Timber Country made history when he won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (above) and the Preakness Stakes the following year (Photos by Horsephotos).
The first horse to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and a U.S. classic, Timber Country made a huge impact on the U.S. racing scene in a short amount of time.
The colt was named 1994 champion 2-year-old male after a season that included winning two Grade 1 races among four victories in seven starts. Timber Country’s final race of the year was in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, where he won by two lengths on the Churchill Downs dirt main track, which many thought would boost his Kentucky Derby chances.
Returning in March of 1995, Timber Country failed to win any of his three Kentucky Derby prep races, finishing on the board in two of them and fourth in the Santa Anita Derby. Sent off as the 3.40-to-1 favorite as part of a coupled entry with star filly Serena’s Song in the “Run for the Roses,” Timber Country continued his streak of not quite getting to the finish line quick enough for the win. He finished third to fellow D. Wayne Lukas trainee Thunder Gulch.
Born: April 12, 1992
Sire (Father): Woodman
Dam (Mother): Fall Aspen, by Pretense
Located Today: Lex Stud, Hokkaido,Japan
The loss didn’t deter bettors from making Timber Country the favorite in the Preakness Stakes, however, as he went off at even lower odds of 1.90-to-1 in the race. He raced in sixth during the early stages and took the long way around the final turn when jockey Pat Day asked him to go five wide. The move paid off as he was clear of traffic in the stretch and briefly locked up with a pack that included Thunder Gulch in the stretch before winning by a half-length in the end.
“I'm just blessed to have two horses like these in the barn,” Lukas told the New York Times after the Preakness, referring to Thunder Gulch and Timber Country. “They'll go to New York, and let them run the rubber match in the Belmont Stakes. The horses will sort it out.”
However, the rematch was not to be as Timber Country spiked a fever the day before the Belmont Stakes and was scratched. Thunder Gulch went on to win the final jewel of the Triple Crown for Lukas.
The drama continued later that summer for Timber Country when he injured a tendon and was retired while preparing for a fall campaign.
Later that year, Timber Country was sold to Japan, where he attracted 112 mares in his first year at stud in 1996. Standing at Lex Stud in Japan, Timber Country quickly became one of the farm’s top stallions.
“He has been very important to Lex Stud as he has been one of our successful stallions over the years,” a representative from Lex Stud said.
The stallion’s sire statistics back up that statement as he produced 270 winners from 406 starters in his first five crops. After two of his crops hit the track, the stallion was leased to Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al Maktoum for the 2001 season. The lease of the stallion followed the plan of Sheikh Mohammed’s plan to breed to the best stallions he could bring to Dubai and Timber Country covered 60 mares in Dubai before returning to Japan the following year.
In his 15 crops of racing age so far, Timber Country has produced more than 650 winners with 15 group or graded stakes winners. The stallion’s highlight as a sire is champion Admire Don, who was named Japanese champion 2-year-old colt in 2001.
TIMBER COUNTRY IN HIS PADDOCK AT LEX STUD IN 2011
The number of mares visiting the stallion’s court has declined as he has gotten older, but recently his influence has also been felt as a broodmare sire. This year, three racehorses out of Timber Country’s daughters have won internationally recognized group or graded stakes races, with Copano Rickey leading the charge with a victory in the Group 1 February Stakes.
Lex Stud sees Timber Country’s lasting legacy as a Japanese stallion coming from Admire Don but the farm also has hope that it will be bolstered by his budding record as a broodmare sire.
“Recently, he has had a success as a broodmare sire with this year's classic contender Pray and Real and budding group horse Last Impact. [His son] Admire Don will likely be his biggest legacy in Japan. But hopefully Pray and Real and Last Impact can help add to that legacy,” Lex Stud said.
Timber Country is still enjoying life at the age of 22 and receives Japanese visitors during the summer and fall when he isn’t being bred to mares. While Timber Country hasn’t had any American visitors, Lex Stud is happy to accommodate any who would like to visit.
You can find out more about Timber Country’s Japanese produce record by clicking here.