What Color Horse Has Won The Most Kentucky Derbys?

What Color Horse Has Won The Most Kentucky Derbys

On the first Saturday in May, over 150,000 fans gather in Louisville to watch one of the greatest sporting events in America. Part of what makes the Kentucky Derby so special is the emphasis on traditions that you won’t find at any other sporting event. The unique dress code, funky hats, party atmosphere, and mint juleps are a few of the traditions that make the event one of a kind. Given the importance of tradition and history at the Kentucky Derby, it is important to look into the past horse winners and the color they wore. This article will show the color horses that have gone on to win the most Kentucky Derbys.

Racehorses come in many different variations, sizes, and colors. Colors include bay, chestnut, black, dark bay, brown, gray, and roan. Now, here are the colors in order of most Kentucky Derby wins.


What horse colors have most consistently won the Kentucky Derby?

  1. Bay - 56 Wins
  2. Chestnut - 48 Wins
  3. Brown - 17 Wins
  4. Gray/Roan - 8 Wins

Bay Color

The color horse with the most Kentucky Derby victories is bay. A bay horse is a horse with a red-brown style coloring, with black hair on its tail, mane, the edges of its ears, etc. Bay is the most common Derby winner, with 56 total wins. The 2021 Kentucky Derby winner, Mandaloun, was a bay horse from Kentucky. Among the most famous bay-colored horses in Derby history are Seabiscuit, Northern Dancer, and Cigar. American Pharoah is another famous bay-colored horse and the most recent bay horse to win the Triple Crown. The Triple Crown is when a racehorse wins the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, and Preakness Stakes in a single season.

Chestnut Color

The second most common Kentucky Derby-winning color is chestnut. Chestnut-colored horses have won the Derby 48 times. Chestnut horses have a lighter coat than bay horses and look a bit more gingerish. The most recent chestnut horse to win the Kentucky Derby was Country House in 2019. Secretariat, perhaps the most famous racehorse of all time, was chestnut. Secretariat won the Triple Crown in 1973 and holds the Kentucky Derby track record. Justify is the most recent chestnut horse to win the Triple Crown, doing so in 2018.

Brown Color

The color horse with the third most Kentucky Derby crowns is brown with 17. Brown horses look similar to bay ones, except they usually have a darker seal color over their body and have a lighter brown muzzle. One of the most famous brown horses, “Big Brown,” won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2008.

Gray or Roan Color

Gray and roan horses are the other two colorations of racehorses, but they are less common and have not had as much success at the Kentucky Derby. Altogether, just eight Kentucky Derby winners have been gray or roan. The last gray winner was Giacomo in 2005. Native Dancer is perhaps the most legendary gray racehorse of all time. He won 21 of his 22 starts, with his only loss coming in the 1953 Kentucky Derby.