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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Shoemaker's Derby win a race for the ages
By Larry Schwartz
Special to ESPN.com
May 3, 1986
The year 1986 is a very good one for athletes in the twilight of their sports. Just last month, Jack Nicklaus, at 46, won the Masters. Today, Willie Shoemaker, at 54, gives a superb ride to bring home long shot Ferdinand first in the Kentucky Derby.
Shoe steers Ferdinand, a son of the English Triple Crown winner Nijinsky II, through heavy traffic from last place after a half mile to first at the finish, 2 1/4 lengths in front of Bold Arrangement. Running the 1 1/4 miles in 2:02 4/5, Ferdinand, who had won only two of his nine races, pays $37.40 for $2 to win.
The race is a sentimental triumph for Shoemaker, who becomes the oldest jockey to win the Kentucky Derby. It is his fourth Derby victory, but the last one was 21 years ago, aboard Lucky Debonair.
"This Derby win is the best," says Shoemaker. "Like good old Kentucky bourbon, I improve with age."
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