Dr. John Chandler, president of Juddmonte Farms, said great things have been expected of Empire Maker since he was a young foal. "He was just an outstanding foal, a great physical specimen, and he's progressed like all great horses," Chandler said Tuesday during an NTRA teleconference.
One of the great things Chandler speaks of is a victory in the May 3 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) at Churchill Downs. "Many, many horses are born each year and only about 20 make it to the Kentucky Derby and only one can win. The odds are strongly against you. The Kentucky Derby is the last major race that has been our ambition to win."
As great as it would be to win the Kentucky Derby, Chandler remains cautious about predicting a Triple Crown. "Every step forward is an achievement. The Florida Derby and the Wood Memorial were two major steps. We don't like to look to far ahead, it's like pushing your luck to look to far ahead."
However, he did add, "if ever we were going to do it (win a Triple Crown) this is the horse to do it."
Empire Maker is the fifth foal and fourth graded-stakes winner produced from the grade I winning mare Toussaud. Her other graded stakes winners include Chester House, Honest Lady, Decarchy, and Chiselling. Chester House stands at stud at Juddmonte Farm and Honest Lady is member of the broodmare band. Decarchy and Chiselling are in training with Bobby Frankel, who also conditions Empire Maker.