2022 Preakness Stakes Follow-up

So, the Derby winner doesn’t run in the Preakness and the Preakness winner isn’t running in the Belmont. That’s it, the Triple Crown is doomed. Look, things happen every year, but we’ll get into that later in the column. But first let’s look at whatever story there is about the Preakness winner and who really were the dominant figures in the second leg of the Triple Crown. ~ Steve Haskin

2022 Preakness Stakes Follow-up

By Steve Haskin

Photo courtesy of the Maryland Jockey Club

No Hanging Chads in Early Voting

And so another colt punches his ticket on the 3-year-old championship ballot. Let’s be honest, though, there isn’t much in the way of a human interest back story when it comes to Early Voting, who had a pretty easy time of it in the Preakness after the two favorites, Epicenter and Secret Oath, got squeezed back to next to last and last, respectively, leaving Early Voting with the simple task of putting away Armagnac, the longest shot in the field, and being unopposed the rest of the way on a track that was pretty much favoring speed all day. Adding to the lack of opposition was Simplification bleeding and dropping out of it after being in excellent position down the backstretch.

To his credit, however, he was able to rattle off fractions of :23, :23 4/5, :24, and 18 4/5 and no top-class horse is going to be easy to catch closing in under :19 off those fractions. But if Epicenter had been ridden a bit more aggressively early to get good position he wouldn’t have been in the position to get squeezed back. So once again we have to praise Epicenter in defeat, making up two lengths in the final furlong. It’s been a very frustrating Derby and Preakness for his connections to see him run two huge races only to finish second each time, being the victim of a too fast a pace in the Derby and too slow a pace in the Preakness that was not contentious at all.

Early Voting no doubt is a very talented horse who first made a big impression in the Withers Stakes over a very deep and slow track. His immediate story goes back to 2013 when Three Chimneys Farm, looking for potential well-bred broodmares, spent $1,750,000 to purchase a Tiznow yearling half-sister to champion sprinter and top sire Speightstown and full-sister to $1.6 million earner Irap.

Named Amour d’Ete, they tried to get her to the races, but she developed a corneal ulcer in her left eye in October of 2014 of her 2-year-old year. With her losing a lot of time and having some growth and maturity issues it was decided to retire her early the following year. She did give birth her first year, but her daughter by Distorted Humor won only one of five starts. When she was barren the second year in foal to Super Saver, Three Chimneys decided to test the market and put her in the Keeneland November mixed sale. But her market value proved less than what Three Chimneys valued her at, so they bought her back for $725,000 and bred her back to Super Saver the following year, but the resulting foal, another filly, managed to win only once in nine starts, with eight unplacings.

In 2019, she was ready to drop a colt by Gun Runner, but in the last 30 days of her gestation she came down with a tendon sheath infection that forced her to be hospitalized. The infection had to be drained and she had to be treated with heavy doses of antibiotics. She returned to Three Chimneys on Feb. 24, and 11 days later on March 7 she gave birth to her Gun Runner foal, a colt later to be named Early Voting.

The colt weighed in at 120 pounds, which was five to seven pounds below the average weight at the farm. But when he was weighed as a yearling he was 175 pounds, which was about 12 percent above the average weight and he stood 15 hands, two inches, which was slightly above average. He was very athletic at a young age with no major issues, but was considered more muscular and compact than the typical Gun Runners, who are more long and lean and looked more like stayers. Three Chimneys sells a number of yearlings each year, and being from the first crop of their own stallion Gun Runner they targeted him for the Keeneland September sale. When they saw that they had valued him more than he was going to sell for they lowered his reserve, based on level of interest and who they had bought and sold already, and were willing to sell him for $200,000.

Turned over to Chad Brown, Early Voting always trained well, had a “great eye” according to Brown, but was tough around the starting gate. He made his debut on December 18, his trainer’s birthday, and began “improving rapidly.” Right from the beginning, following his victory in the Withers Stakes in only his second career start, Brown said “it would be great to do the Wood Memorial and Preakness, which he thought was “more practical” than rushing him into the Derby.

