Tabasco Cat winning the 1994 Belmont (Jason Moran)
As we saw with the Juveniles, talent and deep fields are also abundant for the 3 year old in 1994. The same caveats apply as before, let me know if something doesn’t look quite right or if you can shed some light on actual race order.
Going in to 1994, Dehere was the Juvenile champion of 1993 racking up an impressive string of accomplishments including being one of the few horses to sweep all 3 Juvenile stakes at Saratoga. Brocco, who had won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and Holy Bull, who was undefeated as a 2yo, had both defeated Dehere. Go For Gin and Tabasco Cat had both also won at 2.
Tabasco Cat kicked off the year by winning the El Camino Real Derby at the now defunct Bay Meadows. This win came only a month after a terrible accident involving trainer D. Wayne Lukas’ son Jeff. According to Wikipedia:
Tragically, in December 1993, Tabasco Cat seriously injured Jeff Lukas who worked for his father as an assistant trainer. In a shedrow accident at Santa Anita Park, the colt broke loose and when Jeff Lukas tried to stop him, the excited horse slammed into him with such force that it fractured his skull and left him in a coma for several weeks. Although he recovered well enough to eventually return to work for a time, he suffered permanent brain damage.
Holy Bull returned as a 3-year-old in the Hutcheson Stakes, winning with a late surge over Prenup and You and I, both of which became Grade I winners. He suffered the first of only three losses in his 16-race career in his next start, the Fountain of Youth Stakes. Holy Bull flipped his palate, causing him to lose his breath, and finished last.
The Fountain of Youth saw the rematch of Holy Bull and Dehere, and while Dehere got a chance to even the score with Holy Bull, it was his last race as he fractured a cannon bone in training. Go for Gin ran a very game second.
San Vincente winner Flyn’ J. Bryan was the favorite in the San Rafael but Tabasco Cat continued his winning ways. Meanwhile, the San Felipe was billed as a match-up against Brocco and Valiant Nature but it was the Burt Bacharach owned colt Soul of the Matter who blew by both of them in the stretch to win. Brocco and Tabasco Cat then met in the Santa Anita Derby where Brocco won the rousing stretch duel between them but Tabasco Cat held on for a game second.
On the east coast Irgun had been racking up wins in the Gotham and the Wood. While out gamed in the Wood by Irgun, Go for Gin won the Preview Stakes at Gulfstream, where he still holds the record for 1 1/16 at 1:41:62. Ironically the race is now known as the Holy Bull, go figure.
Bloomin’ Affair was the 2-1 favorite in the Arkansas Derby but it was Concern, who went off at 19-1, that made an impressive run from a distant last to win and pay $43.40. Bloomin’ Affair had run second to last and was right there with Concern but couldn’t get past him.
At Keenland Holy Bull cemented his position as the Derby favorite with an easy win in the Blue Grass, but it was not meant to be in the Derby. Go for Gin got the lead on the sloppy track and never looked back. Holy Bull, who finished 12th, skipped the last two races of the triple crown.
A thrilling stretch duel between Tabasco Cat and Go for Gin was the highlight of the Preakness with the win going to Tabasco Cat. Going into the Preakness super trainer Lukas, in addition to his son still recovering from his devastating injury, was in a quite a slump.
Lukas, who led the nation in purse earnings every year from 1983 through ’92, had lately been mired in the worst slump of his career. He hadn’t won a Grade I stakes race since October 1991. Yet here he was at Pimlico, clinging to the hope that Tabasco Cat, who had finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby, could somehow find a way to overcome Derby winner Go for Gin and eight other contenders in the 1 3/16 mile Preakness, the second leg of racing’s Triple Crown. “It’s a funny thing about these classic races,” he said to a companion. “We all analyze them, but they almost never turn out the way we think they will.
Strodes Creek, who was second in the Derby, was the favorite in the Belmont. Go For Gin got the lead early while Tabasco Cat tracked in second with Strodes Creek not too far behind. When Go for Gin started to run Tabasco Cat went with him and Strodes Creek did not. The second Triple Crown stretch battle between Go for Gin and Tabasco Cat ensued with Tabasco Cat winning again.
During the Triple Crown Holy Bull had taken the opportunity to get acquainted with older horses for the first time winning the Met Mile (replay will be in the Older Horse post, coming soon). He then returned to race against 3yos in the Dwyer on July 4th but only 3 turned up to challenge him making it an easy win.
Tabasco Cat returned in the Jim Dandy, but couldn’t catch Unaccounted For, who also won the 1995 Whitney. Holy Bull narrowly kept his winning streak alive in the Haskell and the Travers where he held on to defeat a super game Concern.
Fountain of Youth:
Santa Anita Derby:
It’s relatively easy to dig up information on the 3yo Colts and Derby Trail in general, but the same can’t be said for the 3yo of Fillies 1994. And from what I can tell it wasn’t like it was a slouchy crop. Even with the 2 meager replays I could scrounge up, it’s easy to see that these were talented Fillies.
Lakeway, who placed in both the Oaks and Alabama (below), still holds the record in the Las Virgenes and
Mother Goose! (Rachel Alexandra recently broke her Mother Goose record)
Stable mates Inside Information, who won 7 of 8 starts in 1995 including a runaway win the 1995 Distaff and Heavenly Prize, who ever finished out of the money in her 18 starts, were also 3yos in 1994.
1993 Juvenile Champion Phone Chatter sat out most of the year with an injury but Sardula, who placed to her in the 1993 BC Juvenile Filles, won the Oaks. All but Sardula went on to race at 4, apparently she was euthanized at the end of the year due to a painful bone disease (click in the info icon). Here is her lifetime past performance. She was owned by Ann and Jerry Moss, Zenyatta’s owners.
It’s hard to write up an account without really seeing the replays, perhaps I’ll be able to do it in the future if more replays turn up. With folks like partymanners literally adding videos daily I’d give it a 9/2 shot that more will turn up over time!
See how our talented crop of 3yos faired against older horses in the next post in the series. Did you see any of these races? What did you think of these Colts and Fillies at the time? How have they measured up to the test of time? Let us know what you think!