In Fall 2019, the University Press of Kentucky will publish a book by Peter Lee on the champion racehorse Spectacular Bid, the winner of the 1979 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. The book chronicles the life of one of the most underrated racehorses in history, as well as the horse’s colorful cast of characters.
On June 9, 2003, Spectacular Bid, one of the greatest racehorses in modern history, died at the age of 27. His coat, once a battleship gray, had turned snowy-white. His world-record syndication at stud for $22 million had turned into a $3,500 price for stud services, now at Milfer Farm in Unadilla, NY. Bid’s death came 24 years to the day after his worst racing day ever: a loss in the Belmont Stakes that cost him horse racing’s Triple Crown.… Read More »Two Very Bad Days
Six horses challenged Spectacular Bid in the Californian Stakes at Hollywood Park on June 8, 1980. As expected, Spectacular Bid was assigned the highest weight—130 pounds. At about 7:30 that morning, trainer Bud Delp sent Bid to the track to get in his morning jog. Toward the end of the jog, Bid’s hind foot nicked the right front hoof, knocking the shoe off. Delp called his farrier, Jack Reynolds, who lived in Detroit, and Reynolds said he would catch the next plane… Read More »June 8, 1980: the $10,000 Horseshoe
In 1958, the horse racing world was all talking about Silky Sullivan, the horse who came back from 28 lengths behind to win the Santa Anita Derby. Sullivan was so revered by the public that they installed him as the second favorite at 2-1, tied with Calumet Farm’s Tim Tam. The favorites were the dual entry of Jewel’s Reward and Ebony Pearl. None of the favorites, especially Silky Sullivan, were at the front early in the Derby. That distinction belonged… Read More »Triple Crown Near Misses: Belmont Breaks Tim Tam