Even having sold the eventual Preakness winner, all is great at Three Chimneys.  They still have the mare, her two daughters and all their future offspring, and of course they have Gun Runner, who now has sired an amazing five Grade 1 winners from his first crop, including a Preakness winner and the Santa Anita and Arkansas Derby winners, as well as last year’s 2-year-old filly champion and the Hopeful winner.

I remember seeing Gun Runner returning following his victory in the Whitney with a horseshoe that was thrown during the race somehow entwined in his tail. No one had any idea how something as heavy as a horseshoe could become knotted up in a horse’s tail during a race. Trainer Steve Asmussen kept the shoe, which turned out to be a lucky horseshoe for Gun Runner. But Gun Runner’s good luck in the Preakness turned into bad luck for Asmussen, who was beaten by Gun Runner’s son. Sometimes luck can be awfully fickle.

The Real Stars of the Preakness

No, the real stars of the Preakness were not Early Voting or Chad Brown or Jose Ortiz. The real stars have been dead for several years. John Nerud Is one of the true geniuses the sport has ever seen, and from that genius came super stud Fappiano, the Nerud homebred who paid for his owner’s Long Island estate. The Preakness is all about both these iconic figures, and it’s not even close.

We’ll start by blowing your mind. In the pedigrees of the first five finishers of the Preakness, horses bred by Nerud either for himself or for Tartan Farm and horses purchased by Nerud appear a total of 85 times. Fappiano’s name appears in the first five finishers and in five of the first six finishers, with the victorious Early Voting and fourth-place finisher Secret Oath being inbred to Fappiano, whose male line includes Unbridled (bred by Nerud), Unbridled’s Song, Candy Ride, Empire Maker, and Quiet American.

Fappiano’s broodmare sire, the immortal Dr. Fager, who Nerud bred for Tartan Farm and trained, appears a total of 12 times in the names of the first six finishers of the Preakness, with his half-sister and fellow Hall of Famer Ta Wee appearing in the names of three of the first six finishers. That means their dam, Aspidistra, appears 15 times.

To further demonstrate the impact of Nerud, Dr. Fager, and Fappiano on the breed, his two homebreds appear in the pedigrees of classic winners American Pharoah, Grindstone, Real Quiet, Empire Maker, Orb, Mine That Bird, Birdstone, Rachel Alexandra, Nyquist, Shackleford, Tonalist, Always Dreaming, Tapwrit, Creator, Cloud Computing, War of Will, Tiz the Law, Mandaloun, Rombauer, Essential Quality, and Early Voting, with the Nerud-bred Ogygian in the pedigree of Justify, giving Nerud a part in two Triple Crown winners. Ogygian also is in the pedigree of Preakness winner Swiss Skydiver, while Ta Wee is in the pedigree of Derby wnner Giacomo. In addition, the Nerud owned and bred Cozzene is in the pedigree of California Chrome. So you can find Nerud’s influence in the pedigrees of 11 Kentucky Derby winners, 11 Preakness winners, including the last six, and nine Belmont winners. Looking outside the classics, Dr. Fager and Fappiano appear in the pedigrees of Arrogate, Holy Bull, Gun Runner, Game On Dude, Will Take Charge, Catholic Boy, and Frosted. And finally, Fappiano is in the pedigree of the great stallion Tapit and all the stakes winners he has sired.

As a side note, no one could spot a stallion prospect like Nerud. When he was looking for a young stallion to breed to his Dr. Fager mare Killaloe he turned to Butch Savin, who had a young unproven stallion in Florida named Mr. Prospector, who Nerud remembered because of his blazing speed.

He decided he was the perfect match for Killaloe, but she had a late foal that year and it was already June. Savin did not want Mr. Prospector having any May foals and turned Nerud down.

