Derby Contenders

Prep Race History

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Date Race Grade Distance Finish Chart Replay
May 5 2012 138th Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands Churchill Downs I 1 1/4 4 REPLAY
Mar 24 2012 Vinery Racing Spiral Turfway Park III 1 1/8 Miles (S) 1 REPLAY


H. Graham Motion


Graham captured the 137th Kentucky Derby with Team Valor's Animal Kingdom who would also go on to run second in the Preakness Stakes. Motion, a native of Cambridge, England, moved to the United States at age 16 with his father who was a United States representative for the British sales company Tattersalls. He worked for Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard before taking out his own trainer's license and has saddled over 1,000 winners. Other stable stars include Better Talk Now winner of the 2004 Breeder's Cup Turf, who raced past the age of ten and earned over 4 million dollars and Shared Account who upset the 2010 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Churchill Downs. Bullsbay and Film Maker were two of the conditioner's first Grade 1 winners.

John Velazquez


John Velazquez has ridden in thirteen editions of the Kentucky Derby and won the 2011 Kentucky Derby aboard Animal Kingdom. He won the 2004 Kentucky Oaks with Ashado. John was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011 and was twice awarded the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Jockey. He is a two time Belmont Stakes winner and has ridden 10 horses to victory in the Breeders' Cup. Other notable mounts include: Uncle Mo, Da Hoss, Lemon Drop Kid, Lawyer Ron, and Rags to Riches.

Team Valor International


Team Valor International earned their first Kentucky Derby victory in 2011 with homebred Animal Kingdom who would go on to finish second in the Preakness Stakes. Team Valor International is a syndicate race horse ownership group under the leadership of Barry Irwin. They have started 4 horses in the Kentucky Derby, prior to Animal Kingdom's win, their top finisher was Captain Bodgit who ran second in 1997. Other Team Valor stars include The Deputy, Star of Cozzene, Gitano Hernando, Cashier’s Dream, Unbridled Belle, Pluck, Daveron, Summer Soiree and Visionaire.

  • Photo: Reed Palmer Photography/Churchill Downs

  • Photo: Patrick Lang Photography


Proud Citizen--Tiz Maie's Day, by Tiznow

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Bolstered by a hefty dose of stamina from his dam, Went the Day Well is entitled to stay the Derby trip.

His sire, Proud Citizen, was runner-up in the 2002 Kentucky Derby and third next time out in the Preakness. His three career wins all came over shorter trips, though, most notably the Lexington going 1 1/16 miles.

Yet another successful stallion from the male line of Mr. Prospector, Proud Citizen has sired champion filly Proud Spell, heroine of the 2008 Kentucky Oaks who lasted 1 1/4 miles in the prestigious Alabama Stakes at Saratoga; current Kentucky Oaks hopeful Believe You Can; Chilean champion filly Vamo a Galupiar, now a Grade 2 winner on turf in Southern California; such Grade/Group 3 winners as Motovato, It Happened Again and River Proud; and Derby candidate Mark Valeski, who has missed narrowly in the Louisiana Derby and Risen Star.

Went the Day Well is the first foal produced by Tiz Maie's Day, an unraced daughter of Tiznow. Part of the renaissance of the male line descending from the legendary Man o' War, Hall of Famer Tiznow is still the only two-time winner of the Breeders' Cup Classic. He also captured two other major 1 1/4-mile stakes, the Santa Anita Handicap and the Super Derby in track-record time at Louisiana Downs.

Since Tiznow was at his best over the American classic distance, some of his leading progeny have likewise excelled at, or even beyond, 1 1/4 miles. Colonel John garnered the Travers, Well Armed romped in the Dubai World Cup by a record 14 lengths, and Da' Tara famously shocked the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes. Tiznow has also sired top winners over more common trips, including Tizway, hero of the Metropolitan Handicap and Whitney Handicap; another Whitney winner in Bullsbay; champion two-year-old filly Folklore; Canadian champion older mare Bear Now; multiple Grade 1 queen Tough Tiz's Sis; Morning Line; and current Derby contender Gemologist.

Tiznow's oldest offspring are just nine this year, so he's barely begun to factor as a broodmare sire. His daughters have so far produced a trio of stakes winners, but Went the Day Well is by far the best.

Tiz Maie's Day is out of Sweet Roberta, winner of the 1989 Selima Stakes and runner-up in that year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Sweet Roberta is also the dam of Jah, who scored her signature win in a 1 3/8-mile stakes on the turf at Del Mar, and Sweet Breanna, runner-up in a pair of Canadian fillies' classics. Interestingly, Tiz Maie's Day is bred on the same cross as Jah, suggesting that she could have a similar stamina range.

Sweet Roberta is the granddam of three stakes winners, among them Duke of Venice, who romped in the about two-mile Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot. Sweet Roberta is transmitting the staying capacity of her sire Roberto, hero of the 1972 Epsom Derby, and her dam's sire, multiple Grade 1 victor Majestic Light.

This is the family of Grade 1-winning sire Cure the Blues, and further back, 1973 Triple Crown legend Secretariat. Went the Day Well's fifth dam, in the direct maternal line, is Speedwell, a three-quarter sister to Secretariat.

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