Looks like last week's question was a stumper (the answer is Sun Beau). This week's subject is a champion who, long after her retirement, was found neglected in a cattle field. Rescued, she became an equine ambassador for the cause of racehorse adoption and gave her name to a retirement facility primarily dedicated to broodmares. Who was she?
This three-time American champion was the world's leading money winner at the time of his retirement, yet (oddly enough) never led the list of money winners during any single season that he raced. Who was he?
American jockey Bill Shoemaker was the first to reach US$100 million in career purse earnings by his mounts, a milestone he reached in 1985. Who was the horse who pushed him past this mark, and in what race?
The answer I was looking for is Flying Ebony, a maiden winner on the Kentucky Derby undercard of 1924 and the Derby winner of 1925.
The trivia challenge will be taking a break for the rest of the month. See you in August!
At least two winners of the Kentucky Derby (USA-I) broke their maidens on the Kentucky Derby undercard as 2-year-olds. Jet Pilot, the 1947 Derby winner, was one; can you name another?
When Windstoss came storming down the course to land the IDEE Deutches Derby (GER-I), he did more than provide a Group I win for his connections and give promise of carrying on an important German sire line. He also provided living proof that the family of one of racing's greatest legends, Kincsem, is still alive and well, despite the vicissitudes of death and war.
Kincsem, whose name means "my treasure," may have been the greatest race mare of all time. Foaled in Hungary in 1874, she was homely in appearance but was perfection itself when racing. She ran 54 times and never knew defeat, winning major races in England and France as well as taking virtually every prize worth having in central Europe. When she died of colic in 1887, the people of Hungary mourned for the loss of their national heroine as if she had been human.
Kinscem left just five foals behind, though two became Classic winners: Budagyönge, a top-class filly who defeated males in the 1885 Deutches Derby, and Ollyan-Nincs, who won the 1886 Hungarian St. Leger. The latter filly proved to be Kinscem's primary link to the future, her descendants becoming a notable Classic family in central Europe. Unfortunately, Ollyan-Nincs' family took tremendous losses during the two World Wars, but it has survived in Germany as the noted "W" family descended from the Polish-bred mare Winnica, who was imported to Germany in 1922.
Of course, Windstoss is so far removed in time and generations from Kincsem that, aside from the contributions of mitochondrial DNA, his ability probably has far more to do with his immediate ancestry than with his link to his famous ancestress. Nonetheless, it is pleasant to think that at least a spark of her tremendous talent lives on in Germany's latest Classic winner.
Owner Rachel Carpenter was a sucker for grays, and she definitely got her money's worth out of the gray colt she purchased at a bargain US$14,000 from the Keeneland July yearling sale. Not only did he become a major stakes winner who earned over US$450,000, but he turned out to be a pure-breeding gray who turned out nothing but gray foals. Who was he?
Ben's Cat has never been the kind of horse to wow fans with raw talent. He is a working man's horse: honest, hard-trying, and giving the best he has every time. He and Hall of Fame trainer King Leatherbury suited each other like a couple of old warriors, and Maryland fans took both to their hearts. They were fixtures on the Mid-Atlantic circuit, seemingly ageless.
Age, however, is an opponent that can't be outrun forever, even though Ben's Cat tried. Now 11, the gelding has trained with as much enthusiasm as ever. But in the heat of a race, the final edge of speed that makes the difference between a winner and an also-ran just wasn't there anymore. For too many old geldings, that begins the spiral down into lower and lower levels of competition until an aging body can finally take no more.
Leatherbury, however, wasn't about to let that happen to a horse who has given him his best so many times. Instead, he made the decision to retire the Cat while he was still healthy and still enjoying the routine he has known for so many years. And so the horse he has known and cared for since his birth (for Leatherbury is breeder and owner as well as trainer), will go to a well-earned retirement in Kentucky, living a life of leisure.
As for Leatherbury, he will still go to the barn every day; he's been doing that since before most of us were born. It's his life, and he will continue leading it as he always has. He still has horses to train and races to win. Nonetheless, there will be a void where Ben's Cat was. You can never replace a horse like that, or the kind of connection that existed between these two old friends.
To the Cat and the King---thanks for the memories.
Twice in the history of the Travers Stakes, three individual winners of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes have met at Saratoga to slug it out for divisional leadership---and both times, the Classic winners ended up going down to a horse that didn't make a mark in any of the American Triple Crown events. Who were the winners of these renewals of the Travers, and who were the Classic winners they defeated?
Answer to last week's question: Omar Khayyam, the 1917 Kentucky Derby winner, was the last to have his name reused in North America.
This Kentucky Derby winner was the last to have his name reused by another horse in North America. After his namesake became a minor stakes winner, The Jockey Club amended its naming rules to forbid the reuse of names of winners of the Derby. Name the original star involved in this situation.
I'm Avalyn Hunter, an author, pedigree researcher and longtime racing fan.