But in typical Nerud fashion, he told Savin, “Butch, you’re so rich you don’t want to take my money? Look out the window and tell me what the hell Mr. Prospector is doing now.” Savin said, “Nothing,” to which Nerud replied, “Well, neither is my mare. Let me worry about having a May foal.” Savin finally agreed, and Nerud bred Killaloe to Mr. Prospector and got Fappiano.

Just think of racing today without the influence of John Nerud, the unquestionable star of Preakness 2022.

Time For Another Five-Week Freak

So the Derby winner is skipping the Preakness; time to panic again. Let’s settle down; almost everyone believes Rich Strike would have had little or no shot in the Preakness. His Thoro-Graph numbers, with a gigantic jump from a less than mediocre“9 ¾” to a “1 ½ ,” indicated a huge “bounce.” And there wasn’t going to be any blistering pace to set it up for him, especially on a speed-favoring track. Trainer Eric Reed said after the Derby that the plan was to go to New York for the Peter Pan if he didn’t get into the race. So he wasn’t too crazy about running in the Preakness anyway.

I am tired of hearing about horses being forced to come back in two weeks; it’s not enough time. In the 19-year span from 2001 to 2019, 17 Preakness winners had no trouble coming back and winning two weeks later. The two that didn’t were when Derby winners Barbaro and Always Dreaming were stopped by serious injury and a lesser physical problem. Yes, the last three Preakness winners did not run in the Derby, but the 2020 Triple Crown was a farce due to Covid changes and really doesn’t count with the Derby being run in September and the Preakness in October. And in 2021 the second- and third-place finishers of the Preakness came out of the Derby and in 2022 the runner-up came out of the Derby.

The truth is, this is not about the horse and whether the two weeks will hurt him; it is about the trainers, who are much more conservative today and just are not comfortable running a horse back in two weeks, regardless of what the facts have shown this century.

I respect all opinions on this, for each person has his or her own feelings on this matter. If you want the Triple Crown races to be run the first Saturdays in May, June, and July so be it. I’m not here to change your mind. But let’s look beyond the horses and the trainers. What really separates the Triple Crown from all other races is its ability to attract the general public, most of whom have either a casual interest or no interest in the sport. It is just the place to be, and to many the ultimate party where they can place a bet and boast about picking the winner. So my question is this: do you have any idea what the attention span is of the general public? Does anyone really believe they are going to maintain their interest in the Triple Crown over a two-month period, spilling over into July and the holiday weekend when thoughts are now of family picnics, vacations, and trips to the beach or the nearest lake? Racing fans are already planning their trips to Saratoga and many New Yorkers and New Jerseyites are looking ahead to the Haskell Invitational, which will suffer greatly being crammed tightly between the Belmont and Travers.  And so will the Belmont, as few if any trainers will want to come back and run in the Travers dropping back from a mile and a half without a shorter prep and not giving their horse some down time between the spring and summer season, which they would with the Belmont remaining the first Saturday in June.

From a TV standpoint, remember, Fox is now televising the Belmont and they are going to make sure the race is run when it suits them best. And you can be sure they are going to want interest in the final leg of the Triple Crown to carry over from the Derby and Preakness and not stand as an island in July trying to generate interest from the Derby run two months earlier.

And finally, more horses get hurt training than in a race. The Derby horses are still on an adrenaline high coming off the Derby, which is why they run so well in the Preakness. Imagine a horse winning the Derby and Preakness in May and June and then getting hurt training or in his stall or coming down with a fever the week of the Belmont. “Oh, if only the Belmont had been run in June, I would have had a Triple Crown winner.” You know it’s going to work both ways.

Anyway, just some thoughts to ponder before we start tinkering with something that might not need tinkering with after all.


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112 Responses to “2022 Preakness Stakes Follow-up”

  1. Fatpiano says:


  2. Deacon says:

    RIP Lester Piggot you were one of the best.
    Nijinsky & Sir Ivor were 2 of your standout mounts.

