Stepping Stone Purse

The Stepping Stone Purse was an American Thoroughbred horse race held annually in the latter part of April at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Open to three-year-old horses, it was, along with the Derby Trial Stakes, one of two final prep races hosted by Churchill Downs running up to the Kentucky Derby.

Stepping Stone Purse
Discontinued horse race
Flat racing clipart.svg
LocationChurchill Downs
Louisville, Kentucky,
United States
Race typeThoroughbredFlat racing
Race information
Distance7 furlongs (1958–1976)
8 furlongs (1977–1981)
QualificationThree years old

In 1959, Sword Dancer won the Stepping Stone Purse,[1] then ran second in the Kentucky Derby before winning the Belmont Stakes. The following year, Bally Ache won this race[2] then ran second in the Derby but won the Preakness Stakes. In 1969, future U.S. Racing Hall of Fame inductee Majestic Prince won this race by six lengths while setting a new stakes record and then won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. In 1974, Cannonade too won the Stepping Stone Purse and the Kentucky Derby[3][4] and 1965 winner Tom Rolfe went on to finish third in the Derby but then won the Preakness Stakes.[5]


Speed record
  • 1:21.60 – Majestic Prince (1969) (at 7 furlongs)
  • 1:37.40 – Nostalgia (1977) (at 8 furlongs)
Most wins by a jockey
Most wins by a trainer
Most wins by an owner


1981 Mythical Ruler Kevin Wirth Fred Wirth Al Risen Jr. & Paxton Price 1:37.80
1980 Jaklin Klugman Darrel McHargue Riley S. Cofer Jack Klugman & John Dominguez 1:38.60
1979 King Celebrity Don Brumfield Robert J. Taylor Che-Bar Stable 1:37.80
1978 Batonnier Ronald Hardes Harry Trotsek Edward Seltzer 1:37.60
1977 Nostalgia Larry Snyder Del W. Carroll William S. Farish III 1:37.40
1976 Amano Larry Melancon James A. Padgett James C. Irvin 1:24.80
1975 Greek Answer Mickey Solomone Frank H. Merrill Jr. W. Preston Gilbride 1:25.00
1974 Cannonade Ángel Cordero Jr. Woody Stephens John M. Olin 1:23.80
1973 Shecky Greene Walter Blum Lou M. Goldfine Joseph Kellman 1:23.00
1972 Hold Your Peace Carlos Marquez Arnold N. Winick Maribel Blum 1:24.00
1971 Bold And Able Howard Grant Reggie Cornell Calumet Farm 1:22.60
1970 My Dad George Ray Broussard Frank J. McManus Raymond M. Curtis 1:23.60
1969 Majestic Prince Bill Hartack Johnny Longden Frank M. McMahon 1:21.60
1968 Captain's Gig Manuel Ycaza William W. Stephens Cain Hoy Stable 1:22.60
1967 Ruken Fernando Alvarez Clyde Turk Louis R. Rowan 1:23.20
1966 Old Bag Bill Shoemaker Stanley M. Reiser P. & R. Schleicher & S. M. Reiser 1:25.20
1965 Tom Rolfe Ron Turcotte Frank Y. Whiteley Jr. Powhatan Stable 1:22.80
1964 Mr. Brick Ismael Valenzuela James E. Picou Roy Sturgis 1:22.80
1963 Never Bend Manuel Ycaza Woody Stephens Cain Hoy Stable 1:22.40
1962 Sir Gaylord Ismael Valenzuela Casey Hayes Christopher Chenery 1:22.40
1961 Light Talk Robert Nono Steve Ippolito Jacnot Stable 1:23.40
1960 Bally Ache Bobby Ussery Homer Pitt Edgehill Farm 1:22.60
1959 Sword Dancer Bill Shoemaker J. Elliott Burch Brookmeade Stable 1:22.20
1958 Belleau Chief Johnny Heckmann E. B. Carpenter Lora Birr 1:22.80