Kentucky is not just the “horse capital of the world” because the Kentucky Derby happens to be here. It’s the horse capital of the world because almost all the contenders for this signature American classic are born and bred in the commonwealth.
This year, 18 of the 20 Derby contenders were bred and foaled in Kentucky. Only the Florida-bred Win Win Win and the Japan-bred Master Fencer come from outside the state (and you don’t have to go too far back in their pedigrees to find their Kentucky ties).
Here’s a rundown of all the horse farms that fostered Saturday’s runners (The official 20-horse field will be drawn Tuesday morning. These are the current top 20 in Derby points):
Foaled: Feb. 21, 2016, at Juddmonte Farms, 3082 Walnut Hill Road, Lexington
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Trainer: William I. Mott
Owner: Juddmonte Farms.
Breeder: Juddmonte Farms
Dam: Close Hatches
Record: Three firsts in four starts, 150 Road to the Derby points
Notes: The Derby points leader captured both the Wood Memorial and the Tampa Bay Derby, two major preps in this gray/roan colt’s three victories in only four starts.
Omaha Beach (Scratched)
Foaled: April 24, 2016, at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud, 5095 Frankfort Road, Versailles
Jockey: Mike Smith
Trainer: Richard Mandella
Owner: Fox Hill Farms
Breeder: Charming Syndicate
Sire: War Front
Record: Three wins, three seconds and a third in seven starts, 137.5 Derby points
Notes: Omaha Beach emerged as the media poll favorite to win the rose blanket after nosing out Game Winner in the Rebel and beating a stacked Arkansas Derby field by a length.
Foaled: May 22, 2016, at Lane’s End Farm, 1500 Midway Road, Versailles
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Trainer: George Weaver
Owner: R.A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables
Breeder: Alpha Delta Stables
Sire: Candy Ride
Dam: Mona De Momma
Record: Three wins and a place in four starts, 110 Derby points
Notes: Winner of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland and a third at the Fountain of Youth, this chestnut colt has three wins in his four starts.
Plus Que Parfait
Foaled: March 23, 2016, at Oak Lodge, 710 Jackstown Road, Paris
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.
Trainer: Brendan P. Walsh
Owner: Imperial Racing
Breeder: Calloway Stables
Sire: Point of Entry
Record: Two firsts, a second and two thirds in seven starts, 104 Derby points
Notes: Originally sold for just $24,000 and then sold again for $135,000, this chestnut ridgling paid off handsomely with a win at the UAE Derby which spiked his career earnings to more than $1.5 million. Breeder Calloway Stables is based in Murray, but had Plus Que Parfait foaled in Central Kentucky.
Foaled: April 23, 2016, at Stone Farm, 200 Stoney Point Road, Paris
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Owner: Speedway Stable
Breeder: Stone Farm
Sire: Quality Road
Dam: Ghost Dancing
Record: Three wins and a third in four starts, 100 Derby points
Notes: Another horse without much on-track experience, this gray/roan trained by Baffert has a resume similar to his 2018 Triple Crown winner, Justify, including a win in the Santa Anita Derby. The difference: Roadster has a third place among his four starts. Justify was undefeated. Roadster’s Santa Anita win came on a stirring charge from well back.
By My Standards
Foaled: March 22, 2016, at Blackhorse Thoroughbreds, 3000 Walnut Hill Road, Lexington
Jockey: Gabriel Saez
Trainer: W. Bret Calhoun
Owner: Allied Racing Stable
Breeder: Don Ladd
Dam: A Jealous Woman
Record: Two wins, two seconds and a third in five starts, 100 Derby points
Notes: Won the Louisiana Derby in a stunning upset at 22-1 odds over Todd Pletcher’s Spinoff and that race’s favorite, fellow Derby contender War of Will.
Foaled: May 14, 2016, at Dell Ridge Farm, 3964 Winchester Road, Lexington
Jockey: Luis Saez
Trainer: Jason Servis
Owner: Gary and Mary West
Breeder: Gary and Mary West Stables
Sire: New Year’s Day
Dam: Lil Indy
Record: Four wins in four starts, 100 Derby points
Notes: Posted a convincing 3 ½-length win over fellow Derby contender Bodexpress in the Florida Derby leading from wire to wire. Lightly raced like much of the rest of the field with only four starts, all of them wins.