  3. EddieF says:

    Our friend of the blog Matthew W, as I recall, likes Skippylongstocking and Nest in the Belmont Stakes. Nest, a filly, is out of a mare by AP Indy, the winner of the 1992 Belmont Stakes. Nest’s sire is Curlin, who lost the 2007 Belmont Stakes by a head to Rags to Riches — a filly. A win by Nest would be sweet!

  4. Matthew W says:

    The Arlington Million was an event! An invitation for the world, and that first Million turned out to be the best…

    You can see the entire broadcast of the inaugural race online, complete with the misidentified winner, and an intriguing moment between a British commentator and the trainer and jockey of the race 3rd place finisher—I can’t recall the trainer’s name, can’t recall the horse’s name but I do recall the rider–Lestor Piggott….

    The commentator kept bringing up the great rider’s 6-lb overweight, even asking Piggott about it—he sheepishly answered perhaps it helped to have the extra weight pushing her (he rode a filly) and the trainer cut the commentator off by saying they had the world’s best jockey up for their filly, who ran well that day….

    Lessor Piggott was the Bill Shoemaker of British Horse Racing…

    • Matthew W says:

      3yo filly Madam Gay was the aforementioned horse…she ran huge, was trying to beat John Henry….the announcer might’ve had a wager on her, as he kept bringing up the 6 lbs….Piggott was a tall rider, and he rode and lived some 20lbs underweight…he didn’t seem to gain it after he retired, sort of like Pincay—everyone said he’d balloon up to 150 when he hangs it up, he is still riding weight..

  5. Davids says:

    Steve, you write up on the Preakness Stakes was more exciting, enthralling than the race itself. When the Derby winner skips the Preakness Stakes so does most of the interest. I have to admit I was more concerned with Manchester City winning the Premier League than the Preakness last weekend. Man City ended up winning but not without a real scare.

    As for altering the date of the Preakness Stakes, if you gave a 4 week break after the Derby you may keep most of the better horses and more interest in the Preakness Stakes. Would that be too long to keep the non racing masses interested? Leave the Preakness to the Belmont Stakes break the same three weeks.

    Anyway, the Epsom Oaks and Epsom Derby will be run this Friday and Saturday. Emily Upjohn almost seems a lock in the Oaks while Michael Stoute’s Desert Crown looks formidable. Very chalky. Thanks again, Steve.

    • Steve Haskin says:

      Thank David. Unfortunately we dont get TVG here in Connecticut.. Assume theyre showing it. Wish I could watch it.

      • Davids says:

        Steve, you could use a VPN and join ITV Hub. They are showing the races. Sometimes these VPNs work, sometimes they are blocked anyway. Or you could join but they are fee based.

        • Steve haskin says:

          What language is that? LOL

          • Davids says:

            Steve, I hope they do something special in remembrance of Lester Piggott. Truly, one of the great names in racing.

        • Lynda King says:

          Davids, yes there are several options for watching Thoroughbred horse racing.
          The caveat however is that on everyone I have tried to subscribe to, one has to establish a betting account.
          For people that live in many states in the US, that is not doable because the state does not allow pari-mutual betting and if one tries to establish an off shore account (in other countries) it can result in fines if one is caught.
          Gambling winnings over a certain amount are reported to the IRS and the state taxation departments.

          It seems that the “gambling” sites have tried to monopolize the coverage of the races here in the

          • Davids says:

            Yes, Lynda, I know the problems. HRTV used to be wonderful, they inevitably covered most of the marquee races around the world. Then TVG destroyed that by taking them over.

            “America’s Day at the Races” on YouTube has been a godsend here.

  6. Larry Buzby says:

    Hi Steve. Another great column. As I’ve said before, I love the Tartan/Nerud history. So glad you are still writing it.

  7. TommyMc says:

    Speaking of John Nerud, Todd Pletcher says that Life is Good will be using the G2 $250,000 John A. Nerud on July 2nd at Belmont as a prep for the Whitney at Saratoga on August 6th. Maybe they are thinking Breeders Cup Classic this year instead of the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile.

