All North American Thoroughbreds share New Year’s Day, Jan. 1 as the date they officially become a year older according to The Jockey Club. But very few Thoroughbred foals are delivered Jan. 1, or even in the first week of January for that matter.
Poet T.S. Eliot labeled April “cruelest month,” but it is not a bad month on stud farms for foaling winners of the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). In fact, over the last eight years, April foals have won three runnings of the Derby. February, the month that gives us both Groundhog Day and Presidents Day despite being the shortest month of the year, has been responsible for five winners.
Street Sense (Feb. 23), Giacomo (Feb. 17), Smarty Jones (Feb. 28), War Emblem (Feb. 20), and Monarchos (Feb. 9) were all February foals. The three April foals were: Barbaro (April 29), Funny Cide (April 20), and Fusaichi Pegasus (April 12).
This year, most of the top contenders for the Derby are again February foals, but two—Adriano and Cool Coal Man—are late May foals, meaning they’ll be running in Saturday’s Derby before their third birthday.
Below are the leading contenders for the Kentucky Derby, their state of foaling, and their birth dates:
Horse (State bred) – Foaling Date
Adriano (KY) – May 20
Anak Nakal (KY) – April 23
Big Brown (KY) – April 10
Big Truck (NY) – February 12
Bob Black Jack (CA) – March 29
Colonel John (KY) – March 4
Cool Coal Man (KY) – May 24
Court Vision (KY) – March 27
Cowboy Cal (KY) – February 1
Denis of Cork (FL) – February 16
Eight Belles (KY) – February 23
Gayego (KY) – March 26
Halo Najib (FL) – February 5
Monba (KY) – March 16
Pyro (KY) – February 19
Recapturetheglory (KY) – February 11
Smooth Air (FL) – March 12
Tale of Ekati (KY) - March 31
Visionaire (KY) – February 16
Z Fortune (NY) – March 1
Z Humor (KY) – February 14
For those who take the stars into consideration and will be reading up on Derby day horoscopes, remember the Zodiac signs: Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18); Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20); Aries (March 21-April 19); Taurus (April 20-May20); and Gemini (May 21-June 20).