Which was the first horse to run in the Kentucky and Epsom Derbies?
The first horse to run in the Kentucky and Epsom Derbies and, indeed, the first British-trained horse to run in ‘The Race for the Roses’, was Bold Arrangement, owned by Anthony and Raymond Richards and trained, in Newmarket, by Clive Brittain. Brittain was renowned for his adventurous, pioneering spirit and, although often accused of ’tilting at windmills’, became synonymous with high-profile success at home and abroad.
Bold Arrangement was sired by Persian Bold, a smart performer between a mile and a mile-and-a-quarter, including on turf. He won four of his nine starts as a juvenile, including the Group Three Solario Stakes, over 7 furlongs, at Sandown Park, under Pat Eddery. After a modest three-year-old debut at Doncaster in March, 1986, Bold Arrangement headed to Lexington, Kentucky for his first start on dirt, the Blue Grass Stakes, over nine furlongs, at Keeneland. Once again ridden by Pat Eddery, the colt came from way off the pace to finish third, beaten three-quarters of a length.
At Churchill Downs, Bold Arrangement was ridden by Kentucky Derby veteran Chris McCarron, deputising for the suspended Eddery, and sent off at 8/1. After four furlongs, Bold Arrangement was only eleventh of the sixteen runners, but loomed large leaving the far turn and kept on stoutly to finish second, beaten 2¼ lengths, behind Ferdinand. McCarron kept the ride at Epsom a month later but, sent off at 12/1, Bold Arrangement could only manage fourteenth of the sixteen finishers behind controversial winner Shahrastani.