From Homebreds to Private Purchases, Derby Contenders Represent a Mixed Bag

This year's contenders for the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) come from a mixed bag of beginnings. Homebreds, sale purchases, and privately purchased runners will all be viable contenders come the first Saturday in May.

The Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), which produced last year's homebred Derby winner Giacomo, was dominated by horses sold at auction this year. Brother Derek, Point Determined, and A.P. Warrior, the first three finishers, were all purchased at auction. Cecil Peacock purchased Brother Derek for $275,000 at the 2005 Barretts' March sale from B.C.3. Thoroughbreds, agent for Timberline. Four hips earlier, Bob and Beverly Lewis purchased Point Determined for $750,000 from Wavertree Stables, agent. Both colts were previously sold at the 2004 Keeneland September yearling sale. At the same Keeneland sale, A.P. Warrior was purchased by Fleetwood/NW Management for $1.3 million from Eaton Sales, agent.

Other Derby contenders sold at auction include: Steppenwolfer, Private Vow, Storm Treasure, Jazil, Keyed Entry, Showing Up, Cause to Believe, and Flashy Bull.

Steppenwolfer, second in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II), sold at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s 2005 April 2-year-olds in training sale for $375,000 to Robert and Lawana Low from Tom McCrocklin, agent for Eisaman Equine, who had purchased the colt as a yearling.

Private Vow, third in the Arkansas Derby, and Storm Treasure, second in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), were both purchased by Mike McCarty. He acquired Private Vow at the 2005 Keeneland April 2-year-olds in training sale for $180,000 from Terry Oliver, agent, who had purchased the colt as a yearling. McCarty bought Storm Treasure at the 2004 Keeneland September yearling sale for $170,000 from Gracefield. Storm Treasure had been previously sold as weanling.

Jazil, second in the Wood Memorial (gr. I), was purchased by Shadwell Stable for $725,000 at the 2004 Keeneland September yearling sale from Lane's End, agent. Keyed Entry, third in the Wood Memorial, was purchased for $145,000 at the 2004 Fasig-Tipton July sale by Barry Berkelhammer, agent for Starlight Stable, from Valkyre Stud, agent for Oakbrook farm.

Sold twice as a yearling, Showing Up, winner of the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II), was last purchased by Roy Jackson for his Lael Stable for $60,000 at the 2005 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old sale from Solitary Oak, agent for Mer-Lyn.

Cause to Believe, third in the Illinois Derby (gr. II), sold for $30,000 to Jerry Hollendorfer at the 2005 Ocala Breeders March 2-year-olds in training sale from Becky Thomas' Sequel Bloodstock, agent, after Thomas had purchased the colt as a yearling at Keeneland. Hollendorfer purchased Cause to Believe on behalf of Peter Redekop, who later sold 25% of the colt to Peter Abruzzo.

Flashy Bull was purchased by Buzz Chace, agent West Point Thoroughbreds, for $205,000 at the 2005 Ocala Breeders' February 2-year-olds in training sale from Oxbow Farms, who had purchased the colt at as yearling at Keeneland.

Arkansas Derby winner Lawyer Ron is part of the homebred contingency, which also includes Barbaro, Bob and John, Bluegrass Cat, Sharp Humor, Deputy Glitters, and Seaside Retreat.

Lawyer Ron was bred in Kentucky by the late James Hines. Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Barbaro is a Lael Stables homebred, while the Wood Memorial victor, Bob and John, is a homebred for Stonerside. Derby hopeful Bluegrass Cat, fourth in the Blue Grass, is a homebred for WinStar Farm. WinStar Farm recently acquired an interest in Purdedel Stable's Sharp Humor, second in the Flordia Derby, who was bred by Patricia Purdy, a member of the group. Deputy Glitters, sixth in the Wood Memorial for Joseph Lacombe Stable, and Seaside Retreat, sixth in the Blue Grass for co-breeder Bill Farish, round out the homebreds.

Several contenders have been purchased along the way. Sinister Minister, the runaway winner of the Blue Grass, was purchased by J. Terrence Lanni, Ernest Moody's Mercedes Stable, and Bernard C. Schiappa for approximately $300,000 after he won a claiming race in January at Santa Anita.

Illinois Derby winner Sweetnorthernsaint was also a private purchase. Joseph Balsamo and Ted Theos bought him from breeder Eduardo Azpura. They planned to resale him, but he did not work well up to the sale so they kept him.

Two horses still hoping to get into the Derby but who are short on graded stakes earnings are Flashy Bull and Sacred Light. Sunriver, third in the Florida Derby for Aaron and Marie Jones, and Sacred Light, fourth in the Santa Anita Derby for Amerman Racing, are both homebreds.

The past two winners of the Kentucky Derby, Giacomo and Smarty Jones, were homebreds.