On This Day...
Photo: The Blood-Horse Library
Swaps after the Santa Anita Derby.
Feb. 19, 1955
Swaps in the Santa Anita Derby

Judging what we now know about Swaps, it seems almost ludicrous that trainer Mesh Tenney worried about running him in the Kentucky Derby.

"I want to review movies of the Santa Anita Derby carefully before making up my mind about the trip to Kentucky," the conditioner told The Blood-Horse after Swaps won the Feb. 19 race in his first start around two turns. "I wouldn't want to go back to that country with a colt that might get beaten 15 or 20 lengths. I think too many Californians have tried for the Derby with inferior horses. We breed some nice horses out here, and when I go back to Kentucky I want to be with a colt we'll all be proud of."

Swaps' victory in the Santa Anita Derby obviously didn't come easily. The son of Khaled turned the last corner wide and by the time jockey John Longden straightened him out, Jean's Joe under Eddie Arcaro had eaten into his three-length lead. Swaps put in a furious drive to the wire and beat that foe by a half-length. Blue Ruler, a member of Nasrullah's first U.S. crop and ridden by Bill Shoemaker, was third.

Swaps raced just once more, winning at Churchill Downs a week before the Kentucky Derby, then won the big race itself from Eastern rival Nashua before heading back to California.

Click here to read more about this Thoroughbred Legend in Swaps -- available now from ExclusivelyEquine.com.

Most Popular Stories