Foaled: March 6, 2016, at Summer Wind Farm, 2877 Iron Works Road, Georgetown
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Owner: Gary and Mary West.
Breeder: Summer Wind Equine
Sire: Candy Ride
Dam: Indyan Giving
Record: Four wins, two seconds in six starts, 85 Derby points
Notes: The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner has hit the board in second in his two races since and posted respectable speed ratings. Edged out by a half-length in the Santa Anita Derby and by a nose in the Rebel. Orphaned at a couple of months old when his dam fell ill with colic and didn’t recover from surgery.
Code of Honor
Foaled: May 23, 1016, at Lane’s End Farm, 1500 Midway Road, Versailles
Jockey: John Velazquez
Trainer: Shug McGaughey
Owner: W.S. Farish
Breeder: W.S. Farish
Sire: Noble Mission
Record: Two wins, a second and a third in five starts, 74 Derby points
Notes: Fountain of Youth winner has had uneven results over a five-race career with a fourth in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes and a third in his last prep, the Florida Derby. An Equibase speed figure of 111 in the Fountain of Youth, however, is among the best posted by any Derby contender.
Foaled: March 23, 2016, at Shadwell Farm, 4600 Fort Springs Pinckard Road, Lexington
Jockey: Rajiv Maragh
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin
Owner: Shadwell Stable
Breeder: Shadwell Farm
Record: Three firsts, a second and a third in five starts, 70 Derby points
Notes: The Gotham Stakes winner finished a closing third in the Wood Memorial and has three wins in his five starts.
Foaled: Feb. 11, 2016, at St. George Farm, 635 Iron Works Pike, Lexington
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Owner: WinStar Farm LLC, China Horse Club International Ltd. and Starlight Racing
Breeder: St. George Farm LLC & G. Watts Humphrey Jr.
Sire: City Zip
Dam: Rare Event
Record: Three wins and two seconds in five starts, 65 Derby points
Notes: Improbable impressed greatly his first three times out going undefeated including a Grade 1 stakes win at Los Alamitos. The chestnut colt has gotten faster since, but finished second to fellow Derby contenders Long Range Toddy and Omaha Beach his last two times out.
War of Will
Foaled: April 17, 2016, at Lane’s End-Oak Tree Division, 5971 Mt. Horeb Pike, Lexington
Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione
Trainer: Mark Casse
Owner: Gary Barber
Breeder: Flaxman Holdings Limited
Sire: War Front
Dam: Visions of Clarity
Record: Three wins, a second and a third in eight starts, 60 Derby points
Notes: A two-time graded stakes winner before a disappointing ninth last time out in the Louisiana Derby. With eight races, this bay colt is one of the most experienced horses in the field. Believed to have been injured out of the Louisiana Derby gate with what was said to be a muscle strain, but reported to have recovered well.
Long Range Toddy
Foaled: April 12, 2016, at Three Chimneys Farm, 1981 Old Frankfort Pike, Versailles
Jockey: Jon Court
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Owner: Willis Horton Racing
Breeder: Willis Horton Racing
Sire: Take Charge Indy
Dam: Pleasant Song
Record: Four wins, a second and a third in eight starts, 53.5 Derby points
Notes: Has hit the board in six of eight starts including a win in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park to solidify his place in the Derby field.
Foaled: April 20, 2016, at Claiborne Farm, 703 Winchester Road, Paris
Jockey: Junior Alvarado
Trainer: Danny Gargan
Owner: R.A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch and Corms Racing Stable
Breeder: Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider
Record: Two wins, two seconds and a third in five starts, 52 Derby points
Notes: A dark bay gelding, Tax impressed with a gutty win at the Withers after stumbling out of the gate and a second at the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct to secure his place in the Derby field. Claimed by one of the current owners for $50,000 in the first race at Keeneland on Oct. 21.
