Shades of gray rare among Kentucky Derby favorites, winners

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Essential Quality is expected to be the first gray horse favored to win the Kentucky Derby in 25 years.

Post positions were drawn Tuesday for the 20 three-year-old fillies running in the 147th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs Racetrack.

Essential Quality’s trainer is Louisville native Brad Cox.

A gray horse hasn’t won the Derby since Giacomo in 2005, and only eight grays have won it since 1930.

According to historians and experts, there are just fewer gray horses in the thoroughbred population compared to more traditional chestnut, bay,  brown and black horses. 

But with almost light gray Tapit siring Essential Quality and others, horses of that color could be making a comeback at the elite level of racing.

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