Tales from the Crib

Follow the Road to the Roses all the way back to the barn, with Kellie Reilly
Lord Miles as a foal with Lady Esme (Photo by Hartwell Farm)
Tales from the Crib: Lord Miles

As a homebred for Peter Vegso, best known as the publisher who launched the inspirational Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Lord Miles ought to have a heartwarming story. And he does!  His ancestress in the direct female line was born with no eyes; yet with…

Apr 30, 2023

Angel of Empire as a newborn (Photo by Brianna Clark)
Tales from the Crib: Angel of Empire

It’s fitting that Black Diamond Equine Corp. is listed as co-breeder of Angel of Empire, since the colt started out as a diamond in the rough in Pennsylvania coal country. Failing to sell as a Keeneland weanling, yet hinting of potential, he has now matured…

Apr 28, 2023

Derma Sotogake as a foal (Photo by Shadai Farm)
Tales from the Crib: Derma Sotogake

With special thanks to Shadai Farm's Tsubasa Sato for obtaining comments and photosThe powerhouse of Shadai recently won the first jewel of Japan’s Triple Crown with exciting homebred Sol Oriens, an unbeaten colt who has all the qualities to complete the classic…

Apr 24, 2023

Kingsbarns as a newborn (Photo by Sive Doyle)
Tales from the Crib: Kingsbarns

It’s well known that the sire of Kingsbarns, brilliant champion Uncle Mo, was scratched from the Kentucky Derby (G1) due to illness in 2011. But the dam (mother) of Kingsbarns, Lady Tapit, was herself highly regarded. A rare filly to be nominated to the Triple…

Apr 22, 2023

Tapit Trice as a newborn (Photo courtesy of Gainesway Farm)
Tales from the Crib: Tapit Trice

North America’s all-time top sire by progeny earnings, Tapit has sired such champions as Horse of the Year Flightline and two-time Eclipse Award winner Essential Quality. But the venerable stallion is still looking for his first Kentucky Derby (G1) winner.  It…

Apr 17, 2023

Confidence Game as a foal (Photo copyright Michele MacDonald)
Tales from the Crib: Confidence Game

With special thanks to Michele MacDonald for sharing insights and photos from Summer WindIn the November twilight at Churchill Downs, Hall of Famer Zenyatta’s furious late rally came up a head short in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) of 2010. Fast forward to…

Mar 30, 2023

Practical Move as a foal (Photo by Lindsay Kloster/Dell Ridge Farm)
Tales from the Crib: Practical Move

When young horseman Chad Brown was working for the late Hall of Famer Bobby Frankel at old Hollywood Park, one of the horses in his care was a filly named Dash for Money. In that spring of 2003, few could have imagined that their connection would eventually…

Mar 20, 2023

Instant Coffee at birth (Photo by Upson Downs Farm)
Tales from the Crib: Instant Coffee

The 1953 Kentucky Derby produced one of the greatest upsets in history, as Sagamore Farm’s legendary Native Dancer suffered his only loss, by a head to Dark Star. Seventy years later, another colt with a Sagamore connection will try to earn the roses – Instant…

Mar 15, 2023

Hit Show as a weanling (Photo by Lindsay Kloster/Dell Ridge Farm)
Tales from the Crib: Hit Show

Four years ago, on the first Saturday in May 2019, Gary and Mary West felt the exhilaration of winning the Kentucky Derby (G1) with their homebred Maximum Security – for a few minutes. Then they felt the crushing blow of his disqualification for veering out…

Mar 9, 2023

Forte as a newborn (Photo by Larman Cowles)
Tales from the Crib: Forte

Fifty years after Virginia-bred Secretariat took the Triple Crown by storm, a champion colt with deep connections to the Old Dominion is the early favorite for the 2023 Kentucky Derby (G1). Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) hero Forte is a Kentucky-bred who grew…

Feb 16, 2023

Simplification as a weanling at Keeneland November (Photo by Kelcey Loges/Taylor Made)
Tales from the Crib: Simplification

The single Florida-bred in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby (G1), Simplification represents the Sunshine State in more ways than one. Owners Tami Bobo and Tristan de Meric are likewise from Ocala, and he’s raced exclusively at Gulfstream Park so far.  Simplification’s…

May 5, 2022

White Abarrio with Alisson Herrera (Photo courtesy Edilberto Herrera)
Tales from the Crib: White Abarrio

As a young gray colt stood in the ring at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s Winter Mixed Sale in January 2020, few took any interest. His sire was finding it difficult to establish himself in the ultra-competitive stallion market, and he was the first foal…

May 2, 2022

Cyberknife at birth (Photo courtesy of Ramsey Farm)
Tales from the Crib: Cyberknife

From one perspective, Cyberknife is well named. Owner Al Gold of Gold Square wanted to highlight the non-invasive cancer treatment that restored his health while preserving his quality of life. The equine Cyberknife, fittingly, has given him his biggest victory…

May 1, 2022

Zandon as a foal (Airdrie Stud)
Tales from the Crib: Zandon

As Airdrie Stud marks the 50th anniversary of its founding, Zandon can furnish an appropriately golden gift – in the form of the 2022 Kentucky Derby (G1) trophy. His success would be all the more special, for his pedigree features Airdrie stallions and a female…

Apr 28, 2022

Mo Donegal at birth (Bryan Lyster/Ashview Farm)
Tales from the Crib: Mo Donegal

The Lyster family of Ashview Farm and Richard Santulli of Colts Neck Stables have a history of breeding major winners, and the longtime partners could make history at Churchill Downs on the first weekend in May.  The breeders of leading Kentucky Derby (G1)…

Apr 27, 2022

Messier growing up at Sam-Son's Ocala division (Tom Zwiesler)
Tales from the Crib: Messier

Messier’s very name proclaims his Canadian identity, as a tribute to the retired National Hockey League great Mark Messier. But the colt’s heritage runs much deeper, through a half-century of history at Sam-Son Farm. An icon of Canadian racing and breeding,…

Apr 25, 2022

Taiba as a foal (Bruce and Mary Ryan)
Tales from the Crib: Taiba

Taiba will bid to defy nearly 140 years of Kentucky Derby (G1) history. Not since Leonatus, all the way back in 1883, has a colt won the Churchill Downs classic in just his third career start.  Yet if any sophomore can blithely shred that stat, it’s Taiba.…

Apr 18, 2022

Crown Pride as a foal in September (Shadai Farm)
Tales from the Crib: Crown Pride

The first Japanese shipper to try the Kentucky Derby (G1), Ski Captain, represented Shadai Racehorse Co. back in 1995. Now Shadai Farm proprietor Teruya Yoshida is back at Churchill Downs with another homebred, Crown Pride. But the contrasts between Ski Captain,…

Apr 11, 2022

Smile Happy as a newborn (Photo courtesy of Xavier Moreau)
Tales from the Crib: Smile Happy

Foaled just steps away from where 2006 Kentucky Derby (G1) star Barbaro was born, Smile Happy hopes to add to the legacy of his Nicholasville, Kentucky, birthplace on the first Saturday in May. Smile Happy was bred in partnership by Xavier Moreau’s Moreau Bloodstock…

Apr 7, 2022

Epicenter as a baby with his dam (Photo courtesy of Westwind's Beth Harris)
Tales from the Crib: Epicenter

Epicenter was born and raised in the Bluegrass State, but not anywhere near the epicenter of Kentucky’s Thoroughbred breeding industry. The Kentucky Derby (G1) contender hails from a family farm in Bowling Green, much nearer to Nashville than to Lexington.  Bettersworth…

Mar 21, 2022