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IT’S “OUR” DERBY

DATE OF EVENT: May 7, 1938

DATE PUBLISHED: May 8, 1938, in The Kansas City Star

Editor’s note: When Herbert Woolf’s three-year-old Lawrin left the starting gate in the 1938 Kentucky Derby, he wasn’t just a long shot — he was also the only Derby colt bred outside of Kentucky. All the same, he went on to win by a length. Lawrin was not eligible for the Belmont and Preakness races and therefore could not win the Triple Crown. He was, however, the first Derby win for jockey Eddie Arcaro and trainer Ben A. Jones, who both went on to work with Triple Crown winner Citation a decade later.

Louisville, May 7 — They took the bar plates off Lawrin’s tender feet and put on winged sandals and Herbert M. Woolf’s Kansas bred and foaled brown colt came out of his barn to win the sixty-fourth running of the Kentucky Derby before a crowd of 50,000.

Dauber finished second, a length behind the Woolford farm 3-year-old, Can’t Wait was third and Menow fourth. The favorites, Fighting Fox and Bull Lea, were out of the race down the stretch, the former finishing sixth behind The Chief and Bull Lea coming in eighth, trailing Co-Sport.

Lawrin was ridden hard in a driving finish to fight off Dauber’s last stretch challenge, seemed wobbly in the closing deal but had enough heart and speed to hold his lead. Lawrin, named after his dam, Margaret Lawrence, and his sire, Insco, paid $19.20, $8.80 and $4.80. His time was two minutes, four and four-fifths seconds. …

When Lawrin came from his barn over along the back stretch of the Downs track and slowly moved around the track in front of the clubhouse patrons and onto the paddock to be saddled, he still wore the high white bandages on his front legs, but beneath them were no longer the 10-pound bar plates that had protected the horse’s tender feet in his two previous races on the Downs track.

But even the bandages had disappeared when the ten 3-year-olds came out for the parade to the starting stalls and the handsome black son of Insco moved stylishly in a manner that seemed to indicate relief and to send assurance to his owner and his astute trainer, Ben Jones of the Parnell, Mo., Joneses, that all was well.

There was no finer looking horse than Lawrin as the ten starters paraded to the gate. Big and powerful he moved with a pose that won the hearts of the Derby crowd even as a while later he won them with his brilliant ride over the mile and a quarter distance.…

When the starter’s signal finally got them off, Lawrin was not away to the brilliant break that characterized War Admiral’s dash from the barrier a year ago, but he moved off nicely in fifth place and Eddie Arcaro rated him perfectly all the way.…

Lawrin maintained his fifth position at the half, with no new challenge but between the half and the three-quarter post he started for the place where he was going and was second, crowding Menow at the three-quarter post. On the back stretch, approaching the mile, Lawrin ran into a jam, but Arcaro was quick to find a hole and guide the horse through, taking the lead around the mile turn.

From then on Eddie Arcaro, the jockey who flew here from Jamaica to ride the horse, told Woolf he knew the race was his.

“The best horse I’ve ever ridden,” said Arcaro. “I believe he can beat War Admiral.”

Making the last turn, with the final quarter mile to travel, the part of the race that is a lifetime bundled into fleeting seconds, Lawrin showed in front and a great cry arose from the stands that had lost the quick shifting of the scenery as the horses seemed grouped on a curve.

“It’s Lawrin, it’s Lawrin,” the cry went up and through the ranks of the experts in the long press box there was dismay and consternation. The followers of Fighting Fox and Bull Lea couldn’t understand and stood mute as Lawrin, the only horse in the field that wasn’t bred in old Kentucky, came down the stretch three lengths to the good and possessed of the courage and the stamina to hold his lead against a game and rousting challenge from the powerful Dauber.

Tonight the owner of the first Kansas City horse, if we may be pardoned for putting it that way, to win the Derby since Edward Corrigan’s Riley won the sixteenth running of the turf classic back in 1890, is jubilantly happy at the town house he rented for the weekend. Kansas City friends are with him and congratulatory telegrams are pouring in, he said.

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