are all the kentucky derby horses male

Are the Horses in the Kentucky Derby All Male?

The Kentucky Derby is one of the most popular sporting events in the United States, and it features only the most impressive horses from around the world. But one question many have is – are all the horses in the Kentucky Derby male?

The answer to that question is both yes and no. To be eligible to participate in the Derby, a horse must be a three-year-old, and in the United States, three-year-olds are registered as either “colts” or “fillies” based on their gender. Despite this stipulation, over the years some female horses have competed in the Derby, though they are a minority. Historically, this is mainly because many of the owners and trainers of horses favored males over females for the Derby.

History of Female Horses in the Kentucky Derby

  • Regret: The first female to run in the Derby was Regret in 1915, who was the first filly to win, setting a record for the fastest Derby time.
  • Silver Spoon: The second female horse to compete in the Derby was Silver Spoon in 1959, and she placed fourth, beating several of the male horses.
  • Winning Colors: The most successful female horse was Winning Colors in 1988, who came in first that year, becoming the third and most recent female horse to win the Derby.


Though males have historically dominated the Derby, some female horses have been able to make a splash among the big boys. The rule requiring all three-year-olds to be registered as either colts or fillies also shows that the Kentucky Derby is open to female horses – they just have to have the talent to prove it.

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