Manitoba Derby

The 76th running of the Manitoba Derby presented by Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries takes place on Monday, August 5 at 7:30 p.m.

Welcome to the pinnacle of horse racing excitement in Manitoba – the Manitoba Derby! This prestigious event showcases the finest 3-year-old horses in a thrilling display of speed, skill, and determination.

The Manitoba Derby isn’t just a race; it’s an experience like no other so put on your best hat and gather up your friends and family for a night of excitement and fun!

As part of our commitment to creating unforgettable memories for the entire family, there will be free contests and free family fun events. From face painting to live entertainment, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

It’s a night you won’t want to miss!

Manitoba Derby History

Royals arrive at Assiniboia Downs for the Manitoba Derby. July 15, 1970.

Royal viewing dais. 1970 Manitoba Derby.

The first Manitoba Derby was run in 1930, although from 1930 to 1933 it was known as the Manitoba Stakes. It should come as no surprise that Manitoba’s most prestigious race was the brainchild of Robert James Speers, the acknowledged Father of Thoroughbred Racing in the prairie provinces. Speers established the race so that horsepeople could showcase their 3-year-old thoroughbreds foaled in Western Canada.

The Derby was opened to all horses bred in Canada in 1936. The race was run annually at Polo Park Racetrack, with the exception of 1937, when it was held at Whittier Park in St. Boniface. In 1941 the name of the race was changed to the Canadian Derby.

Few people realize that the heart and soul of the Canadian Derby can be found in Winnipeg and that the Canadian Derby was actually born out of the Manitoba Derby. At the time, Canada was the only major country that did not have a national Derby, so R. J. Speers sacrificed the Manitoba moniker for a national name.

The Canadian Derby was run at Polo Park Racetrack until it closed in 1956, and the race was relocated to Edmonton. Jack Hardy tried to bring the race back to Winnipeg when Assiniboia Downs opened in 1958, but was unsuccessful, and the Canadian Derby remained in Edmonton.

In 1960, the Manitoba Derby and its storied past from 11 previous runnings (1930-1940) was resurrected, and Assiniboia Downs has hosted the race ever since. In 1985 the Manitoba Derby was changed to an open event for all 3-year-old thoroughbreds. To date, three Manitoba-breds have won the race, beginning with Gowerlace in 1938. It took almost 40 years for the next homebred, Merry’s Jay, to win the Manitoba Derby in 1976, and Royal Frolic followed with his popular victory in 1993.

On July 15, 1970 Assiniboia Downs played host to the royal family when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II attended the Manitoba Centennial Derby, along with her husband Prince Phillip, daughter Princess Anne, and son, the future King Charles, to present the Queen’s Cup to the winning connections. The 1970 Manitoba Derby marked the first time the trophy, donated by Her Majesty, was presented for the annual competition.

The list of previous Manitoba Derby winners includes national and local champions such as Fanfreluche, Overskate and Merry’s Jay; and owners Jean Louis Levesque, Bob and Bill Mitchell, and Phil Kives’ K5 Stables. Hall of Fame jockeys Sandy Hawley, Julie Krone and Robin Platts are but a few of the riding greats who have won the Manitoba Derby.

Gil Rowntree, A. E. “Bert” Blake, Yonnie Starr and Roger Attfield are among the trainers with multiple wins in the big race, but conditioner Robertino Diodoro holds the record with four Manitoba Derby wins (2018, 2019, 2021, 2022). In addition, Diodoro established another enviable record in 2022, when his horses finished first, second and third in Manitoba’s most prestigious race.

Today we salute all participants, past and present who have made the Manitoba Derby what it is today!

Previous Winners of the Manitoba Derby

DISTANCE: 1 1/8-Miles
2023 Mano Dura
2022 Red Knobs
2021 Uncharacteristic
2020 Mongolian Wind
2019 Oil Money
2018 Sky Promise
2017 Plentiful
2016 Inside Straight
2015 Flashy Jewel
2014 Street Prancer
2013 Assembly Hall
2012 Balooga Bull
2011 Hammer’s Bullet
2010 Stachys
2009 Smuggler’s Hold
2008 Matt’s Broken Vow
2007 Weather Warning
2006 Lord Kipling
2005 Prime Time T.V.
2004 Royalty Boy
2003 Hero’s Pleasure
2002 Lord Shogun
2001 Stage Classic
2000 Scotman
1999 Wafare Warrior

1998 A Fleets Dancer
1997 My Imperial Slew
1996 Northernprospector
1995 Langara Island
1994 P.C.’s Bluff
1993 Royal Frolic
1992 Jan Arctic
1991 Plenty Chilly

1990 Reancy
1989 Rough Catch
1988 No Malice
1987 Steady Power
1986 Steady Effort
1985 Kamp Out
1984 Ten Gold Pots
1983 Gone To Royalty
1982 Exclusive Canadian
1981 Regimen
1980 Country Free
1979 Easter’s Memory
1978 Overskate
1977 Giboulee
1976 Merry’s Jay
1975 L’Enjoleur
1974 Rushton’s Corsair
1973 Zaca Spirit
1972 Nice Dancer

1971 Speedy Zephyr
1970 Fanfreluche
1969 Fire ‘N Desire
1968 Son Costume
DISTANCE: 1 1/4-Miles
1967 Gilmore
1966 Carodana
1965 Flyalong
1964 Langcrest
1963 Brother Leo
1962 Welcome Effort
1961 Windspray
1960 Bocage
1940 Sir Trapseth
1939 Larry Eckhard
1938 Gowerlace
1937 Goldlure
1936 Sweepden
1935 Nellie Quince
1934 Caramar
1933 Carhan Queen
1932 Lady Marnock
1931 Parisienne
1930 Jack Whittier

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