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The Kentucky Derby Post

2014 Kentucky Derby: Who’s Your Daddy?

Smarty's Echo Kee 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire


Breeding has since changed. Racing in general has altered its course with updated factors that now play into training a champion as well. Even as the majority of exceptional horses that were gifted 3-yr-olds, as well as sires, are not so common, the chances of it occurring again are here.


This weekend the Road to the 2014 Kentucky Derby takes us to the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, Louisiana for the G3 LeComte Stakes. Here you’ll find Smarty’s Echo, by 2004 Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones, racing for the chance to qualify for the Kentucky Derby and a shot at becoming the next Father, Son team to accomplish the rare but thrilling achievement.


Since the inaugural Kentucky Derby in 1875 a total of 13 winners reached the pinnacle of racing just like their sire had done before. The last time the son of Kentucky Derby winner also wore the roses was in 1996. It was Grindstone, by Unbridled, that stuck his nose in front of a hard charging Cavonnier and rode off into the sunset. The Kentucky Derby would be Grindstone's final race as he was retired shortly thereafter. However, the champion owned and bred by Overbrook Farm will always be remembered for joining this elusive club.



Derby Winner

Sire - Derby Win



Unbridled - 1990



Seattle Slew* - 1977



Swaps - 1955



Determine - 1954



Ponder - 1949


Count Turf

Count Fleet* - 1943



Bold Venture - 1936



Pensive - 1944



Bold Venture - 1936


Count Fleet*

Reigh Count - 1928



Gallant Fox* - 1930


Burgoo King

Bubbling Over - 1926



Halma - 1895

*Triple Crown Winner


It’s a family thing! Highlighting this list of proud papa's is Pensive, the 1944 Kentucky Derby winner that sired eventual winner Ponder. From there Ponder was not finished following in his sires footsteps as he then became the father of the 1956 Kentucky Derby winner Needles. Now that’s what I call family too tough for even the Mandelbaum’s to handle.


But, there is one trio that outmatched their triumphs. In 1928, Reigh Count wore the roses and later became the sire of another Kentucky bred, Count Fleet, the 1943 Triple Crown winner. From there Count Fleet would sire Count Turf the Kentucky Derby champion in 1951.


As for the best father son duo of all time look no further than Gallant Fox and Omaha, the second and third Triple Crown winners of all time in 1930 and ‘35. Foaled and buried at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky Gallant Fox to this day remains the only United States Triple Crown winner to also sire a Triple Crown winner.


There was another Triple Crown winner that became the sire of a second generation Kentucky Derby champion. As the only undefeated Triple Crown winner in history Seattle Slew went on to become a successful sire after retirement. Included in his list of champion sons, grandsons, great grandsons and beyond was Swale in 1984.


But the most successful father of them all in this category is Bold Venture, the only Kentucky Derby winner to breed two Kentucky Derby winners. The first was legendary as Assault became the seventh Triple Crown winner in 1946. Two years later Middleground would follow and become the second son of Bold Venture to wear the roses on the first Saturday in May.


Now let's move back to 2014. And here is when we’ll find out if Smarty Jones will become the 13th Kentucky Derby winner to sire a second generation Kentucky Derby champion. I’m not sure if Smarty’s Echo has what it takes to get there but I welcome the opportunity.


Although he wasn’t my pick I still caught the Smarty Jones fever after the Derby. And that’s including the fact that one of my two choices that day finished runner up. Out of all of the close calls and failed attempts at the Triple Crown I have never been more sure that it was going to happen than I was in 2004. The bandwagon was chugging full steam ahead when the kid from Pennsylvania came rolling into Belmont Park and I was all aboard.


Depending on your opinion, Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in '98 and Sunday Silence in '89 may have been more talented than Smarty Jones but it was just one of those years, and the story packed a lot of punch. But in the end Birdstone, by Grindstone, spoiled the party and took home the final jewel.


However, I still consider Smarty Jones an excellent champion. I also would not mind seeing his legacy carried on as one the rare sires in Kentucky Derby history. But will the winner of the 2004 Count Fleet Stakes (coincidence?) become the next?


Smarty Jones’ work is done and it’s up to Smarty’s Echo to take it from here. He showed a lot of promise when he fought gamely trying to hold off a late bid by We Miss Artie in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. But, that runner-up effort was almost forgotten after a disappointing 10th place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.


And that was the last time he raced. Now, after a nice layoff, Smarty’s Echo has the chance to return fresh and start and earning some points. It begins with the Lecomte Stakes this weekend which should give us a good indication on where this story will lead to next. His chances look pretty solid and this shouldn't be considered a must win but a step in the right direction is necessary. 


As for his chances at chasing history, it may not be in his cards. However, I'm still willing to predict this father son trend will happen again in the not too distant future.   


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Older Comments about 2014 Kentucky Derby: Who’s Your Daddy?...

I really like this colt.
I still haven't matched the feats of Dr. Zipse ... but, I'm trying!
Smarty Jones was the best!
Interesting take. Smarty Jones entered stud I think in 2005 and so far none of his sons have been competitive at the graded stakes level, 9 furlongs or longer. It doesn’t appear that his stamina is being passed along. I know Empire Maker ran 2nd in the 2003 Derby, but he’s put 2 sons on the board in the Derby so far.
I really like Smarty's Echo during BC weekend, he ran very poorly however. I think in the LeComte that Got Shades has a real shot. Pollard's Vision is a very underated sire. You don't see a ton of his progeny but they can be runners especially on dirt. His fillies tend to be the best runners but there have been a few colts of his of late that have shown promise and I think this one has a live look with Albarado aboard. This analysis is without my bias towards Pollard's Vision runners, we own a filly by him and are very excited for her to run come April.

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About Me

Meet Bryan Brinkmeyer 

Growing up across the river from the Bluegrass State I was able to spend a lot of summer days at Ellis Park in Henderson, KY. And, it was there that my attraction to the sport of Kings began. In the spring of 2000, I made my inaugural Kentucky Derby appearance and the tradition continues annually because there is no other city in the racing world like Louisville, KY on Derby Day. 


Although the story of a Kentucky Derby winner is legendary, a champions trail is what The Kentucky Derby Post is all about and a pleasure to cover. It all begins when Juvenile season starts and continues until the field is set, the picks are in and the roses are awarded. 

Twitter: @thederbypost



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