March12014

K: “Put that black bastard away. God, that’s an awful weanling.”
L: “Well, Mr Keefer, roses will look mighty pretty on him one day. You never know.”
K: “The only time that son of a bitch will ever have a rose on him will be on his grave.”

- Conversation between adviser Ted Keefer and Stone Farm manager Pete Logan, regarding the weanling Sunday Silence 

K: “Put that black bastard away. God, that’s an awful weanling.”

L: “Well, Mr Keefer, roses will look mighty pretty on him one day. You never know.”

K: “The only time that son of a bitch will ever have a rose on him will be on his grave.”

- Conversation between adviser Ted Keefer and Stone Farm manager Pete Logan, regarding the weanling Sunday Silence 

7PM
Trainer Charlie Whittingham and his thirsty champion Sunday Silence 
Whittigham had probably the biggest hand in Sunday Silence’s success. The sickly foal was twice sent to auction and twice failed to meet his reserve price. On the return trip from one of the auctions, the van Sunday was traveling in overturned in a ditch, but he miraculously escaped with only minor scratches. He seemed destined for a life of obscurity, but Charlie Whittingham saw something special in the black colt. He bought a half-interest in Sunday (and later sold half of that to Dr Ernest Galliard). Breeder and partial owner Arthur Hancock III was still not convinced that the horse had a future. While watching Sunday exercise one morning, Whittingham made the remark “This black son of a bitch can run.” Coming from the reserved Whittingham, the remark convinced Hancock that Sunday Silence might just prove to be a decent racehorse

Trainer Charlie Whittingham and his thirsty champion Sunday Silence 

Whittigham had probably the biggest hand in Sunday Silence’s success. The sickly foal was twice sent to auction and twice failed to meet his reserve price. On the return trip from one of the auctions, the van Sunday was traveling in overturned in a ditch, but he miraculously escaped with only minor scratches. He seemed destined for a life of obscurity, but Charlie Whittingham saw something special in the black colt. He bought a half-interest in Sunday (and later sold half of that to Dr Ernest Galliard). Breeder and partial owner Arthur Hancock III was still not convinced that the horse had a future. While watching Sunday exercise one morning, Whittingham made the remark “This black son of a bitch can run.” Coming from the reserved Whittingham, the remark convinced Hancock that Sunday Silence might just prove to be a decent racehorse

6PM
1989 Horse of the Year Sunday Silence makes his triumphant return to racing in the 1990 Californian Stakes
Facing only two opponents and sent off as the 1-9 favorite, Sunday Silence proved he was back in action with a willful 3/4 length win over veteran runner Stylish Winner. It was the last win of his career
Three weeks later, Sunday Silence came up short by a head to future Horse of the Year Criminal Type in the Hollywood Gold Cup. While in training for the Arlington Challenge Cup at Arlington International, it was discovered that he had torn a ligament in his left foreleg. In early August 1990, it was officially announced that he had been retired to stud 

1989 Horse of the Year Sunday Silence makes his triumphant return to racing in the 1990 Californian Stakes

Facing only two opponents and sent off as the 1-9 favorite, Sunday Silence proved he was back in action with a willful 3/4 length win over veteran runner Stylish Winner. It was the last win of his career

Three weeks later, Sunday Silence came up short by a head to future Horse of the Year Criminal Type in the Hollywood Gold Cup. While in training for the Arlington Challenge Cup at Arlington International, it was discovered that he had torn a ligament in his left foreleg. In early August 1990, it was officially announced that he had been retired to stud 

6PM
February272014

Anonymous asked: Did Shoemaker ever have any comment about Ferdinand's demise?

Okay…if I answer this question, can we all promise to NOT jump on our collective anti-Japanese high horse? I know, I know, some of you guys just absolutely have to comment on any and every picture of Ferdinand I post (instead of, I don’t know…celebrating him and his amazing career), but I’m not really in a mood to deal with 47 “DUH EBIL JAPANESE KILLDED HIM!!1!” messages today, okay?

