Derby Contenders

Prep Race History

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Date Race Grade Distance Finish Chart Replay
Mar 23 2013 Spiral Turfway Park III 1 1/8 M 1 REPLAY

Connections

Kelly Breen

Trainer

Growing up in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Kelly aspired to be a jockey as a teenager, but grew too tall and became an exercise rider. Breen opened his stable in 2000 and was the leading trainer at Monmouth Park in 2005 and 2006. His first Kentucky Derby appearance was 2009, saddling West Side Bernie (9th) and Atomic Rain (16th). He won the 2011 Belmont Stakes with Ruler on Ice. Top trainees for Breen include: Keeneland Kat, Truth and Justice, Bold Union, Raising Timber, Marauder Nation, and In the Rough.

Joe Bravo

Jockey

Nicknamed "Jersey Joe," Joe Bravo was born not far from Monmouth Park in Long Branch, New Jersey, and the 37-year-old rider has been a mainstay on the Jersey circuit, compiling 13 jockey titles at Monmouth Park and nine at the Meadowlands. A third-generation journeyman, Joe followed the same path of his grandfather Bartolo and father George. He rode his first Thoroughbred race in 1988 and garnered his 4,000th career victory in 2007. Joe also rides in Florida and New York in the winter, and he'll accompany Jersey-based horses to Saratoga during its prestigious summer meet. Joe's first Grade 1 winner was Formal Gold in 1997.

Sterling Racing

Owner

Sam Herzberg races under the banner Sterling Stables. He is involved in real estate in Miami Beach and had been a horse owner in the 1970's and 1980's before taking a hiatus from the business. He decided to get back in race horse ownership just recently and Black Onyx was the first horse he purchased.

Pedigree

Black Onyx likely inherits sufficient stamina from his sire Rock Hard Ten, who didn't have the graded earnings to make the 2004 Kentucky Derby field.

Rock Hard Ten waited for the Preakness, where he was a distant runner-up to Smarty Jones, and then wound up fifth in the Belmont. The strapping dark bay bounced back with an impressive victory in the Swaps, and at the end of the season, took the Malibu over a horse who would become famous -- Lava Man.

At his best at the age of four, Rock Hard Ten won all three starts in 2005, highlighted by the historic Santa Anita Handicap.

Rock Hard Ten's leading offspring have all excelled on turf, such as 2011 American Oaks heroine Nereid, Doubles Partner, Capital Plan, Lady Ten and Utopian. Late last year, Rock Hard Ten was exported to Korea, but after his stud career is over, he will reportedly be repatriated to the United States.

Black Onyx is a half-brother to stakes performers Quality Council, who was third in the 2010 Nashua, and Francois, winner of a minor stakes at Arlington Park last August.

Their dam, the winning Kalahari Cat, is by Cape Town, who earned his signature win in the 1998 Florida Derby. Cape Town has sired champion Bird Town, heroine of the 2003 Kentucky Oaks and Acorn, and he also appears as the broodmare sire of 2011 Louisiana Derby winner Pants on Fire.

Kalahari Cat is a half-sister to stakes winner and Grade 3-placed Desert Gold, the dam of unbeaten English champion White Moonstone.

This is the family of Desert Stormer, who defeated males in the 1995 Breeders' Cup Sprint; last year's Matriarch victress Better Lucky; and Music Chart, third in both the U.A.E. One Thousand Guineas and U.A.E. Oaks at the recently-concluded Dubai Carnival.

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