Tales from the Crib

Follow the Road to the Roses all the way back to the barn, with Kellie Reilly
Mandaloun head shot (Coady Photography)
Tales from the Crib: Mandaloun

Unfortunate to finish second in the 2003 Kentucky Derby (G1) with favored Empire Maker, internationally acclaimed Juddmonte Farms tries again with a grandson of his, Mandaloun. Only this time, the team returns mourning the loss of Juddmonte’s founder, Prince…

Apr 30, 2021

Helium as a foal (Shawhan Place)
Tales from the Crib: Helium

If Helium can extend his perfect record in the Kentucky Derby (G1), he would represent the pinnacle of achievement for Bernardo Alvarez Calderon’s Teneri Farm. Sadly, the Peruvian horseman passed away last August, and his family now carries on the legacy of…

Apr 28, 2021

Medina Spirit as a foal in Florida (Gail Rice photo)
Tales from the Crib: Medina Spirit

A newborn who needed help, a $1,000 yearling whose small breeder had to sell, a cheap recruit for a hardscrabble talent scout, a juvenile purchase inspired by friendship – Medina Spirit’s story is ready-made for cinema. And that’s even before his improbable…

Apr 28, 2021

Highly Motivated as a weanling (Lane's End photo)
Tales from the Crib: Highly Motivated

“Must have.” Those words, jotted down and encircled for emphasis on a catalog page, summed up the verdict of bloodstock adviser extraordinaire Mike Ryan after his inspection of Highly Motivated as a weanling. Offered as part of the Lane’s End consignment…

Apr 28, 2021

Like the King as a foal (Sparks View Farm)
Tales from the Crib: Like the King

“Babysitter” isn’t normally the kind of experience listed on the resume of a Kentucky Derby (G1) contender, but that was the reason why Like the King was purchased as a weanling. Like the King was bred by Roddy and Perry Harrison’s Horseshoe Racing. The small-scale…

Apr 27, 2021

Midnight Bourbon as a foal (Stonestreet Farm)
Tales from the Crib: Midnight Bourbon

Handsome is as handsome does, as the saying goes. But Midnight Bourbon often runs up to his movie-star good looks. The striking son of Hall of Famer Tiznow was bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, Barbara Banke’s farm that is also responsible for three…

Apr 26, 2021

Rock Your World as a Keeneland September yearling (Photos by Z/Keeneland)
Tales from the Crib: Rock Your World

Ron McAnally will be remembered forever for training the legendary John Henry, the rags-to-riches gelding with an indomitable character, and fellow Hall of Famers Bayakoa and Paseana. But now at the age of 88, the horseman has a chance of adding an extraordinary…

Apr 26, 2021

Sainthood as a newly turned yearling (Kelcey Loges/Taylor Made)
Tales from the Crib: Sainthood

While Taylor Made Sales Agency has a trio of graduates in the 147th Kentucky Derby (G1), Sainthood has the deepest ties to the family firm. Like Arkansas Derby (G1) winner Super Stock and Tampa Bay Derby (G2) hero Helium, Sainthood was sold as part of the Taylor…

Apr 24, 2021

Known Agenda as a foal (Lane's End)
Tales from the Crib: Known Agenda

It’s a truism that racehorses are born to run, but St. Elias Stable’s homebred Known Agenda expressed that idea literally. The son of Hall of Famer Curlin and Grade 1 queen Byrama took the run-around-mom play to a whole new level at his childhood home, Lane’s…

Apr 24, 2021

Super Stock as a Keeneland September yearling (Taylor Made)
Tales from the Crib: Super Stock

Super Stock’s success is a heartwarming story of family – for his current connections, the renowned Asmussens, as well as for his breeders, Pedro Gonzalez and grandson P.J. Pedro Gonzalez, a Cuban-American who came to the United States at the age of 10,…

Apr 22, 2021

Hot Rod Charlie as a foal (Hermitage Farm)
Tales from the Crib: Hot Rod Charlie

When Hot Rod Charlie ventures to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby (G1), he won’t be too far from his historic birthplace. Hot Rod Charlie hails from Hermitage Farm in Goshen, just northeast of Louisville. Tracing back to a land grant from the Revolutionary…

Apr 15, 2021

Bourbonic after his Wood Memorial upset (Chelsea Durand/Coglianese Photos/NYRA)
Tales from the Crib: Bourbonic

In both name and background, Bourbonic represents Kentucky icons long intertwined with the Run for the Roses. A homebred for legendary Calumet Farm – the top owner/breeder in Kentucky Derby (G1) history – Bourbonic is a natural hunch play for fans imbibing…

Apr 8, 2021

Greatest Honour in the field as a foal (Lane's End)
Tales from the Crib: Greatest Honour

Given Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey’s methodology, you’d expect Greatest Honour to be a case study in the virtue of patience. And so it is – but with a rather different twist. Greatest Honour is here because of the determination of Courtlandt Farm’s Donald…

Mar 23, 2021

Concert Tour as a foal (Sarah Munoz/Dell Ridge Farm)
Tales from the Crib: Concert Tour

When Gary and Mary West’s homebred Concert Tour delivered a tour de force performance in the March 13 Rebel S. (G2) at Oaklawn Park, he elicited quite a comment from trainer Bob Baffert.“To me, it was kind of an American Pharoah-type run,” the Hall of Famer…

Mar 19, 2021

Life Is Good as a foal (Sarah Munoz/Dell Ridge Farm)
Tales from the Crib: Life Is Good

When early Kentucky Derby (G1) favorite Life Is Good extended his unbeaten record to 3-for-3 in the March 6 San Felipe (G2), the manner of his victory became a hot topic of conversation.  His imperious eight-length romp, in good time, underscored the idea…

Mar 11, 2021

Essential Quality as a newborn (Godolphin photo)
Tales from the Crib: Essential Quality

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum’s decades-long quest for the Kentucky Derby (G1) could reach fruition in 2021. His globally renowned Godolphin operation has more than just promising prospects on the trail. Leading the charge of Godolphin homebreds is…

Feb 25, 2021

Max Player as a yearling (Keeneland/Photos by Z)
Tales from the Crib: Max Player

Nine years after co-owner George Hall celebrated a 24-1 upset of the 2011 Belmont (G1) with Ruler on Ice, his homebred Max Player hopes to spring a surprise of his own in the Kentucky Derby (G1). Max Player’s dam, Fools in Love, was a stablemate of Ruler on…

Sep 3, 2020

Major Fed as a foal (Upson Downs Farm)
Tales from the Crib: Major Fed

The hometown hope in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby (G1), Major Fed is an Oldham County native like his veteran Louisville trainer, Greg Foley.Unlike the other Kentucky-breds raised in the Bluegrass region around Lexington, Major Fed was born and raised near Goshen,…

Sep 3, 2020

Finnick the Fierce as a foal (Blu-Sky Stables)
Tales from the Crib: Finnick the Fierce

If you’re looking for the tug-at-the-heartstrings contender to root for in the 2020 Kentucky Derby (G1), one-eyed Finnick the Fierce qualifies on multiple levels. His dam came from a racehorse adoption facility, and he lost his right eye as a baby due to…

Aug 31, 2020

Enforceable head shot (Coady Photography)
Tales from the Crib: Enforceable

“She is the gift that keeps on giving to us.”Rightly does Bernard Cleary, owner of Clearsky Farms, describe the routine excellence of broodmare Justwhistledixie. Not only are her first five foals all winners, but four are graded stakes victors, and three have…

Aug 30, 2020