Ira “Babe” Hanford, 88, that is the oldest living Kentucky Derby winning jockey, will return to Churchill Downs because that this year’s race. In ~ right, Hanford is displayed on Bold undertaking shortly ~ his Derby win on may 2, 1936.

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Ira Hanford do his first trip come the Kentucky Derby in 1936 as an 18-year-old apprentice jockey who rode lengthy shot Bold undertaking to success in the an initial leg of the Triple Crown.

Since then, Hanford has served in the U.S. Military during human being War II, retirement from lengthy careers together a jockey and also trainer, and shared 62 year of marriage with his wife, Ginny.

But he has actually never returned to Churchill Downs due to the fact that that may afternoon 70 years ago – until now.

Next week, Hanford, 88, will go back to the site of equine racing’s many storied and colorful race to it is in honored as the oldest living jockey to victory the run for the Roses in ~ the Kentucky Derby Museum. He will be the guest of woman Dempsey’s Kentucky Derby Junket. He will also be honored and also place his handprints at the Galt House’s Gallop come Glory ceremony. It will be his second time making Derby history. In 1936, he to be the very first apprentice – a jockey who has had actually less 보다 one year due to the fact that their an initial career success – to catch the Derby.

Hanford said before his retirement native riding in 1953, he never ever had one more horse in the Derby so he was always working at one more track and also could no return. Then, an innovation intervened.

“The factor I i can not use gone back is yes, really television more than noþeles else,” he said. “I discovered out you could watch that on television and get an excellent coverage. I never ever missed a Derby. I never shed interest in it. I simply figured, this is television. You can watch it right here.”

Hanford and his wife currently live outside Ocala in the On peak of the human being retirement community. Yet his drive into history began in the tiny town of Fairbury, Neb., where he to be born the youngest that 10 children, i m sorry earned the the nickname “Babe” in the family.

His older brother, girlfriend Hanford, to be the very first family member to go into horse racing as a jockey. Hanford and his brother Carl Hanford quickly followed. The year before the Derby victory, girlfriend Hanford was killed throughout a gyeongju at Pimlico gyeongju Course in Baltimore. Carl Hanford, meanwhile, go on come a storied career together a trainer for Kelso, a thoroughbred which winner of equine of the Year 5 straight times from 1960 come 1964.

Even before Bold Venture, Hanford had brushes through history. Together a teenage rider at Suffolk Downs in east Boston, he met heavyweight champion Jim Braddock, topic of the movie “Cinderella Man.” A well known photograph mirrors them shiver hands, Braddock towering over the young jockey.

“I was simply thrilled,” Hanford said. “I thought, Lord, look below I am conference the civilization heavyweight champion.”

Hanford claimed he likewise rode three races ~ above a then unimpressive 3-year-old through the surname of Seabiscuit.

“He was a so late developer, therefore at the time I rode the he wasn’t the champion he came to be later on,” that said.

That was not the situation with bolder Venture, that Hanford believes is just one of the many underrated Kentucky Derby champions in history.

Bold undertaking had just one race as a 3-year-old leading as much as his start as a 20-1 shot in the 62nd Kentucky Derby. However Hanford stated trainer Max Hirsch had actually unflinching trust in the horse and also the apprentice jockey he determined as driver after intense training in south Carolina.

“He went under there because that one reason, to success it,” Hanford said.

But Hanford’s history-making win additionally had a major consequence. The young jockey to be suspended 15 days because that a bumping incident at the begin of the race. He said on the way out the the gate, one more horse crashed into Bold undertaking “like a bowling round hitting the pins” and started a chain reaction the knocked one more jockey come the ground.

Two weeks after ~ the Derby, Bold endeavor went ~ above to success the Preakness with a different jockey aboard. Yet Bold venture never acquired a shot in ~ the Triple Crown, or raced again. Hanford said a tendon injury ended the horse’s gyeongju career, although that went on come sire Assault, who won the Triple Crown in 1946, and also Middleground, that won the Kentucky Derby and Belmont stakes in 1950.

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“He absolutely was a far far better horse than most civilization even understand about,” Hanford stated of bolder Venture.