraged to play regular seasons.


2003 — The three-time defending champion Lakers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 101-85 to clinch the first round of the NBA Western Conference playoffs 4-2. It’s the 13th straight playoff series win for coach Phil Jackson, whose teams have an NBA-record 25 consecutive series wins. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal lead Lakers scorers with 31 and 24 points, respectively. O’Neal grabs 17 rebounds and Robert Horry has 10.

2008 — Johan Franzen records his second hat trick in three games to help the Detroit Red Wings beat the Colorado Avalanche 8-2 to complete a four-game sweep. Franzen’s three goals make him the first player with two hat tricks in one playoff series since Jari Kurri of Edmonton in 1985.

2010 On a muddy track at Churchill Downs, jockey Calvin Borel guides Super Saver to victory in the Kentucky Derby, beating Lookin at Lucky by 2½ lengths. It is Borel’s third Derby win in four years. Ice Box, winner of the Florida Derby, uses a late run to finish second and Paddy O’Prado is the show horse.

Sources: The Times, Associated Press