  8. Matthew W says:

    Wow Steve they’re working Rich Strike before the crowd tomorrow, you are so right, about them making the most of their time as Derby winners!

  9. DTG says:

    These were the offshore odds on display Tuesday morning for the Belmont Stakes, which will be run June 11 at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.

    Belmont Stakes Odds
    Mo Donegal 3-1 Todd Pletcher Irad Ortiz Jr.
    Rich Strike 7-2 Eric Reed Sonny Léon
    We the People 7-2 Rodolphe Brisset Flavien Prat
    Creative Minister 5-1 Kenny McPeek Brian Hernandez Jr.
    Nest (f) 8-1 Todd Pletcher Jose Ortiz
    Ethereal Road 10-1 D. Wayne Lukas Luis Sáez
    Skippylongstocking 11-1 Saffie Joseph Jr. Júnior Alvarado
    Barber Road 16-1 Johnny Ortiz Rey Gutiérrez
    Golden Glider 20-1 Mark Casse Dylan Davis
    Kuchar 33-1 Rodolphe Brisset Florent Géroux
    f – Filly

    • Matthew W says:

      Skippylongstocking and Nest….will be my plays….the longer they race I like fillies more, because the longer they run the closer they get, per stamina—plus Skippy had a very wide trip in the Preakness! I can envision him sitting a close to the pace trip in the Belmont!

      • Matthew W says:

        7/2 on Rich Strike….perhaps the 12 furlongs will aid him, it’s a trip that is nowadays a rare one, 12 furlongs dirt, used to be the championship distance…I’ll let Richie beat me!

    • Liam says:

      I’d be interested in a prop wager if I were in Vegas for the Belmont. I don’t think Rich Strike gets within 10 lengths of the winner.

      • EddieF says:

        I tend to agree. No Derby/Belmont winner (11 total) has ever skipped the Preakness. But TC history may be a thing of the past. 😉

    • EddieF says:

      I don’t think that Barber Road will be as high as 16-1, but even at 12-1 he may be bettable. Closers do win the Belmont occasionally and at good odds, and BR has proven he can run with the best.

    • Scott S says:

      These are offshore odds as of Friday May 27th as follows:

      Mo Donegal 2.5/1

      Rich Strike 5.35/1

      We The People 3/1

      Ethereal Road 11/1

      Creative Minister 7.5/1

      Barber Road 13.5/1

      Skippylongstocking 14/1

      Nest 8.75/1

      Kuchar 33/1

      Golden Gilder 22/1

  10. TommyMc says:

    Five Stakes races at Santa Anita on Saturday: 1 with 5 horses, 3 with 6 horses, and 1 with 7 horses. That’s before scratches. This problem with short fields in Stakes races is sweeping the nation. Though not yet as bad as in California. Smaller horse population, too much racing, and lots of options for the Stars of the sport to choose from are possible causes. Santa Anita races mostly 3 days a week until June 19th. Maybe it would help them to go back to their traditional closing date in late April.

    • TommyMc says:

      Even a place like Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas struggles to get full fields. Lone Star’s biggest day of the year is on Monday’s Holiday program. They were only able to attract as many as 10 horses in 2 of their 12 races. Trainer Brad Cox supported that card bigtime last year. I think that he might be suspended. I could be wrong. It’s hard to keep track of when all these trainer suspensions begin and end. Whatever. His absence this year is obvious.

      • TommyMc says:

        Here’s a note: Every time I submit a post mentioning a 3 for 3 former BB horse that’s now trained by Sean McCarthy, it gets flagged for moderation. I don’t know what that name means or even what language it is. But, whatever it is, it must be bad. I almost expect the FBI to show up at my door any minute. I’m going to try submitting the comment without the horse’s name.

        • TommyMc says:

          Trainer John Sadler has Elector entered in a $200,000 7-furlong race on Sunday at Santa Anita against BrickyardRide and the $400,000 Steve Sexton Mile on Monday at Lone Star against a former BB horse that’s now trained by Sean McCarthy. The extra $200k in purse money could be worth the shipping hassle.