Thanks

Anyways, Ferdinand’s death was revealed in 2002, the year before Shoemaker himself died. Nevertheless, he was asked about it, and did have some comments:

"It’s terrible. It’s hard to believe that the horse couldn’t have been brought here to live out the rest of his life."

"It’s very disturbing. He won the Kentucky Derby, but, of course that doesn’t mean anything to the Japanese."

(Not to argue with a legend like Shoemaker, but the title “Kentucky Derby winner” meant very much to the Japanese breeders, and still does. They bought several past Derby winners for stud - Dust Commander, Kauai King, Iron Liege, and Forward Pass. After all of them proved to only have limited success [yet strangely, were not slaughtered, like some people seem to think all non-producing stallions in Japan are], the breeders started to be more selective. That led to the purchase of Sunday Silence, and more recent purchases like War Emblem, Charismatic, Silver Charm, and I’ll Have Another. Derby winners are a big business in Japan)

February262014
Dream Team ‘86
Ferdinand, trainer Charlie Whittingham, and jockey Bill Shoemaker

Dream Team ‘86

Ferdinand, trainer Charlie Whittingham, and jockey Bill Shoemaker

4PM

"He’s quite sway-backed as an equine senior citizen. But he’s very, very active for 31. (He has) never lost his interest in the opposite sex. I guess he won’t until he has all four feet in the grave. He still likes the girls very much. How do the French say it - he’s still got that joie de vivre."

- Dave Hooper, Horseman’s Journal, June 1971, on pensioned stallion Count Fleet

3PM
A Personal First
"Ogden Phipps’ Personal Ensign produced her first foal, a Mr Prospector colt, on Feb. 15 at Claiborne Farm (Seth Hancock, president) near Paris, Ky. Champion older distaffer of 1988, Personal Ensign retired unbeaten in 13 starts in her career after she won the Breeder’s Cup Distaff (gr. I). That event was voted Race of the Year for 1988 by readers of The Blood-Horse. Personal Ensign is scheduled to be bred this to Danzig.”
The colt, later named Miner’s Mark, went on to win the 1993 Jockey Club Gold Cup, Jim Dandy Stakes, and Colin Stakes

A Personal First

"Ogden Phipps’ Personal Ensign produced her first foal, a Mr Prospector colt, on Feb. 15 at Claiborne Farm (Seth Hancock, president) near Paris, Ky. Champion older distaffer of 1988, Personal Ensign retired unbeaten in 13 starts in her career after she won the Breeder’s Cup Distaff (gr. I). That event was voted Race of the Year for 1988 by readers of The Blood-Horse. Personal Ensign is scheduled to be bred this to Danzig.”

The colt, later named Miner’s Mark, went on to win the 1993 Jockey Club Gold Cup, Jim Dandy Stakes, and Colin Stakes

3PM
Three-year-old filly Swinging Mood sails to victory in the 1966 Arlington Matron Handicap. This victory, along with wins in the Pucker Up, New York, Chesapeake, and Atlantic City Handicaps saw her named the Florida-bred Champion 3-Year-Old Filly of 1966
Swinging Mood also won the race in 1967, one of the few back-to-back winners

Three-year-old filly Swinging Mood sails to victory in the 1966 Arlington Matron Handicap. This victory, along with wins in the Pucker Up, New York, Chesapeake, and Atlantic City Handicaps saw her named the Florida-bred Champion 3-Year-Old Filly of 1966

