Must Know Facts for the Derby 145 Contenders

May 03, 2019 Danielle Henson

Tacitus — Trained by Bill Mott

By Tapit, Out of Close Hatches (First Defence) 

  • Winner of the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and Wood Memorial (G2)
  • Tacitus is the name of an Ancient Roman historian who lived between 56-120 AD. He was famous for writing the Annals and the Histories.
  • He is one of three gray horses entered in the Kentucky Derby this year, the others being Gray Magician and Roadster. Only eight gray horses have ever won the Kentucky Derby: Determine (1954); Decidedly (1962); Spectacular Bid (1979); Gato Del Sol (1982); Winning Colors (1988); Silver Charm (1997); Monarchos (2001); and Giacomo (2005).

Vekoma — Trained by George Weaver
By Candy Ride, Out of Moma de Momma (Speightstown)
  • Winner of the Blue Grass Stakes (G2) 
  • Vekoma is the name of a Dutch-owned rollercoaster manufacturing company.
  • He was once a paddock buddy of fellow Kentucky Derby (G1) hopeful Code of Honor at Lane’s End.

Plus Que Parfait — Trained by Brendan Walsh
By Point of Entry, Out of Belvedere (Awesome Again)
  • Winner of the UAE Derby (Group 1)
  • “Plus Que Parfait” means “more than perfect” in French.
  • He is the third horse his breeders, Tyler Alexander and Clint Joiner, have bred at their fledgling operation Calloway Stables, LLC. Talk about some good luck!

Roadster — Trained by Bob Baffert
By Quality Road, Out of Ghost Dancing (Silver Ghost)
  • Winner of the Santa Anita Derby (G1)
  • With a sire named Quality Road and an ownership group called Speedway Stables, it’s clear that these folks really love racing.
  • Roadster and jockey, Florent Geroux, will be starting from post position 17. No horse in 40 years has ever won the race from this slot! Could Roaster be the one? 

By My Standards — Trained by Bret Calhoun
By Goldenscents, Out of A Jealous Woman (Muqtarib)
  • Winner of the Louisiana Derby (G2)
  • His owner, Chester Thomas, is from Greenville, KY and is a two-time leading owner at fellow Kentucky racetrack, Ellis Park. 
  • He was a maiden (a horse that has yet to win a race) up until his big win in the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, LA. 

Maximum Security — Trained by Jason Servis
By New Years Day, Out of Lil Indy (Anasheed)
  • Winner of the Florida Derby (G1), undefeated in last four starts.
  • Considered a “wise-guy-horse” or a horse who is bet on by those who have been watching him work every day leading up to the big race.
  • His trainer, Jason Servis, is the brother of trainer John Servis who has the filly named Jaywalk in the Kentucky Oaks!

Game Winner — Trained by Bob Baffert

By Candy Ride, Out of Indyan Giving (A.P. Indy)
  • Winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), second in the Santa Anita Derby (G1)
  • Game Winner was born at Summer Wind Farm, home to a special mare by the name of Lilprincessemma. She is the mother of American Pharoah! 
  • His original name was “Honorarium” but was switched to “Game Winner” after being purchased at the Keeneland September Sale. 

Code of Honor — Trained by Shug McGaughey
By Noble Mission, Out of Reunited (Dixie Union)
  • Winner of the Fountain of Youth (G2), third in the Florida Derby (G1)
  • He is owned by William S. Farish, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom and owner of Lane’s End Farm. 
  • His sire, Noble Mission, is a half-brother to the famous Frankel who won 14 out of 14 starts in his career. Perhaps these winning genes will be passed down to Code of Honor.

Improbable — Trained by Bob Baffert
By City Zip, Out of Rare Event (A.P. Indy)
  • Second in the Rebel Stakes (G2) and second in the Arkansas Derby (G1)
  • His name is linked to his dam’s name: Rare Event. Get it?
  • He was born as a “dummy foal” which means that he was not an active, thriving foal at birth mostly due to oxygen deprivation during the birthing process. After being transported to a veterinary hospital immediately, he recovered and came home soon after. 

War of Will — Trained by Mark Casse
By War Front, Out of Visions of Clarity (Sadler’s Wells)
  • Winner of the Lecomte (G3) and Risen Star (G2)
  • His name comes from his sire, War Front. His nickname in the Casse barn is “WOW”
  • War of Will has been known as a very good natured horse since he was a foal. 

