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Jaycito has Staying Power for Derby

Runnymede Farm is one of the country’s oldest Thoroughbred nurseries, and may well be the oldest to remain in the same family throughout its history. Founded by Colonel Ezekiel Clay in 1867 on land purchased for him by his father, Brutus Clay, near Paris, Ky., the farm has been owned by four generations of Clays. It is the birthplace of Kentucky Derby winners Ben Brush (1896), Agile (1905), and Count Turf (1951) (though the last-named was bred while the farm was under lease to Dr. Porter Miller). It is also the birthplace of four members of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame: the aforementioned Ben Brush, Hanover, Miss Woodford, and Roamer.

Current owner Catesby W. Clay is one of the grand old men of Kentucky racing and breeding, having been born in 1923. He has kept up the family tradition of breeding fine horses quite honorably, being responsible (alone or in partnership) for 2001 Japanese champion older male Agnes Digital and grade/group I winners Marylebone, Palace Episode, and Divine Park. But he has never bred a Kentucky Derby winner or a horse considered worthy of the Hall of Fame.

Whether Runnymede-bred Jaycito will get so far is anyone’s guess, but after his win October 2 in the Norfolk Stakes (gr. I), he will certainly get a shot at further glory. The runner-up in his first two starts, the Zayat Stables color bearer broke both his maiden and Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) winner J P’s Gusto’s four-race winning streak at the same time, outdueling his rival in the manner of a colt with both heart and stamina.

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