Swinging Mood also won the race in 1967, one of the few back-to-back winners

February232014
The unlucky Uncle
Uncle was both the son of a legendary stallion and the sire of a champion racer. He was once described as “the colt which gave Colin the hardest race ever has had”. He was an extremely high-priced yearling. Yet today, he is largely forgotten
Uncle was born in 1905, from one of the first crops of British stallion *Star Shoot after his importation into the US. Years later, *Star Shoot would find even more fame as the sire of 1919 Triple Crown winner Sir Barton, Uncle’s dam was a pretty chestnut mare called The Niece, a daughter of champion miler and sire Alarm. As a juvenile, the dark chestnut colt was sold by breeder John E Madden to trainer Sam Hildreth. His price was a steep $30,000, which reflected both his pedigree and his potential 
As a racehorse, Uncle flashed talent that would never be fully realized. A few days after his purchase, Uncle ran what amounted to a match race with the undefeated Colin. The nomination of both Uncle and Colin to the Saratoga Stakes scared away any competition, and the two went to the post alone. Colin was still recovering from a cough, giving Uncle and his backers confidence. Indeed, for most of the race it was impossible to tell who was better. Papers reported “…the rivals running as one horse for the first half mile, first one head, then the other showing in front…”. Going at a terrific pace, the pair went as one to the final turn, after which Colin began gradually edging away from Uncle, and “won cleverly by a length”. The two high-weighted juveniles (each carried 122 pounds) were so impressive in their struggle that the 1907 Saratoga Stakes was soon being called “one of the most brilliant races in turf history.”
Unfortunately, Uncle’s notorious bad luck made an appearance not long afterwards, when he was pulled up lame during a workout a few days later. Like so many of *Star Shoot’s offspring, he would always be plagued by tender feet. Hildreth took Uncle to Los Angeles, hoping to get him back in time for the winter racing, but it never happened. At the start of 1908, Hildreth shipped him to New York, where he confidently predicted that Uncle would become “the greatest three-year-old of the year”. Drifting back and forth between racing and resting, the colt knocked his leg badly in a workout for the Withers Stakes in early June, and the resulting soreness finally convinced Hildreth that enough was enough. He initially retired Uncle only for the year, but in November 1908 it was announced that the three-year-old colt was retired for good 
In addition to troublesome feet, the sons of *Star Shoot also suffered from a lack of impact at stud. Uncle would be the only exception. From his very first crop of foals came the gelding Old Rosebud, a multiple champion and Hall of Fame member. Other good runners sired by Uncle included 1925 Blue Grass Stakes winner Step Along and California Derby winner Victoire. He also made an impact as a broodmare sire with Uncle’s Lassie, a stakes-placed mare who was the dam of 1929 Kentucky Derby winner Clyde Van Dusen, as well as Clipsetta, Debutante, and Latonia Oaks winner Betty Derr. Through Betty Derr, Uncle’s bloodlines carried through later champions Iron Liege and Swaps. Another of Uncle’s daughters, Hurakan, was the dam of 1924 Futurity Stakes winner and good sire Stimulus 

The unlucky Uncle

Uncle was both the son of a legendary stallion and the sire of a champion racer. He was once described as “the colt which gave Colin the hardest race ever has had”. He was an extremely high-priced yearling. Yet today, he is largely forgotten

Uncle was born in 1905, from one of the first crops of British stallion *Star Shoot after his importation into the US. Years later, *Star Shoot would find even more fame as the sire of 1919 Triple Crown winner Sir Barton, Uncle’s dam was a pretty chestnut mare called The Niece, a daughter of champion miler and sire Alarm. As a juvenile, the dark chestnut colt was sold by breeder John E Madden to trainer Sam Hildreth. His price was a steep $30,000, which reflected both his pedigree and his potential 

As a racehorse, Uncle flashed talent that would never be fully realized. A few days after his purchase, Uncle ran what amounted to a match race with the undefeated Colin. The nomination of both Uncle and Colin to the Saratoga Stakes scared away any competition, and the two went to the post alone. Colin was still recovering from a cough, giving Uncle and his backers confidence. Indeed, for most of the race it was impossible to tell who was better. Papers reported “…the rivals running as one horse for the first half mile, first one head, then the other showing in front…”. Going at a terrific pace, the pair went as one to the final turn, after which Colin began gradually edging away from Uncle, and “won cleverly by a length”. The two high-weighted juveniles (each carried 122 pounds) were so impressive in their struggle that the 1907 Saratoga Stakes was soon being called “one of the most brilliant races in turf history.”

