Trojan Nation, a homebred racing for Dr. Aaron Sones and Julie Gilbert, was born and raised at Winchester Farm near Lexington, Kentucky.
A near-upsetter of the Wood Memorial (G1) as an 81-1 maiden, Trojan Nation is no longshot in the pedigree department. He’s by the late, great Street Cry – the sire of Zenyatta, who was just elected to the Hall of Fame, and Street Sense, the only horse so far to turn the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1)/Kentucky Derby (G1) double.
Trojan Nation is out of champion Storm Song, who earned an Eclipse Award after taking the 1996 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). Sones purchased Storm Song when she was a 15-year-old broodmare at the 2009 Keeneland November Sale. At that point, Storm Song hadn’t produced any notable runners from a broodmare career spanning England, Japan, and the US, and she was not in foal. Sones was able to snap her up for just $100,000 – a mere fraction of the $1.4 million Storm Song had commanded at the same venue back in 1997.
Befitting his bloodlines, Trojan Nation was a striking baby, as Winchester Farm’s co-owner Marie Yoshida explained.
“He was a big, beautiful colt as a newborn with a strong personality. He developed his ‘Roman nose’ as a yearling.
“He always looked like a tough warrior, not at all ‘pretty’ or ‘delicate.’”
Storm Song remains a “Queen, also with a strong personality and beautiful conformation.”
The same spring that Trojan Nation was born, another Winchester-raised colt, Frac Daddy, was runner-up in the Arkansas Derby (G1) before competing in the Kentucky Derby.
As his name implies, Trojan Nation is indeed named in honor of the University of Southern California and its loyal fan base. According to reports in the Courier-Journal and Blood-Horse, that’s a tip of the cap to Gilbert’s late father, as well as a reflection of their own rooting interests. But interestingly, Sones and Gilbert’s academic backgrounds come from elsewhere in the Golden State. Sones earned his medical degree from UCLA after a BA from UC Davis, while Gilbert got her BA from UCLA and her law degree from UC Davis.
Aside from the USC Trojan angle, the reference to Troy also picks up on an important element of his sire Street Cry’s pedigree. Street Cry is out of 1985 Irish Oaks (G1) heroine Helen Street, an aptly named daughter of Troy and Waterway. Troy was a smashing winner of the 200th running of the Epsom Derby (G1) in 1976.
Photos courtesy of Kara McDermott/Winchester Farm