          • TommyMc says:

            Nope! It was flagged again. Maybe it’s the name of the race that they don’t like.

          • Matthew W says:

            Triple Bend was a big black colt, with a long mane, he was photogenic! I like Exaulted, whose last race was the 2021 Triple Bend….trying to beat that fast red chestnut Brickyard Ride..

        • TommyMc says:

          Nope! Flagged again. It must be the name of the 12th race at Lone Star on Monday that they don’t like.

  11. EddieF says:

    The last Kentucky Derby winner to debut as early as April or May of its 2-year-old season was California Chrome, who debuted on 4/26/2013. Before that, the last was Sunny’s Halo, who debuted on 5/9/1982. Since then, four Derby winners debuted in June: Grindstone (6/11), Real Quiet (6/15), Charismatic (6/20), and Nyquist (6/5).

    Proceeding with that caveat in mind, my attention was drawn to Race 1 tomorrow at Churchill Downs. The team of Repole Stable, St. Elias Stable, and Todd Pletcher will send out Summonyourcourage, a son of Practical Joke out of an Empire Maker dam. He sold for $500k last year at Keeneland. In the same race, the homebred Justafever also debuts. He is by Justify out of the G1 producing dam Nina Fever. Justafever’s half sister Nickname won the Frizette Stakes in 2015.

    • Liam says:

      Good stuff EddieF. Interesting to see that the 4 in June were from California based trainers as was the 1 in April.

      • EddieF says:

        Thanks, Liam. That hadn’t occurred to me. Very interesting indeed. Coincidence? Or was a west-coast philosophy at play?

    • Nelson Maan says:

      Repole seems to be fond of long names… Summonyourcourage a long one in the sort of Commandperformance.

      The son of Practical Joke got a Derby-able maternal side sharing the same second dam with Nyquist.

      I am also keeping an eye on Owen’s Leap (Bolt D’Oro – Defy Gravity by Bandini) who is related to another Derby winner Super Saver… the inbreed to A.P. Indy is bound to start appearing in the pedigrees of many future Stakes horses…!
      Justify had a promising start with Tahoma and homebred Justafever seems to be a precocious and very fast one for the giant TC champion.

      Charlie Whiskey (Classic Empire-Cara Mia by Dixie Union) will be better with maturity and distance.

      It is never too early to start categorizing two-year old prospects and trying to divine the next great champion…! exciting until an under dog enters the Derby at the last minute … then everything get a anecdotal mean…LOL

      • EddieF says:

        Never liked names with closed up spaces. Seems lazy just to get it under the maximum characters. There have been a whole lot of horses with sardine-can names, and not a single one has ever won the Kentucky Derby…or finished second…or third. Don’t they know Derby history? 😉

        Tom Amoss’s colt is certainly one to watch. Maybe even in this race. Amoss scored last spring at CD with several first timers at good odds. In fact, when his firsters were live on the board, they lost.

      • Liam says:

        Nice call on Owen’s Leap Nelson.

        • Nelson Maan says:

          Thanks Liam… Not a big payout but the son of Bolt D’Oro won convincingly. He enjoyed a better trip than that of Justafever (hesitant claustrophobic early) and Summonyourcourage who had a slow start. These early 2-year-old races are enjoyable foretastes for Saratoga…!

          After seeing the 2-year-old FORTE winning impressively the first at Belmont I understood why Pletcher /Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable took Summonyourcourage to Churchill.

          Forte reminds me of Wit… I hope the new prospect by Violence is more durable than Wit as to be able to participate in the Triple Crown trail.

  12. Lynda King says:

    There is hope for the Tartan Farm Horse Cemetery and the house that Mr. Nerud lived in on the farm though the plans have not yet been finalized.

    I just found a video named “Ocala’s Historic Tartan Farm And Its Horse Cemetery: A Take 5 for Florida History 14” on you tube.
    Be patient and watch the entire video to the end.