Unfortunately, Uncle’s notorious bad luck made an appearance not long afterwards, when he was pulled up lame during a workout a few days later. Like so many of *Star Shoot’s offspring, he would always be plagued by tender feet. Hildreth took Uncle to Los Angeles, hoping to get him back in time for the winter racing, but it never happened. At the start of 1908, Hildreth shipped him to New York, where he confidently predicted that Uncle would become “the greatest three-year-old of the year”. Drifting back and forth between racing and resting, the colt knocked his leg badly in a workout for the Withers Stakes in early June, and the resulting soreness finally convinced Hildreth that enough was enough. He initially retired Uncle only for the year, but in November 1908 it was announced that the three-year-old colt was retired for good 

In addition to troublesome feet, the sons of *Star Shoot also suffered from a lack of impact at stud. Uncle would be the only exception. From his very first crop of foals came the gelding Old Rosebud, a multiple champion and Hall of Fame member. Other good runners sired by Uncle included 1925 Blue Grass Stakes winner Step Along and California Derby winner Victoire. He also made an impact as a broodmare sire with Uncle’s Lassie, a stakes-placed mare who was the dam of 1929 Kentucky Derby winner Clyde Van Dusen, as well as Clipsetta, Debutante, and Latonia Oaks winner Betty Derr. Through Betty Derr, Uncle’s bloodlines carried through later champions Iron Liege and Swaps. Another of Uncle’s daughters, Hurakan, was the dam of 1924 Futurity Stakes winner and good sire Stimulus 

4PM

"He was big, strong, but his color was gray - a rare and unpopular color in those days - and he had weird blotches on him that made him look something like an enormous edition of a child’s rocking-horse."
- Jockey Steve Donoghue

"He was big, strong, but his color was gray - a rare and unpopular color in those days - and he had weird blotches on him that made him look something like an enormous edition of a child’s rocking-horse."

- Jockey Steve Donoghue

3PM
Safely Home, dam of multiple stakes-winning champion sprinting mare Safely Kept, as well as Grade 2 winner Partner’s Hero

Safely Home, dam of multiple stakes-winning champion sprinting mare Safely Kept, as well as Grade 2 winner Partner’s Hero

2PM
He looks exactly like his daddy, and he’s full of energy! This baby Get Stormy colt was born at Crestwood Farm earlier this week
(Photo from Crestwood Farm Twitter)

He looks exactly like his daddy, and he’s full of energy! This baby Get Stormy colt was born at Crestwood Farm earlier this week

(Photo from Crestwood Farm Twitter)

February222014
If there is a debate about the best Kentucky Derby entry ever, there surely must be a flip-side. And a strong contender for the title of “Worst Derby Starter” was a chestnut colt by the name of Great Redeemer
In 1979, the Derby buzz centered around the blindingly fast grey Spectacular Bid, with some thought given to Secretariat's son General Assembly and Santa Anita Derby winner Flying Paster. Into that walked Texas radiologist James A Mohamed, who certainly qualified as “offbeat”. After waiting to the very last minute to nominate his horse (some reports actually say he got to the racing secretary’s office five minutes after the nominations had closed), he proceeded to name Richard DePass as the jockey. The only problem was that DePass had not only never ridden Great Redeemer before, he had also never even heard of Mohamed. But it was a chance to ride in the Derby, and so DePass accepted the offer
The last-minute entry of Great Redeemer caused no end of controversy and panic among the racing set. He was, quite simply, a problem. Great Redeemer’s sire, Holy Land, had raced in the 1970 Derby and had broken down, failing to finish the race. Great Redeemer himself was still a maiden; he had not raced as a juvenile and had lost all six of his three-year-old races by a combined 85 lengths. Further, there was a considerable amount of worry from other trainers that he might interfere with their horses during the race, a fear compounded when Great Redeemer drew the post position right next to heavily favored Spectacular Bid. One reporter opined that, should the longshot maiden in any way interfere with Spectacular Bid’s chances, his owner “ought to be horsewhipped” 
It wasn’t only other trainers who thought the colt had no place in the Derby. His own trainer, Jim James, resigned in protest on the eve of the race. Mohamed hurriedly attained a Kentucky training license so that he could saddle his horse in the race
Great Redeemer ran exactly as everyone, save Mohamed, thought he would. This led to one of the strangest Derby tales in the history of the race. Spectacular Bid, as expected, won easily. After him came the rest of the field. Or, almost the rest of it. After ninth-place finisher Lot o’ Gold crossed the finish line, a group of photographers assumed the race was over and ran onto the track towards the winner’s circle to get the first pictures of the newly-minted Derby champion. They were so intent on getting to the winner that they failed to notice the loser: the still-a-maiden Great Redeemer, who came plodding home 25 lengths behind Lot o’ Gold and 47 behind Spectacular Bid. One photographer actually made it all the way across the track before Great Redeemer caught up, but two or three others were nearly run over, although, as The Courier-Journal put it, “he was going so slowly, he probably wouldn’t have hurt them.”
After the race, the media circus continued. Owner Mohamed blamed the colt’s performance on a broken bone in his leg, evidence of which was never found. Four months after the race, Mohamed discovered that his colt had been stabbed, leaving a four-inch bloody wound in his side. Perhaps tired of the infamy associated with him, Mohamed sold Great Redeemer in December of 1979. The colt finally broke his maiden on June 7, 1980. From there, he was traded hands over the years, eventually being purchased by Bob and Diane King, who made a living buying discarded horses and re-training them. By the time the Kings got a hold of Great Redeemer, the colt had been gelded and was “half-starved, with open sores along his back.”. The couple nursed him back to health over several months, and Diane began taking him fox hunting. The former laughingstock of the racing world turned out to be a surprisingly good hunter and show horse, winning over 100 blue ribbons in the first five years after his retirement from racing
"I usually change a horse’s name when I make one into a hunter. But I decided not to change his. He’ll always be Great Redeemer. I think any horse who runs in the Kentucky Derby should keep his name."