Foaled: April 7, 2016, at Claiborne Farm, 703 Winchester Road, Paris
Jockey: Mike Smith replaced Corey Lanerie on Cutting Humor after Smith’s Omaha Beach was scratched.
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Owner: Starlight Racing
Breeder: Dell Hancock and Bernie Sams
Sire: First Samurai
Record: Two wins, two seconds and a third in six starts, 50 Derby points
Notes: Held off a hard-charging Anothertwistoffate in the Sunland Derby to earn his way into the Kentucky Derby coming off a disappointing seventh in the Southwest Stakes a month earlier. Purchased by Starlight Racing for $400,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga Select Yearling Sale.
Win Win Win
Foaled: March 20, 2016, at Live Oak Stud, 9275 SW Ninth Street Road, Ocala, Fla.
Jockey: Julian Pimentel
Trainer: Michael Trombetta
Owner: Live Oak Plantation.
Breeder: Live Oak Stud
Sire: Hat Trick
Dam: Miss Smarty Pants
Record: Three wins, two seconds and a third in six starts, 50 Derby points
Notes: Set a track record for 7 furlongs at Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 19 and hit the board with a third in the Tampa Bay Derby and a second in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes to earn entry into the field.
Foaled: May 8, 2016, at Three Chimneys Farm, 1981 Old Frankfort Pike, Versailles
Jockey: Flavien Prat
Trainer: Bill Mott
Owner: Mrs. J.V. Shields Jr., E.J.M. McFadden Jr. and LNJ Foxwoods.
Breeder: J.V. Shields Jr.
Sire: Lookin at Lucky
Dam: Quake Lake
Record: One win, two seconds and a third in six starts, 50 Derby points
Notes: Third in the Arkansas Derby, fourth in the Louisiana Derby and second in the Risen Star, this chestnut colt has shown the speed to threaten. Breeder J.V. Shields Jr. passed away last year at the age of 80.
Foaled: Feb. 16, 2016, at Twin Creeks Farm, 3870 Fords Mill Road, Versailles
Jockey: Drayden Van Dyke
Trainer: Peter Miller
Owner: Wachtel Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber
Breeder: Twin Creeks Farm
Dam: Burg Berg
Record: One win, three seconds and two thirds, 41 Derby points
Notes: Has only one win in eight starts, but one of his three seconds came in one of the richest Derby preps in the world, the UAE Derby in Dubai, where he was edged out by a half-length in a thrilling three-way dash to the wire.
Foaled: Feb. 18, 2016, at Hagyard Farm, 4915 Paris Pike, Lexington
Jockey: Manny Franco
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Owner: Wertheimer and Frere
Breeder: Wertheimer and Frere
Sire: Hard Spun
Record: Two wins, a second and a third in four starts, 40 Derby points
Notes: Has a second in the Louisiana Derby and a third in the Saratoga Special with two wins in his other two starts. His sire, Hard Spun, ran all three legs of the Triple Crown in 2007 with a place, a show and a fourth.
Foaled: Feb. 21, 2016, in Japan
Jockey: Julien Leparoux
Trainer: K. Tsunoda
Owner: Katsumi Yoshizawa
Breeder: Katsumi Yoshizawa
Sire: Just a Way
Dam: Sexy Zamurai
Record: Two wins and two seconds in six starts, Japan invitee
Notes: Master Fencer finished fourth in Japan’s Road to the Kentucky Derby series, but with the top three opting out, Owner Katsumi Yoshizawa accepted the nation’s annual sole bid to Churchill Downs. Dam Sexy Zamurai is a Kentucky-bred. The No. 7 horse in the Fukuryu Stakes in Japan, Master Fencer settled in well off the pace before hitting stride in the final turn and powering to a second-place finish.
145th Kentucky Derby
When: 6:50 p.m. Saturday
Where: Churchill Downs in Louisville
Purse: $3 million (Grade 1)
Distance: 1 1/4 miles (dirt)
Post-position draw: 11 a.m. Tuesday