  13. Lynda King says:

    In response to question(s) regarding the Tartan Farm

    Development plans for Winding Oaks Farm firm up
    Ocala Gazette May 18,2022

    During the May 17, 2022 city council meeting, the council unanimously took another step forward in finalizing their agreement with Cradle Holdings, Inc. to develop Winding Oaks Farm.

    The 1008-acre farm was annexed into the city in 2017.

    The project’s development includes the following uses and intensities:

    590,000 square feet of commercial retail space

    60,000 square feet of automobile dealership

    416,000 square feet of general office space

    2,068 single family units

    1,080 multi-family units

    Winding Oaks Farm was comprised of two farms (1,000 acres or so total), Mockingbird Farm and Tartan Farm.

    Some 700 acres of the farm were once part of historic Tartan Farms, a constant presence at the top of the nation’s leading breeders’ lists for 18 long years before it was dispersed in the late 1980s. Dozens of stakes winners and numerous champions have been raised on this land when it was Tartan Farms and then Mockingbird. At one of the farm’s highest points is a cemetery containing the graves of some of these great horses, including champions Dr. Fager, Ta Wee, Codex, Minnesota Mac, Intentionally, My Dear Girl, and influential Florida sire, Valid Appeal. The sense of history is indeed palpable.

    • Lynda King says:

      The owner of Winding Oaks Farm was Eugene Melnyk, A native of Toronto, Melnyk, 45, owns the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League and is CEO and chairman of Biovail Corp., a pharmaceutical company.

    • Lynda King says:

      Back in the late 80’s I took several trips to Lexington, Kentucky with my best friend who bred, raised, trained and showed Arabian horses. She was delivering broodmares and foals to a farm called Paramount Arabians outside of Lexington and would back haul broodmares to her farm in Virginia. She was in a partnership with the woman (another good friend of mine) who managed Paramount Arabians. The Arabian farm was part of a larger farm that also raised purebred cattle. The owner was a self-made man who, as I recall, made a fortune in the coal mining industry in Kentucky. The farm bred and raised only pure Polish Arabians and stood several stallions. One was a racing line Arabian that was shuttled between Poland and Paramount. The farm had around 60 broodmares, was on the cutting edge of AI breeding of Arabians and implanting fertilized embryos in surrogate broodmares. The farm obtained one of the last living daughters of a prominent Arabian sire named Negatiw. The mare, who was in her late 20’s, was too old to have a foal so the idea was to harvest her remaining eggs, fertilize them in the lab and then implant the fertilized eggs into a surrogate mare. It was actually quite amazing to see purebred Arabian foals running around the pastures with their surrogate draft breed dams. The farm was without a doubt one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. the owner had already started building nice single family houses on part of the property. From what I was told, after the owner died, the farm was sold for redevelopment. During my trips to Lexington it was sad to see so many beautiful Thoroughbred farms being gobbled up and razed to make way for “development”.

      Recently, where I live now, a 500 acre farm was sold to a corporation with ties to Bill Gates that will be building a solar panel farm on the land. This is happening all over the United States, farmland is being sold for either development as in the case of the Tartan Farm or for building solar panel and windmill farms.

      Something similar happened to my Dad’s farm. My Mom decided to sell the house and land about 12 years after my Dad passed away and buy a townhouse in the city. To this day I cannot stand to go by the house I was raised in and look at the pastures that my horses and my Dad’s dairy cows grazed in and see the land subdivided with houses built on it.

      I do not know what will happen to the cemetery on the land that was Tartan Farm. Today’s society has little use for history, for tradition and most Americans are totally unaware that every year less and less arable land is available for raising food and that other countries, especially China, now owns 25 million acres of American farmland.

      • Diana says:

        Last thing we need in ocala is more development and more retirees. But theyve already started the process and have already put roads and development in this farm 🙁

      • Ms Blacktype says:

        Excellent research, Linda. I just googled Eugene Melnyk and see he died in March. Hence the liquidation of the property.

