As the decade winds to a close, The KTA would like to congratulate breeders all across the Commonwealth who helped bring unparalleled success to the Kentucky breeding program over the past 10 years.
Among the many highlights were the two Triple Crown winners who hailed from the Bluegrass State: American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018. This marked the first time since the decade of the 1940’s, when there were three from Kentucky, that had occurred.
American Pharoah, a Zayat Stables homebred by their late stallion Pioneerof the Nile, was the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years and was 2-year-old champion, 3-year-old champion and Horse of the Year. He retired to stand at Ashford Stud and is currently ranked atop the First-Crop Sire list of 2019.
Justify swept the Triple Crown in 2018 and was the first undefeated winner of the races since Seattle Slew in 1977. The son of Scat Daddy was also named 3-year-old champion and Horse of the Year. Like American Pharoah, he is standing at Ashford Stud.
That pair were two of nine Kentucky-breds to win the Kentucky Derby (G1) over the past 10 years. The Derby winners included Animal Kingdom (2011), who would go on to win the 2013 Dubai World Cup (G1); I’ll Have Another (2012), who also won the Preakness S. (G1); Orb (2014), who now enjoys a success career at stud at Claiborne Farm; and Nyquist (2016), one of only two horses to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and Kentucky Derby.
The 2010-2019 Breeders’ Cup Championships were also dominated by Kentucky-breds, with nine each in the two marquee races: the Classic (G1) and Distaff (G1).
The decade started off with arguably the most thrilling running of the Classic in its history, with Blame nosing out previously undefeated Zenyatta at Churchill Downs. Blame, who was bred by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, retired to Claiborne, where he still stands. Of the nine Classic winners, seven are either currently standing or will stand in Kentucky for 2020: Vino Rosso, Accelerate, Gun Runner, Arrogate, Bayern, along with Blame and the two Triple Crown winners.
The Breeders’ Cup Distaff was won over the past 10 years by superstars such as Beholder, whose incredible career included 16 stakes wins and championship honors for 2-year-old filly, 3-year-old filly (her first Distaff win), and champion older mare in both 2015 and 2016, the latter when she won the Distaff for the second time. Beholder currently resides at Spendthrift Farm, for whom she raced.
Royal Delta was a superstar in her own right as well. A two-time winner of the Distaff in 2011-12, she was champion 3-year-old filly in 2011 and champion older mare the following two years.
More recently, the brilliant Monomony Girl would win the 2018 running en route to champion 3-year-old filly honors. Monomoy Girl is still in training and plans are for her to run in 2020.