One of the more famous Kentucky Derbies of the 1960s came fairly early in the decade in 1961 when a horse that always came from far back named Carry Back (pictured) ran down Crozier to win the Roses. Carry Back was certainly "The People's Horse" in 1961. He went off as the favorite on Derby Day under jockey Johnny Sellers. Carry Back was Sired by Saggy and was out of Joppy, which one writer said wouldn't, "produce anything faster than a jalopy". Well, that writer was right for the first half of most races. However, in the latter stages of those races, Carry Back was plenty fast.
Crozier was no slouch either. He was the second choice of the bettors and was owned by Fred Hooper. Hooper had already been in the Kentucky Derby Winner's Circle once before with Hoop Jr. in 1945. After that race, winning jockey Eddie Arcaro told Hooper that is was the most expensive race he would ever win because he would spend the rest of his life trying to win it again. Crozier would be Hooper's best chance at getting that second helping of Derby glory.
Carry Back went the eastern route to Louisville. He ran third in the Fountain Of Youth, won the Flamingo and Florida Derby, and ran second in the Wood Memorial. In the Kentucky Derby itself, Carry Back was so far behind as the horses entered the stretch that you can hear the race caller on the video say, "Carry Back is too far back to make it unless he hurries." Well, it was right at that time that Carry Back started to hurry. Crozier had taken the lead from pacesetting Four And Twenty and Globemaster and appeared headed for Fred Hooper's elusive second Derby win. Carry Back continued to wear down Crozier through the stretch and not only made up a tremendous amount of ground, he went on to win by nearly a length. It was a performance that would forever put Carry Back into Kentucky Derby legend.
Carry Back would go on to win the Preakness at Pimlico as well. He would become just one of the many horses to have accomplished two links of the Triple Crown, but fall short in the third. He ran seventh in New York, finishing behind Sherluck, who had finished behind Carry Back in both the Derby and the Preakness. Carry Back would run 61 times in his career, winning 21, finishing second in 11 and third in 11. He totalled $1,241,165 in earnings for his career. Of course, he was voted Champion Three-Year-Old Colt in 1961 and he was elected to the U.S. Horse Racing Hall Of Fame in 1975. Calder still runs the Carry Back Stakes every year at six furlongs in his honor.
Here is a link to watch Carry Back's dramatic victory in the 1961 Kentucky Derby: http://www.kentuckyderby.com/history/year/1961. Tune in again on Wednesday for a new edition of the Super Six Derby Pix. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!
Photo courtesy of horseracingnation.com