    • Steve Haskin says:

      Terrible and sickening. Where is Michael Blowen?

  14. Terri Zeitz says:

    What a great article about John Nerud and his legacy of the Preakness winners developed from his breeding program. He was the most brilliant of breeders and one of the best trainers in the last century. It reminds me of several articles you have written about interviews you have done a few years ago with the late Mr. Nerud.
    How fortunate you have been to be in the epicenter of horse racing and to have known John Nerud, Charlie Whittingham, and H. Allen Jerkens. What a blessing to have know these great horsemen.
    P.S. I like that Eric Reed, the trainer of Rich Strike, is all about doing what is right for the horse. He had a wonderful exercise rider and jockey that helped him train Ritchie to run between horses and to overcome his issues.
    And there is a great story about Eric Reed’s father, trainer Herbert Reed in SI. He overcame being a poor orphan and traveled from West Virgina to Kentucky as a 9 year old boy to find a home with relatives. He found work in the backside and learned from the ground up. The story about the current Kentucky Derby winner and his connections is potentially a story to be shared on the Silver Screen.

  15. Deacon says:

    Brilliant read Steve, anytime I see the names Tartan Stables, John Nerud & Dr. Fager in one of your blogs I perk up like a starving cat sitting in front of an open can of tuna.
    How you dig this stuff up is way beyond me. All I know is that reading your blogs makes my day.
    As for the Preakness, it was very ho-hum & mundane to me. You’d think that with only a 9 horse field bot Secret Oath & Epicenter would not have gotten squeezed back.
    Keep up the great work maestro, I am a fan for life…

  16. Linda Mann says:

    The way horse racing seems to build a fan base is by having horses race often or over several years, i.e., California Chrome, Z, Black Caviar, Winx. So if building a bigger fan base is a priority, then figuring out a way to encourage owners and trainers to race top level horses more often or longer seems like it would work. Otherwise, all that catches a lot of attention is and will be the Triple Crown. Changing the timing of those three races probably won’t make much difference to casual fans.

    • EddieF says:

      Linda, it seems that the days of building a fan base are long gone and not likely to ever return.

      • Terri Zeitz says:

        It’s not that long ago that Zenyatta, Mucho Macho, and California Chrome ran.
        A horse with a less popular pedigree will run for a longer amount of time. Mucho Macho Man ran from less than 2 to almost 8:years of age.

      • Lynda King says:

        I have to somewhat disagree EddieF about the days of building a fan base being long gone and not likely to return.
        The reason is that it is the horse that builds the fan base, not the trainer or the owner or the breeder though sometimes the backstory on the owner, breeder or trainer can certainly contribute to “fans”.

        Americans (for the most part) love the underdog or someone from the wrong side of the tracks who succeeds through pure determination and never gives up. And it is not always about winning but how the game is played.

        The most recent example of a horse with a huge fan base is Hot Rod Charlie. He took second in the Derby, the Belmont and the Dubai World Cup and his record to date is 11-3-2-3, $2,171,200. He fights hard in every race and he simply does not give up.

        • EddieF says:

          Lynda, I admire your optimism. But if you asked 100 randomly selected Americans, I’d be surprised if ONE would recognize the name of Hot Rod Charlie … or any other current race horse. Well, maybe one would say, “Oh, there’s the horse who failed the drug test. I can’t remember his name.”

          • Lynda King says:

            If I asked 100 randomly selected Americans if they could name a current race horse they would probably ask “what is a race horse?”

  17. Linda Mann says:

    Thanks Steve, as always, you help me feel more settled about the outcome of some of these races. This one was so…. I don’t know what..disappointing? The horse that really caught my attention in the Preakness was the horse that came in third – Creative Minister. He looked good in the post parade, and looked good in the race. From what I read, if I remember right, he’s a late bloomer, so might be fun to watch going forward, and not as likely to retire after one year, assuming he’s not injured.

    I’m curious what the rest of you, especially you, Steve, think of him