Good second guess, Elaina. Regret made only 11 lifetime starts, but the first filly to win the Kentucky Derby is considered the American champion 2-year-old filly of 1914, the American champion 3-year-old filly and Horse of the Year of 1915 and the American champion older female of 1917. She was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1957 and was ranked #71 among the top American racehorses of the 20th century by an expert panel assembled by The Blood-Horse.
Friday Trivia Challenge for 4/24/15
This three-time American champion is a member of the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame and was voted one of the top 100 American racehorses of the 20th century, yet made only 11 lifetime starts. Name this lightly raced but superbly talented runner.
Crowning a King
King Leatherbury has never been one of the glamor trainers in North America. He's as hard-knocking and honest as most of his runners, and like most of them doesn't usually stray too far from the Mid-Atlantic circuit that has been his home for decades. He's never had a really "big name" horse, and you'll never see him chatting up the media at the Kentucky Derby. All he's done is win races -- a lot of them: 6,454 as of today, enough to put him fourth on the all-time North American trainers' list. It's also been enough to put Leatherbury into the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame, an honor announced today.
Blink a couple of times, and that number may have bumped up, because Leatherbury isn't exactly resting on his laurels even at the ripe old age of 82. His current stable star is four-time Grade III winner Ben's Cat, a nine-year-old gelding with an enthusiastic fan base in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Leatherbury trains him, owns him and bred him, and at this point the two old campaigners are as inseparable as bread and butter. And you can be sure that tomorrow morning, Leatherbury will be doing his rounds in the stable just as he has for decades, Hall of Fame or no Hall of Fame. After all, he didn't get into the Hall of Fame by leaving the little things undone, and you can bet he isn't starting now. He's one of a kind, and he finally has the crown that his career deserves.
Elaina is right. Roman got 47 percent juvenile winners from foals and led the American juvenile sire list twice. He was also an American champion broodmare sire.
Friday Trivia Challenge for 4/17/15
This stallion may or may not have been the best sire of precocious speedsters ever, but he certainly had the numbers to rank with the best -- 47 percent of his named foals (not just his starters) won races as 2-year-olds. Name him.
Chris S. has it. Dancer's Image, the Canadian champion 2-year-old male of 1967, finished first in the 1968 Kentucky Derby but was disqualified due to traces of Bute in his post-race urine sample. The case dragged on for five years in the courts before being settled in favor of second-place Forward Pass, who rather ironically was never tested for drugs himself following the Derby. Owner Peter Fuller believed that his colt's urine sample had been tampered with because of his support of civil rights issues, but he was never able to prove this allegation. Dancer's Image had originally been named for Fuller's father, Alvan T. Fuller. At stud, Dancer's Image got the good European-based sprinters Godswalk, Lianga and Saritamer during his globe-trotting stud career.
Today is the birthday of a horse who was a champion, yet is best known for a race he lost under highly unusual circumstances. He definitely racked up the frequent flyer miles as he raced in Canada and the United States before standing in Maryland, Ireland, France and Japan. Fortunately for him, he is not known by his original registered name of "Alvan T." Who is he, and what is the race he is remembered for losing?
Afleet Alex's special legacy
Afleet Alex's racing days are well behind him. Now a middle-aged stallion at Gainesway Farm near Lexington, he commands a relatively modest $12,500 stud fee. He has sired some good horses, but none that could have warmed their "old man" up during his 3-year-old season, when he was the champion of his division in America. At this point, his chances of making a major impact on his breed seem slim. But he has already made a greater impact elsewhere than most horses ever will, one played out in the lives of thousands of children with cancer.
It all started when 4-year-old Alexandra Scott got the idea to open a lemonade stand near her home in Connecticut. She'd been battling a cancer identified as neuroblastoma since she was a year old, and she wanted to do something to raise money for cancer research. That first stand ended up raising $2,000, and others began getting involved. More stands were opened and thousands more dollars were raised. Alex Scott kept fighting, and in 2004 she went public with her wish to have raised at least $1 million for cancer research by the end of that year.
One of the people who read about Alex Scott's goal was Chuck Zacney, who co-owned then 2-year-old Afleet Alex as a partner in Cash Is King Stable. Touched by the little girl's bravery and generous spirit, he started making anonymous donations to Alex's Lemonade Stand from the colt's earnings to help Alex meet her million-dollar goal. Alex Scott died in August 2004, but by December 31 of that year, Alex's Lemonade Stand had raised a total of $1.5 million.
