The Nice John Henry – Kentucky Horse Park on April third, 2007- Joe Brell
By Daybreak LeFevre
“Seems don’t win races” has been the mantra of horse trainers for so long as there have been racetracks. Whereas magnificence will web you a blue ribbon within the present ring and an exorbitant value within the public sale pavilion, it doesn’t assure you a spot within the winner’s circle. Take The Inexperienced Monkey, for instance. As a yearling, he was thought-about such an excellent specimen of horseflesh that he commanded a $16 million price ticket at public sale. He didn’t win a single race.
The plain undersized, obscurely bred John Henry value a mere $1100 on the Keeneland combined sale, but he went on to earn $6.5 million. Mockingly, John Henry suffered from a conformational defect generally known as being “again on the knee”, which is meant to shorten a horse’s racing profession. Apparently nobody instructed John Henry. Whereas his race file and checking account communicate to his brilliance, John Henry’s legacy was his longevity – racing for seven straight years and twice incomes Horse of the Yr honors, the second time on the tender age of 9.
Small, odd and knobby-kneed, Seabiscuit went from former claimer to champion, capturing America’s coronary heart and galvanizing numerous books, documentaries and flicks. Described as an “ugly cripple” Morvich however received twelve straight races, together with the Kentucky Derby. After which there was poor Elwood, a colt so homely that his coach, C.E. Durnell, didn’t hassle to point out as much as saddle him for the 1904 Kentucky Derby. And his spouse owned the horse! Irrespective of, Mrs. Durnell merely enlisted another person to carry out the duty and wound up turning into the primary girl to personal a Derby winner.
However maybe probably the most beloved ugly duckling of all was Exterminator, a gangly gelding affectionately nicknamed “Outdated Bones” by his followers. He was bought by Willis Sharp simply ten days previous to the 1918 Kentucky Derby as a piece horse for Solar Briar, his Two Yr Outdated Champion and the favourite for the race. Sharpe thought little of Exterminator and snidely referred to him as “That Goat”. Nonetheless when Solar Briar developed ringbone and needed to be scratched from the Derby, it was Outdated Bones who stepped in and received the day. Exterminator would go on to race an unimaginable 99 instances, profitable 50 with 17 seconds and 17 thirds whereas carrying crushing weights. He was voted Champion Older Male Horse from 1920-1922 and Horse of the Yr in 1922.
Lengthy earlier than horse racing followers celebrated the extraordinary abilities of darkish leggy beauties corresponding to Ruffian and Zenyatta, there was the pitch black, mousy mare named Imp. Imp was a operating machine at three – racing 50 instances with 14 wins and 33 within the cash finishes. As a 4 12 months previous she turned the primary filly to seize the Suburban Handicap and was voted Horse of the Yr. In her outstanding 171 race profession, Imp received at distances from sprints to marathons, beating colts on quite a few events with 62 victories, 35 seconds and 29 thirds. Her followers might have nicknamed her “My Coal Black Woman” however Imp was cast in metal.
Bayakoa suffered from crooked legs and a extreme overbite generally known as a “parrot mouth”, which brought on her tongue to stay out as she ran. However, Bayakoa received 13 graded stakes, two Breeders’ Cup Distaffs, and earnings of over $2.8 million. She was additionally voted Champion Older Mare in 1989 and 1990. Bayakoa might not have been a magnificence queen however she by no means regarded extra beautiful than when she was flying down the stretch, tongue flapping to the beat of her stride.
Quick and stocky along with his tail dragging on the bottom, Northern Dancer regarded extra Shetland pony than future champion when he was offered on the 1962 yearling public sale. No one needed him, at the very least not on the $25,000 reserve value. What the consumers didn’t know was that they’d simply handed up not solely a Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner but in addition the best sire of his technology. This gross sales ring reject would go on to earn Champion Three Yr Outdated honors, sire 147 stakes winners and have a profound affect on Thoroughbred breeding in North America, Nice Britain and Eire.
Whereas many Thoroughbreds do certainly run as lovely as they give the impression of being, no horse appears to be like higher than when it’s standing within the winner’s circle. And to bettors, magnificence is within the dimension of the payoff.