If there is a debate about the best Kentucky Derby entry ever, there surely must be a flip-side. And a strong contender for the title of “Worst Derby Starter” was a chestnut colt by the name of Great Redeemer

In 1979, the Derby buzz centered around the blindingly fast grey Spectacular Bid, with some thought given to Secretariat's son General Assembly and Santa Anita Derby winner Flying Paster. Into that walked Texas radiologist James A Mohamed, who certainly qualified as “offbeat”. After waiting to the very last minute to nominate his horse (some reports actually say he got to the racing secretary’s office five minutes after the nominations had closed), he proceeded to name Richard DePass as the jockey. The only problem was that DePass had not only never ridden Great Redeemer before, he had also never even heard of Mohamed. But it was a chance to ride in the Derby, and so DePass accepted the offer

The last-minute entry of Great Redeemer caused no end of controversy and panic among the racing set. He was, quite simply, a problem. Great Redeemer’s sire, Holy Land, had raced in the 1970 Derby and had broken down, failing to finish the race. Great Redeemer himself was still a maiden; he had not raced as a juvenile and had lost all six of his three-year-old races by a combined 85 lengths. Further, there was a considerable amount of worry from other trainers that he might interfere with their horses during the race, a fear compounded when Great Redeemer drew the post position right next to heavily favored Spectacular Bid. One reporter opined that, should the longshot maiden in any way interfere with Spectacular Bid’s chances, his owner “ought to be horsewhipped” 

It wasn’t only other trainers who thought the colt had no place in the Derby. His own trainer, Jim James, resigned in protest on the eve of the race. Mohamed hurriedly attained a Kentucky training license so that he could saddle his horse in the race

Great Redeemer ran exactly as everyone, save Mohamed, thought he would. This led to one of the strangest Derby tales in the history of the race. Spectacular Bid, as expected, won easily. After him came the rest of the field. Or, almost the rest of it. After ninth-place finisher Lot o’ Gold crossed the finish line, a group of photographers assumed the race was over and ran onto the track towards the winner’s circle to get the first pictures of the newly-minted Derby champion. They were so intent on getting to the winner that they failed to notice the loser: the still-a-maiden Great Redeemer, who came plodding home 25 lengths behind Lot o’ Gold and 47 behind Spectacular Bid. One photographer actually made it all the way across the track before Great Redeemer caught up, but two or three others were nearly run over, although, as The Courier-Journal put it, “he was going so slowly, he probably wouldn’t have hurt them.”

