Sunday, March 9, 2014
By Nancy Kercheval / Bloomberg News
BALTIMORE — Stuart Janney III's family missed owning Triple Crown champion Secretariat in a coin flip, and lost a Kentucky Derby winner by selling a broodmare before she gave birth.
Exercise rider Jennifer Patterson gallops Preakness Stakes favorite and Kentucky Derby winner Orb at Pimlico Race Course on Friday in Baltimore. The Preakness is scheduled for Saturday.
The Associated Press
Orb trainer Claude McGaughey, center, is flanked by owners Ogden Phipps, left, and Stuart Janney after winning the 139th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4 in Louisville, Ky.
The Associated Press
Now the chairman of Bessemer Group Inc. finally has a contender in Orb, the 3-year-old Derby winner with five straight victories going into the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on Saturday. The colt is the even-money early favorite to win.
Janney, 64, his cousin and co-owner Odgen Mills "Dinny" Phipps and trainer Shug McGaughey wait for their horses to prove they are fit for the Triple Crown races. Janney has said he believes many race horses are still too immature when the races are held early in their third year.
"He didn't like to force them into these races when they weren't ready," McGaughey, 62, said during an interview at the Preakness barn that houses the contenders at Pimlico. "What's been special is how he matured physically and mentally during the winter. It's astonishing. I've never seen anything like it in all the years I've been doing this and all the horses I've been around."
Orb was the first Derby entry for Janney, who never got the chance to realize Secretariat was ready for the biggest event in thoroughbred horse racing.
The coin flip in 1969 was between Penny Chenery of Meadow Stables and Janney's uncle, Ogden Phipps of Wheatley Stable, which at the time owned 1957 Derby third-place finisher and Preakness winner Bold Ruler, according to the Journal of Kentucky History and Genealogy. The two went to the office of New York Racing Association Chairman Alfred Vanderbilt II, where Phipps won the flip to select the Bold Ruler foal of his choice.
Phipps had pick of Somethingroyal's weanling filly, Hasty Matelda's colt or Somethingroyal's unborn foal. He picked the filly. Chenery got the other two, including the unborn foal who would run under the name of Secretariat and win the Triple Crown in 1973. The filly, The Bride, ran in four races without earning any money.
Two years after Secretariat's run, Janney's parents put their champion filly Ruffian up against Derby winner Foolish Pleasure in a match race. Ruffian, undefeated in 10 starts against other fillies, broke down after a half-mile and was euthanized the following day when her broken ankle couldn't be repaired.
Janney and Phipps had another Derby miss when they sold Supercharger, who was in foal with Super Saver, the 2010 winner, to WinStar Farm for $160,000.
Phipps, 72, almost did it again when he recommended that Liberty Lady be sold. After all, she hadn't produced any great runners. Janney convinced him to breed her with Malibu Moon, the son of A.P. Indy. The result was Orb.
Orb won the Derby by 2½ lengths, the colt's fifth straight victory since Nov. 24. Orb won the Fountain of Youth by one-half length on Feb. 13 and the Florida Derby by 2¾ lengths on March 30, both at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
"I've never seen a horse develop over the winter like he did," said McGaughey. "I've never had a horse that broke his maiden on Nov. 24 and matured and developed the way his horse did – never. He did it all on his own. He convinced us he was ready when he won the Florida Derby. He took us there."
After the Derby, jockey Gary Stevens who came out of a seven-year retirement to return to racing, said Orb was to be feared by the contenders. Stevens is riding D. Wayne Lukas' Oxbow, who ran sixth in Kentucky and was given 15-1 odds.
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