Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges, Jr.

Kathmanblu: An Unlikely Superstar

The filly is the sole runner co-owner Five D Thoroughbreds has in training.

Even with her third-place effort in the April 9 Ashland Stakes (gr. I), grade III winner Kathmanblu has high hopes resting on her shoulders leading up to the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).

Obviously, one of her biggest fans is co-owner Dr. William Dobozi, who races the daughter of Bluegrass Cat  in the name Five D Thoroughbreds with his wife Sandra, sons Brian and Todd, and Brian’s wife, Shay. The filly is also co-owned by Evan Trommer’s Wind River Stables.

As luck would have it, Kathmanblu is the sole horse Five D has in training, and her dam, Abba Gold, is their only mare.

Dobozi, 64, had raced some mildly successful claimers and allowance horses for a 20-year span in Chicago. He made the move to Kentucky in 2002 in order to be closer to his son, who lives in Louisville. A retired orthopedic surgeon, Dobozi decided to take two mares with him to the Bluegrass State, and the luck that followed with that duo was more than he ever dreamed possible.

Dobozi sold one of the mares, Countess Gold, for $38,000, as well as her foal, Strike the Deal, who went on to become a group winner in Europe and was re-sold for more than $1 million as a 2-year-old. Dobozi was not as successful selling stakes-placed Abba Gold, however.

“We tried to sell (Abba Gold) carrying Kathmanblu, and nobody wanted her,” said Dobozi, who set a fairly high reserve on the mare due to the fact she had a good pedigree, she had been one of his best racehorses, and her first foal, a Forest Wildcat gelding, had brought $250,000 as a weanling. After Abba Gold failed to meet her reserve, Dobozi sent her back to Roxanne Martin’s Highcroft Farm, where Kathmanblu was foaled.

Dobozi attempted to sell Kathmanblu as a yearling because he wanted to get out of the racing business, but no one wanted her either. The filly was a $57,000 RNA at the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale when consigned by Denali Stud, agent.

“I thought it was too hard to race in Kentucky,” explained Dobozi, who after failing to sell Kathmanblu decided to take a gamble with her on the racetrack anyway. “I wasn’t going to take a loss on her, so I said, ‘alright, we’ll race her and see if she can do anything,' and here we are.”

Dobozi, who lives two doors down from trainer Kenny McPeek’s Magdalena Farm near Lexington on Russell Cave Road, asked the conditioner if he would be willing to prepare Kathmanblu for the racetrack.

“He said, ‘Send her here first and let me look at her,’ ” remembered Dobozi. “So I sent her over, and he said, ‘She’s not much to look at,’ and I said, ‘Well, maybe she can run.’ So he said, ‘alright, since you’re a neighbor, we’ll see what happens.’ Now he says, ‘Boy, am I glad you brought me this horse!’ ”

Dobozi described Kathmanblu as “an egotistical princess. She knows she’s number one. She’s in the number one stall; she walks around with her head up, turning her nose up. She’s a princess and knows she’s the star. Even Kenny says, ‘She knows she’s good.’ ”

Time will tell whether the bay filly will carry that confident attitude into a victorious run on Kentucky Oaks Day, after which Five D Thoroughbred’s one-horse stable will be deemed one of the luckiest in history.

“What I used to tell my sons is, ‘A good horse is a lot of fun, but a great horse will change your life,’ ” said Dobozi. “This horse has changed all of our lives. We have 68 people coming for the Oaks from all over the country. All my friends in the business are so happy for me that this is happening and that they get to ride the wave with us.”