One of the fun parts of getting a thoroughbred off the track is that sometimes they have quite famous lineage, but just got the slow genes rather than the fast. It’s a thrill to ride a horse who’s father raced as a favorite in the 1991 Kentucky Derby (he came in 5th) and won some big stakes races. It’s one of those childhood fantasies come true. You know, the ones you had after you read the Black Stallion books where you are riding a horse that’s fast enough to make history.
My OTTB, Freedom onthe Wind, is a son of Fly So Free, who was voted U.S. Champion 2-year old colt in 1990. Fly So Free had considerable success as a racehorse, winning the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile, The Hutchinson Stakes, the Fountain of Youth Stakes, the Florida Derby, the Riva Ridge, and the Jim Dandy Stakes, among others. He was retired as a 5-year old to Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky in 1993. After 33 starts he had 12 Wins, 5 Places, and 3 Shows with career earnings of $2,330,954. His dam, Carli’s Command also had a respectable race career, earning $237,300 over 40 starts. His grandsires were Damascus and Secretariat.
Here is Fly So Free Winning the Florida Derby:
Like his famous father, Freedom is a dark chestnut color with little white and a powerful horse. But the resemblance did not include the same accomplishment on the track. Compared to many racehorses, he was successful: after 29 starts he’d racked up 3 Wins, 2 Places, and 1 Show, with career earnings of $70,010, but he was not destined to be a major stakes winner.
Searching on Google, I found this commentary on a race at Suffolk Downs (purse $19K): Freedom onthe Wind hustled early, vied for command between foes, tired into stretch. A high strung horse, Freedom apparently got so worked up on the way to the starting gate that he was tired before the race began. His career was ended when he tweaked a front suspensory and fractured his sesamoid bone. Luckily, his owners cared about his future and they rehabbed him before donating him to CANTER New England to find a new home and career.
Freedom is undoubtedly the fastest horse that I’ve ever ridden and when I let him gallop out, I can imagine the thrill of racing in the Kentucky Derby, at least for those first few minutes!