Winning the Derby is the dream of almost everyone in the sport, and those who say otherwise are totally lying. But what happens after you reach the top? Turns out, while most go on to find later success, a decent chunk horses never saw the winners’ circle ever again! Who are all those horses who suffer from Post-Derby Depression?
2013 Orb, the royally bred most blue-blooded horse of all time was the favorite loading into the gate coming in hot off a four-race win streak. He had a solid win in Kentucky on a sloppy track, raced four more times in the Preakness, Belmont, Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup finishing no better than third. He’s now standing at stud at Claiborne Farm for $25,000.
2010 Super Saver, giving Grade One and Done Todd Pletcher his first Kentucky Derby win, Super Saver entered the gate as second choice behind Lookin’ At Lucky. Naturally, the next move was the Preakness where he finished eighth. Raced in the Haskell and Travers, Super Saver failed to finish in the money in both. He’s now at stud at WinStar Farm for $65,000 and has sired Breeders’ Cup and Eclipse Award winner Runhappy.
2009 Mine That Bird, the second longest shot to ever win the Derby at 50-1, the weird mix of being a Canadian and Southwestern horse came out of no where when he won at Churchill Downs. He came in second in the Preakness, third in the Belmont which almost validated his win, however he had a lackluster career where he had throat surgery and a trainer switch to D. Wayne Lukas and at four never finished better than fifth. Today he’s just doing whatever and pops up every now and then at random events.
2006 Barbaro, this is admittedly awkward so we’ll let this one slide since you all know the story.
2001 Monarchos won the Derby on a lightning fast surface becoming the second horse to win in under two minutes. He threw in two subpar performances in the Preakness and Belmont, and took time off and had a bad return at four and was retired. He’s currently at stud at Nuckols Farm for $2,000 and has sired Breeders’ Cup and Eclipse Award winner Informed Decision.
1996 Grindstone, never much of a standout, he barely got up in time to win the Derby running in the middle of the stretch. He retired a few days later when a knee chip was found. Today he is standing at Oakhurst Farm in Oregon for a fee of $1,500 and sired Triple Crown spoiler Birdstone.
1994 Go For Gin did manage to come in second in the Preakness and Belmont, but he seemed to tail off as the year dragged on struggling to finish in the money. He was given three more races at four, but never was quite the same horse he was in the spring of his three year old year. Today he is retired from stud at the Kentucky Horse Park and is the sire of Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Albert the Great.
1970 Dust Commander took the Kentucky Derby by about five lengths. He raced a total 23 times at three but only won four times, at four he was unable to hit the board in five attempts. At stud he stood at multiple farms and even had a stint in Japan, and is now buried at the Kentucky Derby Museum. He sired 1975 Preakness winner Master Derby.
1953 Dark Star was the longshot winner of the first nationally televised Kentucky Derby and gave heavy favorite Native Dancer his only career defeat. All set for a rematch in the Preakness, Dark Star sustained a tendon injury and never raced again. His son My Dad George is one of three horses to be the favorite in all three Triple Crown races yet not win a single won. Also the sire of French Broodmare of the Year, Gazala II.
1945 Hoop Jr., owned by Fred W Hooper, was the first horse Hooper had ever owned and named the horse after his son, Fred Junior. One of the favorites for the Derby, the horse won comfortably by six lengths. Unfortunately in the Preakness Hoop Jr. bowed a tendon and never raced again. He was a mediocre sire.
1933 Brokers Tip, in 14 races in the horse’s three years on the track, he had only one win and that was the Kentucky Derby. Hey if you’re gonna win one race, might as well be that one right? Not only that, it was the “fighting finish” Kentucky Derby! He sired Market Wise who beat Whirlaway in the Jockey Club Gold Cup back when that race was a really big deal.
1926 Bubbling Over, like Grindstone, he was quickly retired after winning the Kentucky Derby due to injury after having a solid career winning the Champagne, Nursery and Blue Grass Stakes. He stood at Idle Hour Stock Farm where he sired Kentucky Derby winner Burgoo King.
1925 Flying Ebony, absolutely flew home in a sloppy Derby finishing in 2:07 3/5, he had a few more races but was unable to get it done in three tries. He was an okay stallion and his most notable song was Flying Heels who was a stakes winner from ages two through six.
1922 Morvich, with one of the best two year old seasons in the history of racing, winning all 11 of his races including the US Hotel, Saratoga Special, Hopeful, and Pimlico Futurity (now the Laurel Futurity). His first race of 1922 was the Kentucky Derby, a few weeks later he developed osselet (arthritis, basically) in one of his fetlocks and was never the same. His record as a sire reflected more his three year old year than his two year old year.
1921 Behave Yourself, with the same owner as Brokers Tip and Bubbling Over, the E. R. Bradley colt beat his stablemate and two H. P. Whitney runners, but went unplaced in the rest of his races including the Ben Ali Handicap, the Saratoga Handicap as well as the Latonia Championship. Not even a winner as a sire, E. R. Bradley sold him to the cavalry in Wyoming where he sired military horses.
1907 Pink Star, described as a “lumbering and ugly mount” and known for being a bad actor, Pink Star had an unremarkable juvenile season and was unable to win again after the Derby. In 1908 he was gelded because of his sour attitude. He lived out his days as a run of the mill farm horse and all we know about him is that he was dead as of 1914. Obviously, Pink Star was a very popular horse with the fans.
1899 Manuel, with a decent career at two, his only real win came in the Kentucky Derby just a few days after the Derby founder Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark committed suicide. A few days later in training at Churchill Downs he stepped in a hole and injured his leg. He was sold at the age of four, and died shortly thereafter.
Out of 142 horses who have won the Kentucky Derby, only 17 were never able to win again. So far at least, Nyquist might pull a Seattle Slew or maybe he’ll pull a Morvich. Who knows!
With six of those in the last 20 years. Interesting to note too that E. R. Bradley owned three of these horses, Broker’s Tip, Bubbling Over and Behave Yourself.