After the race, the media circus continued. Owner Mohamed blamed the colt’s performance on a broken bone in his leg, evidence of which was never found. Four months after the race, Mohamed discovered that his colt had been stabbed, leaving a four-inch bloody wound in his side. Perhaps tired of the infamy associated with him, Mohamed sold Great Redeemer in December of 1979. The colt finally broke his maiden on June 7, 1980. From there, he was traded hands over the years, eventually being purchased by Bob and Diane King, who made a living buying discarded horses and re-training them. By the time the Kings got a hold of Great Redeemer, the colt had been gelded and was “half-starved, with open sores along his back.”. The couple nursed him back to health over several months, and Diane began taking him fox hunting. The former laughingstock of the racing world turned out to be a surprisingly good hunter and show horse, winning over 100 blue ribbons in the first five years after his retirement from racing

"I usually change a horse’s name when I make one into a hunter. But I decided not to change his. He’ll always be Great Redeemer. I think any horse who runs in the Kentucky Derby should keep his name."

7PM
Everyone, meet Broadway Limited
The foals of Man o’ War were, largely, retained by their breeders for racing; only 45 of his yearlings ever found their way into an auction ring. In 1928, a chestnut colt out of imported British mare *Starflight was the only representative of Big Red to be found in the Saratoga sales. Texas tycoon W. T. Waggoner, who had unsuccessfully attempted to buy Man o’ War with a blank check years before, was determined not to be denied again. In a time when the average Man o’ War yearling sold for around $9,000, Waggoner stunned the racing world by throwing down $65,000 for the colt. He was the highest-priced foal of Big Red ever to be sold at public auction. He was also arguably the worst runner of the lot
Broadway Limited proved to be very limited indeed. He was winless through five races as a juvenile, in fact never even bothering the winners. At three, his streak continued, this time including a ninth-place finish in the 1930 Kentucky Derby, followed by a humiliating loss to a group of maidens. Hoping to recoup at least a little bit of his money, Waggoner had the colt gelded in an effort to improve his racing ability
The story of Broadway Limited took a tragic turn when, during his first race back after the operation, he collapsed on the track and was declared dead of heart failure. The highest-priced son of Man o’ War had failed to win in nine races, and in fact, never earned a single dime on the racetrack
His regular jockey, Frank Coltiletti, summed him up in a frank, if rather harsh, way: "He was nothing. He wasn’t worth four dollars. They give $65,000 for that bum. He wasn’t worth a quarter. He was no count."

Everyone, meet Broadway Limited

The foals of Man o’ War were, largely, retained by their breeders for racing; only 45 of his yearlings ever found their way into an auction ring. In 1928, a chestnut colt out of imported British mare *Starflight was the only representative of Big Red to be found in the Saratoga sales. Texas tycoon W. T. Waggoner, who had unsuccessfully attempted to buy Man o’ War with a blank check years before, was determined not to be denied again. In a time when the average Man o’ War yearling sold for around $9,000, Waggoner stunned the racing world by throwing down $65,000 for the colt. He was the highest-priced foal of Big Red ever to be sold at public auction. He was also arguably the worst runner of the lot

Broadway Limited proved to be very limited indeed. He was winless through five races as a juvenile, in fact never even bothering the winners. At three, his streak continued, this time including a ninth-place finish in the 1930 Kentucky Derby, followed by a humiliating loss to a group of maidens. Hoping to recoup at least a little bit of his money, Waggoner had the colt gelded in an effort to improve his racing ability

The story of Broadway Limited took a tragic turn when, during his first race back after the operation, he collapsed on the track and was declared dead of heart failure. The highest-priced son of Man o’ War had failed to win in nine races, and in fact, never earned a single dime on the racetrack

His regular jockey, Frank Coltiletti, summed him up in a frank, if rather harsh, way: "He was nothing. He wasn’t worth four dollars. They give $65,000 for that bum. He wasn’t worth a quarter. He was no count."