Long Range Toddy — Trained by Steve Asmussen 
By Take Charge Indy, Out of Pleasant Song (Unbridled’s Song)
  • Winner of the Rebel Stakes (G2)
  • Known around his barn as an easy-going guy! Long Range Toddy often displays a calm demeanor.
  • His jockey, Jon Court, will become the oldest jockey to run in the Kentucky Derby at the age of 58. The record was previously held by Bill Shoemaker who rode in (and won) the Kentucky Derby aboard Ferdinand in 1986 at the age of 54.

Tax — Trained by Dan Gargan
By Arch, Out of Toll (Giant’s Causeway)
  • Winner of the Withers (G3), second in the Wood Memorial (G2)
  • Began his racing career in the claiming ranks and was entered into a $50,000 claimer at Keeneland. Five trainer filed claim slips for him and after a random draw, Dan Gargan was the lucky one who purchased him.
  • Tax was born at Claiborne Farm where fellow Derby contender, Cutting Humor, was also born!

Cutting Humor — Trained by Todd Pletcher
By First Samurai, Out of Pun (Pulpit)
  • Winner of the Arkansas Derby (G1) and Rebel Stakes (G2)
  • His name is a good play on both of his parent’s names. “Cutting” coming from his sire, First Samurai. “Humor” lended from his dam, Pun.
  • He will be ridden by jockey, Corey Lanerie, who is a Churchill Downs jockey colony regular. 

Win Win Win — Trained by Mike Trombetta
By Hat Trick, Out of Miss Smarty Pants (Smarty Jones)
  • Second in the Blue Grass Stakes (G2), third in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2)
  • Known as “Winnie” or “Win” at the barn.
  • Win Win Win is the only Florida bred horse running in the Kentucky Derby this year. There have been six other Florida born Derby winners: Silver Charm 1997, Unbridled 1990, Affirmed 1978, Foolish Pleasure 1975, Carry Back 1961, and Needles 1956.

Country House — Trained by Bill Mott
By Lookin At Lucky, Out of Quake Lake (War Chant)
  • Third in the Arkansas Derby (G1), second in the Risen Star (G2)
  • Was raised by a nurse mare after birth and his breeder’s considered him a great racing prospect from the start.
  • His sire, Lookin At Lucky, was the post-time favorite of the 2010 Kentucky Derby. 

Gray Magician — Trained by Peter Miller
By Graydar, Out of Berg Burg (Johannesburg)
  • Second in the UAE Derby (Group 1)
  • His name is likely a play on his sire’s name, Graydar. As a gray horse himself, Gray Magician does look pretty magical in person.
  • Gray Magician is a mostly West Coast based horse, having run most of his early races at Santa Anita and Del Mar. The UAE was his first and only international race!

Spinoff — Trained by Todd Pletcher
By Hard Spun, Out of Zaftig (Gone West)
  • Second in the Louisiana Derby (G2)
  • HIs name is a play on his sire’s name, Hard Spun. As his progeny (child) he is a good spin off.
  • His sire, Hard Spun, ran second in the 2007 Kentucky Derby and later went on finish in the top five of the Preakness Stakes (G1) and Belmont Stakes (G1)

Master Fencer (JPN) — Trained by Koichi Tsunoda
By Just A Way, Out of Sexy Samurai (Deputy Minister)
  • Fourth in the Hyacinth Stakes, Second in the Fukuryu Stakes
  • His owner, Katsumi Yoshizawa, has worked in the Japanese racing industry since he was in college. He now owns three training facilities in Japan.
  • First Japanese-bred to run in the Kentucky Derby. His pedigree goes back to Sunday Silence, who famously went to Japan to stand at stud and became the top Japanese sire for many years.

Bodexpress — Trained by Gustavo Delgado
By Bodemeister, Out of Pied A Terre (City Zip)
  • Third in the Florida Derby (G1)
  • Became eligible for the Kentucky Derby after early favorite Omaha Beach scratched due to an enclosed epiglottis.
  • Bodexpress is a maiden, which means that if he wins the Kentucky Derby he will win his first career race.
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