thoroughbred

War Horse and Those Amazing Equine Actors

by Kristin Berkery

If you haven’t seen War Horse and you don’t like spoilers, you may want to read something else on ilovehorses.net. I’ve tried not to reveal too much about the climactic parts of the movie (of which there are many) while still providing some teasers.
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Who Won the 1968 Kentucky Derby?

by Kristin Berkery

Dancer's Image after winning the 1968 Kentucky Derby. Photo by George Featherston, Thoroughbred Times


Follow the links in the article to see related books that I think are an interesting read.        — Kristin

A Trick Question
Who won the 1968 Kentucky Derby? If you look at most listings of Derby winners, Forward Pass is shown as the winner — but you’ll see an asterisk (*) or the words “via DQ” next to his name. What’s that about?

It’s a story mostly unknown to racing fans born in the 1970s and later. At one time, there was a different horse listed as the winner of the ’68 Derby on shot glasses and the sign on the back of the grandstand at Churchill Downs. The horse that time has almost forgotten is Dancer’s Image, a son of Native Dancer who was nicknamed the “Grey Ghost” by his many fans.
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The Horse Who Played Phar Lap

by Kristin Berkery

The uncanny resemblance between the real Phar Lap (left) and his movie double, Towering Inferno (right)

Phar Lap was such an exceptional individual that the producer of the movie Phar Lap wanted the actor playing the big red horse to be one-of-a-kind, too. The movie’s horsemaster and head trainer searched for months with no luck. Finally, the two were visiting a friend on a ranch (called a “station” in Australia) 800 miles northeast of Melbourne, Australia, when they spotted a horse they were interested in.
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Unexpected Greatness: How Phar Lap Galloped into Australia’s Heart

A dirt-cheap colt becomes a national hero, an immortal icon, and an enduring mystery.

Phar Lap in 1930 with jockey Jim Pike

Phar Lap in 1930 with jockey Jim Pike

by Kristin Berkery

Phar Lap with his devoted groom, Tommy Woodcock

An Unremarkable Beginning
On October 4, 1926, during the southern hemisphere’s spring, a chestnut Thoroughbred colt was born in Timaru, New Zealand. As a yearling he was purchased at auction for only 160 guineas, or $35 in U.S. currency — about $465 today, adjusted for inflation. Certainly no one expected the colt to grow up and become an Australian national hero within five years.
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Ferdinand’s Legacy Saves the Lives of Ex-Racehorses

by Kristin Berkery

Ferdinand winning the 1986 Kentucky Derby with Willie Shoemaker aboard.

I remember watching Ferdinand win the 1986 Kentucky Derby on TV. It was a surprise win, with the chestnut colt coming from last place and maneuvering, under the expert hands of Willie Shoemaker, through a hole near the rail and pulling ahead of the leaders.

Ferdinand wasn’t a brilliant runner — he lost the Preakness and Belmont Stakes and his interest seemed to wane the moment he took the lead in a race, but he was named 1987 U.S. Horse of Year after beating Alysheba, the 1987 Kentucky Derby winner, in that year’s Breeders’ Cup.

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