The Kentucky Derby Museum for years has had various Thoroughbreds stabled at the museum for fans and visitors to see. Beginning this month, however, the stable will be occupied for the time by a Derby contender.
Phantom On Tour, who ran in the 1997 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), will become the museum's new resident Thoroughbred on March 19.
The chestnut son of Tour d'Or, out of White Wool Socks (by Whitesburg), comes to the museum through the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides humane retirement for Thoroughbreds at farms in eight states and offers some through private adoptions.
Phantom on Tour will be given a couple months away from the museum each year and in his absence the TRF will move in a horse that is available for adoption. Having adoptable horses on display at a racetrack is a first for the foundation.
"It's happened because Churchill Downs has really stepped up," said Michael Blowen, TRF operations director. "I think we are just now getting to the point where tracks, particularly mid-level claiming tracks, are seeing us as an ally and not an enemy."
During Phantom on Tour's racing career, he won the Rebel Stakes (gr. III) and was second in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) before finishing sixth, six lengths behind Silver Charm in the Kentucky Derby. He went on the next year to set a track record in the New Orleans Handicap (gr. III) where he knocked out the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.13. He retired with earnings totaling $724,605.
At the end of his 4-year-old campaign he was originally retired to stud by owner Cal Partee and trainer Lynn Whiting due to multiple ankle injuries. Phantom On Tour ended up being sterile. Under the ownership of Noel Hickey, he was gelded and given away as a pleasure horse. Phantom on Tour wound up back on the track last year despite his previous injuries. He started three times and finished second once before being rescued by the TRF.