The racehorse Vagrant was born in 1873, a brown colt bred by M. H. Sanford and bought by William Astor.1 He was gelded before he began his career on the racetrack. Sired by Virgil, Vagrant was a great-grandson of the famous Lexington, and a descendant of the Byerley Turk through Herod.

Vagrant's Family Tree:2,5

          |            |                   | Glencoe by Sultan  
          |            | Vandal            |                          
          |            |                   | Mare by Tranby    
          | Virgil     |                   |                            
          |            |                   | Yorkshire       
          |            | Hymenia           |                           
          |            |                   | Little Peggy by Cripple
Vagrant   ---------------------------------------------------------------  
          |            |                   | Orlando by Touchstone          
          |            | Scythian          |
          |            |                   | Scythia
          | Lazy       |                   | 
          |            |                   | Lexington by Boston   
          |            | Lindora           |     
          |            |                   | Picayune     

African-American trainer Dudley Allen (who also trained 1891 Kentucky Derby winner Kingman)had charge of the young horse's education.5 Vagrant began racing as a two-year-old, winning the 1875 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga and the Alexander Stakes at Churchill Downs.

The next year, Vagrant was one of eleven horses (including two fillies) entered in the second running of the Kentucky Derby on May 15, 1876. He carried a total of 97 pounds and was ridden by jockey Bobby Swim (who had guided Chesapeake in the 1875 Derby). The track was fast and the odds on Vagrant were 9-5 at post time.3

Vagrant won the Derby two lengths ahead of Creedmore, with a time of 2:38.25 for the mile and a half (only half a second slower than Aristides' record-setting Derby time the previous year). He brought home $2950 for Mr. Astor. After Creedmore came Harry Hill, Parole, Germantown, Lizzie Stone (a filly), Marie Michon (the other filly), Bombay, Red Coat, Leamingtonian, and Bullion.4

Vagrant is the earliest of only eight geldings that have won the Kentucky Derby. He went on to post a career record of 20 wins, finishing second twelve times and third twelve times in 88 total starts. Unfortunately, he did not have the chance to prove himself at stud, and after his racing days he ended up a cart horse in Lexington, Kentucky. 2

5. Chew, Peter, The Kentucky Derby: The First 100 Years, Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1974.

Va"grant (?), a. [Probably fr. OF. waucrant, wacrant, p. p. of waucrer, wacrer, walcrer, to wander (probably of Teutonic origin), but influenced by F. vagant, p. pr. of vaguer to stray, L. vagari. Cf. Vagary.]


Moving without certain direction; wandering; erratic; unsettled.

That beauteous Emma vagrant courses took. Prior.

While leading this vagrant and miserable life, Johnson fell in live. Macaulay.


Wandering from place to place without any settled habitation; as, a vagrant beggar.


© Webster 1913.

Va"grant, n.

One who strolls from place to place; one who has no settled habitation; an idle wanderer; a sturdy beggar; an incorrigible rogue; a vagabond.

Vagrants and outlaws shall offend thy view. Prior.


© Webster 1913.

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