Zacney wanted to keep helping, and he thought that because of Afleet Alex's name, a charity campaign tied to the colt could bring continued publicity to Alex's Lemonade Stand. So he contacted Alex's parents, Liz and Jay Scott, and got their blessing to publicize the fact that a portion of Afleet Alex's earnings were going to support Alex's Lemonade Stand. The equine Alex turned out to be a pretty good racehorse -- in fact, he was a finalist for the Eclipse Award as the champion 2-year-old male -- and his feats helped keep Alex's Lemonade Stand in the public eye.
Then 2005 rolled in, and Afleet Alex kept rolling. After a big win in the Arkansas Derby, he was going to the Kentucky Derby as a horse with a real chance. So was Alex's Lemonade Stand, courtesy of Churchill Downs management. Liz Scott and Chuck Zacney had to jump through a lot of hoops to make it happen, but on Derby Day, there was Alex's Lemonade Stand in the Churchill Downs infield.
What happened next was pure magic of the kind Walt Disney would have heartily approved. Television journalists covering the Derby found the story connecting Afleet Alex and Alex's Lemonade Stand absolutely irresistible and gave it extensive coverage. Even though the colt ended up third, Alex's Lemonade Stand had become the feel-good story of the spring. The publicity brought in more donations, more volunteers wanting to help, and more corporate sponsorship. When Afleet Alex headed to the Preakness Stakes, Alex's Lemonade Stand went with him, setting up a stand in the Pimlico infield.
Even Disney couldn't have scripted what Afleet Alex did that day. Nearly brought to his knees when Scrappy T veered into him at the top of the stretch, Afleet Alex literally picked himself up off the dirt to win drawing away. Combined with the publicity he'd already generated, the sensational race helped male Alex's Lemonade Stand a household word. Afleet Alex's powerful victory in the Belmont Stakes three weeks later -- with Alex's Lemonade Stand once again selling lemonade on the track grounds -- added icing to the cake. Afleex Alex never raced again, but the tremendous boost provided to Alex's Lemonade Stand by the colt's Triple Crown campaign kept snowballing. In 2005, Alex's Lemonade Stand ended up raising $4 million.
The story doesn't stop there. Building on the solid foundation provided by Chuck Zacney's generosity (which earned Cash Is King Stable a special Eclipse Award in 2005), Alex's Lemonade Stand has continued its work. FOX Sports reports that as of April 2015, Alex's Lemonade Stand has raised over $100 million to fund cancer research at over 100 North American hospitals and research institutions.
Afleet Alex may someday be forgotten as a sire and even as a racehorse. But for the thousands of children benefiting from the research generated by Alex's Lemonade Stand, his legacy lives on.
Once again, Elaina has it. Sadler's Wells secured freshman sire and juvenile sire honors in England in 1988 when his sons Scenic and Prince of Dance dead-heated for the Dewhurst Stakes (ENG-I). The great sire went on to secure a record 14 titles on the English/Irish general sire list.
Frosted Ices the Wood
Over the last several months, two Frosteds have appeared on the track: the colt who looked like a sure winner moving into the stretch in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (USA-II) and the colt who completely and inexplicably collapsed in the final sixteenth of the same race. On April 4, Frosted #1 reappeared. His performance was workmanlike rather than spectacular, but it was more than enough to put the son of Tapit squarely back in the Kentucky Derby (USA-I) picture.
With the defection of Far From Over due to injury, this was not a particularly strong field for the Wood. El Kabeir was always suspect at the distance, and Daredevil, like Frosted, had questions to answer. Nonetheless, Frosted deserves some credit. While the early pace was slow, Frosted was wide on both turns and still had enough left to finish well under a hand ride. (El Kabeir also ran on well but mostly passed tired horses and never looked like threatening the top pair.)
The question now is which Frosted will show up for the Kentucky Derby and whether he is continuing to develop or has simply returned to his previous top form. A Frosted whose best form is what we have already seen probably will not be quite good enough, but a Frosted who is continuing to mature could be dangerous if his physical woes are behind him. He is not a colt that can produce a devastating turn of foot, but his ability to deliver a long, sustained drive can be quite an asset down the long Churchill Downs stretch. On pedigree, he seems as likely as any colt in the field to be able to get the trip, so he looks like a live contender. We'll know in four weeks whether he is more than that.
I'm Avalyn Hunter, an author, pedigree researcher and longtime racing fan.