Spend a Buck, whose Kentucky Derby (gr. I) clocking of 2:00 1/5, remains the fourth-fastest of all time, died in November from anaphylactic shock in Brazil. The 20-year-old Horse of the Year, who began his stallion career at William S. Farish's Lane's End Farm near Versailles, Ky., was relocated to Haras Bage do Sul in Brazil following the 2001 breeding season.
Spend a Buck's Derby win sent shock waves through the racing industry. And it wasn't just because of the time.
Earlier, Robert Brennan of Garden State Park announced a $2-million bonus for a horse that could win the Cherry Hill Mile and Garden State Stakes, then go on to win the Kentucky Derby and Jersey Derby (gr. III). Spend a Buck won the first three races in the series, but instead of running him in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), owner Dennis Diaz opted to withhold him from the race and concentrate on the Jersey Derby the end of May. Spend a Buck didn't disappoint his owner nor his trainer, Cam Gambolati, winning the Jersey Derby and collecting the rich bonus, plus $600,000 of the original $1 million purse. Diaz also bypassed the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) with the colt.
Irate over Diaz' action and worried about the possibility of it happening again, officials at Churchill Downs, Pimlico, and the New York Racing Association conceived a Triple Crown bonus that largely remains intact to this day.
Spend a Buck (Buckaroo -- Belle de Jour, by Speak John) raced twice more before an injury hastened his retirement. He finished second to Skip Trial (later the sire of Horse of the Year Skip Away) in the Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I), then beat older horses in the Monmouth Handicap (gr. I). While training for the Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) in September, he injured his right ankle during a workout. He was retired with 10 wins from 15 starts and earnings of $4,220,689 in two years of racing. Three of his wins came in track-record time. He was voted Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male.
Spend a Buck, who was bred by Irish Hill Farm and Rowe W. Harper, has sired some 30 stakes winners. He shuttled for a time to Brazil before being sold to Antonio Lemgruber following the 2001 breeding season at Jay Adcock's Red River Farms near Coushatta, La. Both his champions, Black Coffey and Investor's Dream, were champions in South America.
Spend a Buck's top North American runner, Antespend, won three grade I races and retired a millionaire. Spend a Buck's other added-money winners include Pie in Your Eye, who won the 1992 Cherry Hill Mile Stakes (gr. III).