Tag Archives: sports illustrated magazine covers

Sports Illustrated 2009 Derby Cover_featured

Photo Finish: Sports Illustrated Magazine’s 7 Best Kentucky Derby Cover Stories

Sports Illustrated Best Kentucky Derby Cover StoriesWhich Sports Illustrated Kentucky Derby cover story edges out the rest? Here, we take a look at the best of the best of the field ahead of Saturday’s “run for the roses.”

So many things about the Kentucky Derby can draw in even the most casual horse racing fan: the iconic twin spires of Churchill Downs, the signature mint juleps, the elaborate hats, the garland of roses.

And somewhere beneath the pomp and pageantry, there’s actually a race known as “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports.”

But just as majestic as the spectacle are the stories that emerge, about the horses, the trainers, the owners, the jockeys, the insurmountable odds and the long-shot luck needed to overcome them.

Once the finery for winning is presented, the debate will begin. Will this horse be the first in now 35 years to earn the Triple Crown?

In preparation for the race and all its possibilities, here are the seven best Kentucky Derby cover stories from Sports Illustrated magazine.

1. May 11, 2009, “Miracle in the Mud”: Jockey Calvin Borel and Mine That Bird raced into Derby history with their come-from-behind win. With a three-length lead over the rest of the field, Mine That Bird notched the largest margin of victory in 60 years, beating the longest odds in 85 years to earn a place in the record books.


2. May 10, 2004, “Why Everybody Loves Smarty Jones”: The stars seemed to have aligned when Smarty Jones kept his unbeaten streak alive in the Derby during the 100th anniversary of the Triple Crown races. When he later won the Preakness Stakes, excitement built for the potential trifecta at the Belmont Stakes, but there he finished second to a long-shot contender.


3. May 12, 1980, “The Lady Is a Champ”: A number of covers acknowledged the Derby’s great moments throughout the ’70s, but Genuine Risk’s was another worthy performance near the end of that golden age of horse racing. She became only the second filly to win at Churchill Downs–the first was 65 years earlier–and the first ever to cash in during all three Triple Crown races.


4. May 14, 1979, “Simply Spectacular”: Spectacular Bid nearly lived up to his name, with record-setting performances and wins at both the Derby (over the son of the legendary Secretariat, General Assembly, no less) and the Preakness. But the 2-year-old champ’s Triple Crown bid fell short because of a freak accident at the Belmont Stakes.


5. May 15, 1978, “Rousing Run For the Roses”: With so many Triple Crown winners in his pedigree, including his great-great-grandfather War Admiral, perhaps it’s no surprise that Affirmed was destined to be a champion. Only 11 horses have accomplished his feat of winning the Triple Crown, and he is the last to have done so.


6. May 16, 1977, “The Derby”: Seattle Slew was an unlikely champion. Even at birth, he wasn’t expected to make history, and he was sold from his Kentucky home to a couple in Washington. But he proved his detractors wrong, becoming the 10th horse to win the Triple Crown and the only horse to have done so while undefeated.


7. May 10, 1976, “Cordero’s Bold Triumph”: Three-year-old superstar Bold Forbes had won multiple races before arriving in Louisville, where he wasn’t even put through trial runs on the day of the race or leading up to it–a break from the norm. He won the Derby, came oh so close at the Preakness and won the Belmont Stakes, ridden in each by accomplished Puerto Rican jockey Angel Cordero Jr.



Masters collage_featured

Masterpieces: Sports Illustrated Magazine’s 5 Most Memorable Masters Covers

Most Memorable Sports Illustrated Masters CoversThe Masters—that tradition unlike any other—has been both cruel and kind to the sport’s greatest golfers. These are the most memorable moments featured on Sports Illustrated.

When the azaleas start blooming in April, and CBS announcer Jim Nantz starts talking about green jackets and Amen Corner, that can only mean one thing: The Masters is about to begin.

One of golf’s most tradition-rich events, the Masters is punctuated with tales of hope and heartbreak against the beautiful backdrop of Augusta National.

For the good—sometimes lucky—the story ends happily with the donning of a green jacket. For others who come oh so close to victory, the story continues the next year or maybe just simply ends.

In celebration of this “tradition unlike any other,” here are the Masters’ five most memorable moments as depicted on Sports Illustrated magazine‘s covers:

1. April 19, 2004, “Masterstroke: Mickelson Wins His First Major”: Based on the first 42 majors of his professional career, Phil Mickelson seemed destined for always-a-bridesmaid-never-a-bride status. Then came the 2004 Masters. The lovable lefty’s comfortable lead on Sunday was threatened by several bogeys that he turned around on the back nine. After making four of five birdies, including on 18, he won, and his jubilant moment made this cover.



2. April 16, 2001, “Masterpiece”: Love him or hate him, you have to admit Tiger Woods is a pretty talented golfer. After clinching the 2001 Masters, he became the first golfer to earn the “Tiger Slam.” Though not all won in the same calendar year, Tiger owned all four major titles at the same time. Just four years earlier in 1997, the 21-year-old became the youngest ever to don the green jacket. And like his performance, this cover is also a masterpiece.



3. April 22, 1996, “Agony at Augusta: Greg Norman”: The third time wasn’t a charm for the man known as “The Great White Shark.” After suffering back-to-back narrow defeats, Greg Norman had another chance at the 1996 Masters, but it ended without a green jacket as well. Englishman Nick Faldo put on a remarkable performance, shooting an impressive 67 in the final round. Though it didn’t come down to the final shot, it was another round of heartbreak for Norman, as shown here.



4. April 21, 1986, “One for the Ages: Jack Nicklaus Wins His Sixth Masters”: The Golden Bear set new records in 1972, with his record fifth Masters win, then broke his own record in 1986 with a record sixth, his 20th major championship. That year, Jack Nicklaus, at 46, also became the oldest ever winner in Augusta. His final round required some magic, but the old bear proved he still had it in him.



5. April 17, 1978, “What a Finish! Gary Player Wins the Masters”: The South African known as the “Black Knight” closed out the 1978 Masters with an unlikely win. Down seven shots, Gary Player summoned a championship performance to birdie seven of the final 10 holes, giving him a single-stroke lead over three players to earn his third green jacket and his final career major championship win.