Stars of Yesterday: Looking Back at Best Arkansas Derby Winners
Samuel Riddle owned Man o’ War and War Admiral. Calumet Farm raced Whirlaway and Citation. Meadow Stable had Secretariat and Riva Ridge; Belair Stud owned Gallant Fox and Omaha.
You can add Juddmonte Farms to the list of racing stables fortunate enough to campaign two or more of the greatest horses to ever set foot on a racetrack, but with one notable difference. Whereas the above-mentioned horses and stables were all based in North America, the international nature of the Juddmonte Farms operation has enabled them to campaign great horses in both North America and Europe … and on dirt and turf as well!
Juddmonte Farms was founded in 1977 by Prince Khalid Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, and in the 40 years that have followed the stable has enjoyed worldwide successful while growing to include farms in the United States, United Kingdom, and France.
The stable’s first top-level win came when Known Fact won the 1979 Middle Park Stakes in England, and the colt later gave Juddmonte Farms their first classic victory when he won the English Two Thousand Guineas at Newmarket in 1980. Known Fact was one of several early Juddmonte stars who were not bred by the farm —Alphabatim achieved U.S. success with wins in two editions of the Hollywood Turf Cup, while Rainbow Quest and Dancing Brave gave the stable back-to-back wins in the prestigious Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 1985 and 1986.
But as Juddmonte built up the breeding end of their stable, the top-level homebred winners started coming as well. Warning was the first homebred to win a Grade 1 or Group 1 race, prevailing in the 1988 Sussex Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes to stamp himself a top-notch miler. Fittingly, Warning was a son of Known Fact, and Warning lives on as the inspiration for Juddmonte Farms logo.
At that point, the floodgates opened. Through the 1990s the Juddmonte silks were carried to victory in major races throughout the world by their homebred runners Quest for Fame (1990 Epsom Derby), Toulon (1991 St. Leger Stakes), Sanglamore (1990 Prix du Jockey Club – French Derby), Houseproud (1990 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches – French One Thousand Guineas), Jolypha (1992 Prix de Diane Hermes – French Oaks), Raintrap (1993 Prix Royal Oak – French St. Leger), Commander in Chief (1993 Epsom Derby and Irish Derby), Zafonic (1993 Two Thousand Guineas), Sunshack (1995 Prix Royal Oak), Wemyss Bight (1993 Irish Oaks), Bolas (1994 Irish Oaks), Reams of Verse (1997 Epsom Oaks), and Wince (1999 One Thousand Guineas) … and those were just the classic winners!
The turn of the century brought more big wins for Juddmonte Farms, including many from the stable’s North American division, helmed at the time by the Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel. Chester House, Flute, Skimming, Banks Hill, Aptitude, Senure, Mizzen Mast, and Chiselling all delivered Grade 1 wins from 2000 through 2002, and the following year Empire Maker gave the stable its first U.S. classic win when he defeated Funny Cide in the Belmont Stakes.
Several Breeders’ Cup victories also came Juddmonte’s way during the first decade of the century, starting with Banks Hill in the 2001 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf and continuing as Intercontinental and Midday prevailed in the same race in 2005 and 2009. The late-running mare Ventura also contributed to the stable’s success by winning the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
Yet even with all these classic winners and champions, some of Juddmonte’s greatest horses have been born within the last decade. In 2009, Bobby Frankel passed away, and Juddmonte Farms subsequently named one of their most promising horses in his memory.
Frankel, the racehorse, would prove worthy of carrying the weight of such high expectations, hitting the track in 2010 and dominating his rivals with a blend of terrific speed and breathtaking acceleration. By the time he retired at the end of 2012, he was unbeaten in 14 starts with 10 Group 1 victories and a classic win on his record, and organizations such as Timeform have rated Frankel as the greatest racehorse in decades.
It would be difficult, if not near impossible, for any racing stable to campaign two more horses worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Frankel, yet the last couple of years have seen the Juddmonte silks carried to victory by two more horses that could be considered “great.” A few years after Bobby Frankel passed away, Juddmonte Farms turned to the Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert — best known for his work with 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah — to find and develop new talent with an eye on returning to glory in North American dirt racing.
Almost immediately, Baffert secured Juddmonte Farms a superstar when he purchased a yearling colt that would come to be named Arrogate. Showcasing a level of talent rarely seen, Arrogate rose to incredible heights when he won the 2016 Travers Stakes, 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic, 2017 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes, and 2017 Dubai World Cup in succession, in the process shattering two track records while earning huge Beyer Speed Figures of 122, 120, and 119 and earning more than $17.3 million, a record for a horse that raced in North America.
Meanwhile, another turf superstar — this time a filly named Enable — has been rising to prominence in Europe. The brilliant 3-year-old announced her arrival with a five-length win in the Epsom Oaks earlier this year, the second victory in a win streak that has stretched to six races, including the Irish Oaks, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, the Yorkshire Oaks, and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, all by a minimum of 2 ½ lengths.
To put it simply, there’s no end in sight to Juddmonte Farms’ astonishing run of success. The farm currently stands six stallions in Europe and North America, including Frankel, Dansili, and Mizzen Mast, and with graded stakes wins in North America this year from Arrogate, Antonoe, Paulassilverlining, Projected, Suffused, and Grand Jete, the farm could be well on its way to winning a few Eclipse Awards for 2017.
The past has been bright, but for Juddmonte Farms, the future may be even brighter.
- Horses bred by Juddmonte Farms have won more than 200 Grade 1 or Group 1 races.
- Horses bred and raced by Juddmonte Farms have won more than two dozen classic races in four different countries (England, France, Ireland, and the United States), including every classic race in England and France.
- Juddmonte Farms has won three Eclipse Awards for outstanding owner (1992, 2003, and 2016) and five Eclipse Awards for outstanding breeder (1995, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2009).
- Juddmonte Farms has won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe five times with Rainbow Quest (1985), Dancing Brave (1986), Rail Link (2006), Workforce (2010), and Enable (2017).