Skip Away was a $30,000 bargain for trainer Sonny Hines, who purchased the colt from the February 1995 Ocala Breeders' Sale of 2-year-olds in training as a birthday present for his wife Carolyn. When examination revealed a chip in the colt's knee, Skip Away's breeder, Anna Marie Barnhardt, refunded $7,500 of the purchase price to cover the cost of surgery to remove the chip. Skip Away never had the surgery, but the chip never seemed to bother him. He won 10 Grade I races, earned US$9,616,360, and was an American champion for three consecutive years, culminating in Horse of the Year honors in 1998.
This top runner just might have been the best birthday present ever. He cost his owner's husband a net $22,500 and ended up winning 10 Grade I races. Name him.
Mariasmon has the answer I was looking for. Prudery, who finished third in the 1921 Kentucky Derby, was the last filly to win, place or show in the race until Genuine Risk took the roses in 1980. Madelyn is right, though---Nellie Flag was the last filly to get a piece of the Derby purse until Genuine Risk. Well done, both of you!
This high-class filly was the last of her sex to finish in the money in the Kentucky Derby until Genuine Risk won the race in 1980. Name her.
Joanna has it. As a publicity stunt, Dr. Fager was issued a speeding ticket by the Marion County Sheriff's Department while being transported to Tartan Farms following his retirement.
There have been some fast horses in American racing history, but only one champion in the Library has picked up a speeding ticket from the police. Name him.
TJ is right that Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack both rode in two attempts at the Triple Crown. Arcaro won both of his, finishing first aboard Whirlaway and Citation in 1941 and 1948, respectively. Hartack lost both of his, finishing third with Northern Dancer in 1964 and second with Majestic Prince in 1969. These are the two men I was thinking of.
If anyone alert has said to himself (or herself), "Wait, wasn't there someone else?", you're right. Kent Desormeaux rode two Derby/Preakness winners in the Belmont. The first time, he was second aboard Real Quiet in 1998. Then after Victor Espinoza made his first attempt at the Triple Crown with War Emblem in 2002, Desormeaux rode Big Brown, who officially failed to finish the 2008 Belmont. So there are three jockeys other than Espinoza, not two, who rode at least two Derby/Preakness winners in the Belmont. Mea culpa!
Racing is still feeling the euphoria from American Pharoah's sweep of the Triple Crown on Saturday. There's no reason not to enjoy the moment. Nonetheless, Pharoah's time in the limelight will be short. Even if he remains healthy and continues to sweep all before him, the chances are that the 2015 Breeders' Cup Classic will be his swan song. After that, he will be off to stud and racing will be dealing with the same problems it had before.
As magnificent as American Pharoah is, he can't fix a fragmented leadership that still struggles to develop a coherent nationwide policy regarding medication use. He can't fix track owners whose failure to market their product to new customers and to take care of existing customers is cutting into fan base. He can't fix high-profile owners (not just his own) who justly or unjustly attract negative public opinion for perceived lack of integrity, questionable business practices or shady associations. And he can't fix the animal welfare issues that pop up every time a horse breaks down or is perceived as being mistreated in some way.
All of these problems are not going away. If anything, the need for action is even greater following American Pharoah's sweep, so that new fans and potential owners attracted to the sport by his excellence are not almost immediately turned off and lost. There are no quick fixes to any of these issues, but they must be addressed and addressed consistently and persistently, or racing may lose more than it gains from the glow it is enjoying now.
Will the naysayers please step forward?
You know who you are. The ones who called American Pharoah the "best of a bad lot" after a hard-working score in unspectacular time in the Kentucky Derby. The ones who called him "lucky" after a front-running romp in the Preakness slop, figuring that the colt's chief rivals were taken out of their game by the mud. The ones who said the Triple Crown was too tough and needed to be changed. The ones who said the horses weren't tough enough to ever complete the sweep again.
It's time to admit you were wrong. On a fast track, with no excuses for anyone, American Pharoah demolished his field and the Triple Crown drought. Yes, he had things his own way---but that's because he was good enough to force everyone else to play his game. Yes, he didn't run that fast in the Derby and Preakness, but he ran fast when he needed to, fast enough to hang up the second-fastest winning time ever for a Triple Crown champion.
American Pharoah hasn't solved racing's problems; that's far too big a task for any horse. But for a magical moment at Belmont, he reminded people of everything that can be right about racing: speed and power, dreams and beauty. He's a champion. He's all class, regardless of whether you like his connections or hate them. And he's now American racing's 12th Triple Crown winner.
Tomorrow, Victor Espinoza will be the only jockey in American racing history to ride in three editions of the Belmont Stakes with the Triple Crown on the line. Only two others have done so twice. Who were they, who were their mounts and what were the results?
I'm Avalyn Hunter, an author, pedigree researcher and longtime racing fan.